T.S. Eliot, American poet and philosopher, once called April the cruelest month in his poem, “The Wasteland,” published in 1922. He obviously has yet to experience December in New York, circa 2010. The recent blizzard poured nearly 20 inches of snow with much of it still remaining in the streets thanks in large part to Mayor Bloomberg’s office.
As if travel wasn’t bad enough this past week in New York, Giants fans were forced in by the snow to watch the horror that was their Week 16 loss to the Packers. It was a scene right out of Clockwork Orange. Eyes fixed on the screen with the piling snow limiting their gaze to only remain fixated on the train wreck of the performance the Giants put on against the Packers with their playoff hopes fading.
To add on to the misery of December, the end of the NFL season plagues bettors and experts alike as playoff bound team pull their punches to prepare for the first week of the postseason. In this final regular season edition of the Long Island Press Picks, we’re gauging the lifeline of each team heading into Week 17 of the NFL to assure April remains the cruelest month.
Percentages taken from fan voting on LI Press Picks Football Pool. Picks indicated in bold.
Carolina (2-13) 1% picked @ Atlanta (12-3) 99% picked
The Panthers are heading towards the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft while the Falcons look to secure the number one seed in the NFC. The Panthers have allowed 125 yards a game on the ground and matchup with a Falcons team looking to rebound after falling short against the Saints at home last week.
Pittsburgh (11-4) 93% picked @ Cleveland (5-10) 7% picked
The Steelers have a chance to sew up a first-round bye with a win at Cleveland and they need it: Troy Polamalu is still suffering from that Achilles injury and a loss opens the door for the Baltimore Ravens to secure the No. 2 seed while pushing the Steelers on the road for the first round.
Minnesota (6-9) 36% picked @ Detroit (5-10) 64% picked
Neither team will be battling for the Lombardi trophy this season but the game goes on. The Lions are winners of their last three with two (Bucs, Packers) coming against NFC playoff contenders. Strange how Brett Favre’s consecutive games played streak ended as a home game in Detroit and the career may be finished as a road opponent in the same stadium. Aren’t the Twins happy they got out of Metrodome?
Oakland (7-8) 14% picked @ Kansas City (10-5) 86% picked
The Chiefs are going to be playing a home game in the playoffs as AFC West Champions where they are 7-0 this season. The Raiders have a chance to finish at .500 while bumping the Chiefs out of the No.3 seed in the playoffs with the help of a Colts win.
Miami (7-8) 6% picked @ New England (13-2) 94% picked
New England’s defense, ranked 27th overall, is sending the most Pro Bowl defenders on the AFC roster. It’s been that sort of season for the Pats. The road to the Super Bowl travels through Foxboro as New England has secured a first-round bye as the first seed in the AFC.
Cincinnati (4-11) 3% picked @ Baltimore (11-4) 97% picked
Baltimore, with a Steelers loss, could secure a first-round bye and the AFC North crown if they take care of the Bengals at home.
Tampa Bay (9-6) 9% picked @ New Orleans (11-4) 91% picked
The Bucs need a lot of help in order to reach the playoffs. A loss from both the Packers and Giants and a win in New Orleans would push the Buccaneers into the postseason. New Orleans needs the Panthers to pull off a mammoth upset in Atlanta coupled with a win at home to gain the number one seed in the NFC.
Buffalo (4-11) 7% picked @ NY Jets (10-5) 93% picked
Despite the tight loss in Chicago last week, the Jets are playoff bound for the second straight season under Rex Ryan. If they are to reach the AFC Championship game again, they’ll have to do it as a road team. And they’re just fine with that.
Dallas (5-10) 15% picked @ Philadelphia (10-5) 85% picked
After losing their Tuesday night affair with the Vikings, the Eagles would best be suited to rest their starters with the playoffs looming. If Michael Vick were to start at QB for the Eagles, it’d be the third game he has played in only 12 days.
Arizona (5-10) 46% picked @ San Francisco (5-10) 54% picked
“I want winners! I want people who want to win!” Mike Singletary’s infamous post game press conference remains as his greatest contribution to the Niners during his tenure as head coach.
Jacksonville (8-7) 72% picked @ Houston (5-10) 28% picked
The Jaguars still have a chance to crack the playoffs with a win on the road and a Colts loss next week. Jaguars QB David Garrard is scheduled to have surgery on his finger and will miss the season finale. Without Garrard, the Texans are going to have to load the box and stuff Maurice-Jones Drew if they are to deny a team a berth in the playoffs.
NY Giants (9-6) 81% picked @ Washington (6-9) 19% picked
A Giants win and a Packers loss will send the G-Men to the playoffs. After the DeSean Jackson debacle and the bruising at the hands of the Packers, a major shift in fortune is needed to land the Giants in the postseason as a wild card team.
Chicago (11-4) 34% picked @ Green Bay (9-6) 66% picked
The Packers seem to be hitting their stride at the right time as QB Aaron Rodgers and company have a chance to stamp their playoff ticket with a win against a Bears team that has secured a first round bye as NFC North champions.
Tennessee (6-9) 3% picked @ Indianapolis (9-6) 97% picked
St. Louis (7-8) 76% picked @ Seattle (6-9) 24% picked
San Diego (8-7) 77% picked @ Denver (4-11) (23% picked)