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(By Rice World Staff)

by None, Rice, Gerry

     With three weeks left in the NFL season, teams looking to make a run at the playoffs better do it quick. Every week is a must win game for those teams, while for the losers... they can play major spoiler because everyone knows misery loves comapany! Games this week look to be pretty predictable once again, seeing the lack of disparity between each staff member's picks. Looks like the whole parity craze has died down. Each week we can pencil in a win for Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Jacksonville... or can we?

Wins Losses Locks Back
None 117 71 9-4 ---
Rice 114 74 7-6 3
Gerry 113 75 7-6 4
kurupt 9 5 1-0 N/A


Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Gerry 10-5 - 9-6 - 8-6 + 11-3 +
None 9-6 + 10-5 + 9-5 + 12-2 -
Rice 8-7 + 11-4 - 8-6 - 10-4 -
kurupt N/A N/A N/A 9-5 +
Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8
Gerry 7-7 - 4-10 + 10-4 + 8-6 -
None 6-8 + 9-5 + 10-4 - 10-4 +
Rice 7-7 + 5-9 + 9-5 - 7-7 -
Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12
Gerry 6-8 - 13-2 + 10-5 + 10-5 -
None 7-7 - 8-7 + 8-7 - 11-4 +
Rice 9-5 + 9-6 + 11-4 + 10-5 -
Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16
Gerry 7-8 + N/A N/A N/A
None 8-7 + N/A N/A N/A
Rice 10-5 + N/A N/A N/A


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Oakland Raiders @ Tennessee Titans
Gerry: Tennessee
None: Oakland

Rice: Tennessee

None: With a nice victory against Seattle at home, the Raiders proved they could be a good team as long as they don't make too many mistakes. Now they’re fighting for that lone playoff spot in the AFC West: With this victory, they’re right back in the thick of things. The Titans lost horribly to Baltimore, but the Ravens do have a very good defense. This game will be good, but with what’s at stake, I’ll take a risk and go with the silver and black attack.

Gerry: The Titans suck, but I still like em against the Raiders. They should bounce back after an embarrassing loss last week to Balt. that made no one look good but me. Heh heh.

Rice: Titans got embarrassed horribly by the Ravens last week, so this week at home, they're going to look to get their gear together and get ready for the playoff run. This game will test to see how the Titans respond after an ugly loss to a sub-par team.

brownssmall.gif (1058 bytes)  vs  bengalssmall.gif (1350 bytes)
Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals
Gerry: Cincinnati
None: Cincinnati

Rice: Cincinnati

None: Hey, how bout that? The Bengals score 44 points against the Niners last week, who- granted- have one of the worst defenses in the League. Now, they return home to face the Browns, who seem to have already reached their season win totals five weeks before the season’s done. Take the Bengals, riding high on two consecutive victories.

Gerry: Damn, they're on a hot streak. I think the Bungals will destroy the Browns. Then they'll piss on their graves. Corey Dillon should get over 100 yards again, and either Darnay Scott or Carl Pickens will catch 2 TDs.

Rice: Awww... too bad Akili Smith isn't starting against his young rival Tim Couch. The first time they met, sparks flew as Akili won round 1. No matter, Jeff Blake is playing great football, and will continue to do so against the hapless expansion team Cleveland.

pantherssmall.gif (1186 bytes)  vs  packerssmall.gif (691 bytes)
Carolina Panthers @ Green Bay Packers
Gerry: Green Bay
None: Green Bay

Rice: Green Bay

None: Every game is needed for the playoff drive, and this one at Lambeau Field is no exception. With the blotted NFC Central amidst chaos (Detroit and Tampa Bay both 8-4, Minnesota and Green Bay 7-5), the Packers must continue to win to keep their hopes alive. At home, with Favre, they should.

Gerry: The Packers are starting to hit their stride, and they can even win w/o Dorsey, as they did last week. This week he should be back, and they'll just be that much better. As long as you got Favre, any game is winnable.

Rice: Healthy Favre + Lambeau field = Packers victory. Simple as that.

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New England Patriots @ Indianapolis Colts
Gerry: Indianapolis
None: Indianapolis

Rice: Indianapolis

None: New England surprised me by beating Dallas last week, putting themselves right back into the chaotic AFC playoff picture. However, they face the hottest team in the league, winners of eight in a row, at home. Sorry, Bledsoe, when this game is over in Indianapolis, it’s time to assume the role of spoiler because you’re not going anywhere but home for the playoffs.

Gerry: The Peyton Manning/Marvin Harrison/Edgerrin James steamroller will make the Pats their next hapless squishee. They can pull out squeakers, and they can blow you out at the gate. How do you beat this team?

Rice: I'm actually slightly tempted to choose New England here, but common sense holds me back. The young Colts have proven themselves again and again they can play, and can win with the best of them.

giantssmall.gif (584 bytes)  vs  billssmall.gif (830 bytes)
New York Giants @ Buffalo Bills
Gerry: Buffalo
None: Buffalo

Rice: Buffalo

None: The Giants clobbered the Jets last week, but this week, it’s a different story. They play a well-rested Buffalo team who should get a huge boost in their running game with the return of Thurman Thomas. The 6-6 Giants are one of four teams in the NFC East with 6 or more wins (Arizona, Dallas are both 6-6, Washington is 7-5) and need this game for the playoffs. However, I think the Bills’ defense can hold Kerry Collins and his offense, and win the game.

Gerry: I woulda taken NYG, but Sehorn is out. Look for Eric Moulds to have a field day catching floaters from Flutie. I really think the Giants can pull this one by virtue of their defense, but damn, Buffalo can PLAY at home.

Rice: Grrr... Super Bowl... Buffalo... lose... Giants! Heh, even after all these years, I still hold a slight grudge. It's gonna be good to see the Bills crush the Giants at home.

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Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys
Gerry: Dallas
None: Dallas

Rice: Dallas

None: At home, I think the Cowboys will rebound from a tough loss at New England. Like Rice tried to warn me, Dallas sucks on the road. However, this one is in Irving, and the Boys should prevail. It’s back to the playoffs for Dallas.

Gerry: This will be the 14th straight week I've taken Dallas. They lost the last meeting, but they shouldn't have. That was the one where Michael Irvin fucked up his neck. Should be sweet revenge. Big game for Emmitt.

Rice: As much as it pains me to choose Dallas, I just cannot go against them when they're at home. I will never understand why they can always win there, no matter how bad their injury situation is.

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Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Gerry: Baltimore
None: Baltimore

Rice: Pittsburgh

None: Baltimore’s offense is finally coming alive, to complement their very good defense. Against a down-and-out Steelers team, a good performance by either side of the ball should be enough for the Ravens.

Gerry: The Steelers won't make the playoffs, but they'll be a thorn in every team they play's side. I believe the Ravens will take that thorn and stick up their, stick up their...............

Rice: Here's your upset special. Ravens look good at times, but horrible in others. Last week was the former against a very respectable Titans team, but this week, they will blow it to a cheese Steelers team. Wonder what position they'll try putting Kordell Stewart at...

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St. Louis Rams @ New Orleans Saints
Gerry: St. Louis
None: St. Louis

Rice: St. Louis

None: Heh heh heh. The Saints. What a joke. Just another meaningless NFC West ‘showdown’ that should easily become slaughter for the Rams. They’ll go 14-2, win the division, and get home field advantage throughout the playoffs. These games are pathetic, and they’re not doing anything to prove that the Rams are for real.

Gerry: Should be close in the 1st half, ugly in the 2nd. Is Ricky playing? He'll make a ton of difference. I don't think he'll play, so the Saints will suffer another loss. The Rams are one of the most opportunistic teams in the league.

Rice: The Rams will steamroll to the NFC championship, and maybe even the Super Bowl, but this is not their year to win the big one. The Saints are merely a road bump in their quest to the big game.

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Detroit Lions @ Tampa Bay Bucanneers
Gerry: Detroit
None: Tampa Bay

Rice: Tampa Bay

None: While Minnesota’s offense truly has not gotten on track this year, last Monday Night’s game surprised me. The Bucs defense was so dominant... it throws that old adage "Play on Monday, lose on Sunday" right out the window. This is a critical showdown, as the winner gets a one game lead in the division, while the loser could potentially collapse into a three-way tie for second in the NFC Central (If the Packers and Vikings win). At home, I think the Bucs can do it again.

Gerry: They beat em once and them can beat em again. Gus Frerotte is proving to be an able backup, even superior to incumbent Charlie Batch. Herman Moore is back, and he along w/ Germane Crowell and Johnnie Morton should give the Lions a passing attack that should eke this victory out. Shaun King will suck.

Rice: This one I'm actually hesitant on, because although Shaun King led the Bucs to a big win over the Vikings, he showed some serious rookie inconsistency. However, Tampa Bay's defense is stepping up, and proving to the NFL they can shut down anyone.

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Arizona Cardinals @ Washington Redskins
Gerry: Washington
None: Washington

Rice: Washington

None: My blind faith in the Redskins is screwing me over every week. However, as the game last week against the Eagles showed, despite their miraculous two-touchdown comeback in the final 4:13 (which also screwed me), the Arizona Cardinals and Jake Plummer are a long ways from their playoff spot last week. I think in Washington, they stop their slump and finally get into some playoff form.

Gerry: How long can the Redskins stink against inferior teams? Now that Westbrook is healthy, I foresee the Redskins returning to their 30+ points prominence.

Rice: Arizona's got Plummer back, so the Cardinals are no longer a lock for a loss. However, the Redskins' defense has to look itself in the mirror and say, "Man, we gotta give our offense a chance to win...". I think this week Washington's defense will prove to the home crowd that they're not such pansies.

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Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets
Gerry: Miami
None: Miami

Rice: Miami

None: Wow. Dan Marino sure was pissed last week after that disappointing loss to the Colts. They made a mistake in giving Peyton Manning and the Colts offense any time on the clock, and paid for it. Now, losers of three of their last four, the Dolphins must win this one if they don’t want to fade from the playoff picture. They should against the Jets.

Gerry: I love the Jets, but Miami has more to lose in this game. I actually see them beating the Jets quite handily, behind a rejuvenated Marino and a pissed as hell defense that will maul Curtis Martin and make Keyshawn's life miserable.

Rice: I smell upset. I am itching to take the Jets, but alas, common sense once again kicks in... and combine that with how Marino blew off the media, the Dolphins are going to come out firing on all cylinders. The Jets can't hang, but don't be surprised if they make it close.

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San Diego Chargers @ Seattle Seahawks
Gerry: Seattle
None: Seattle

Rice: Seattle

None: Seattle suffered a potentially deadly and very disappointing loss to the Raiders last week, but against a crappy Chargers team with no sign of an offense, I like the Seahawks. However, one thing- the Ryan Leaf lookout will now go into effect. Will he play?

Gerry: Jon Kitna will blow up for 300 yards in this game. The Seahawks have a lot of defensive injuries, that's why I think they lose their last few games. But Holmgren will weave together a winning team this week.

Rice: It's the Chargers. What can you say? They suck. And without Seau, their defense is no longer top notch. Seattle will light it up at home.

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Atlanta Falcons @ San Francisco 49ers
Gerry: San Francisco
None: Atlanta

Rice: San Francisco

None: Anyone can light up the 49er secondary. But these are the Falcons! And they the hell - I said. ANYONE! Go Falcons!

Gerry: The Niners can beat the Falcons if they get their offense going. Jerry Rice has come alive, and Charlie Garner has been the Niner's most valuable player. At home, they probably won't let their fans see them reek against a beatable team.

Rice: What a horrible nightmare the Niners must be going though. Last week Garcia threw for over 400 yeards, and Jerry Rice had his best game of the season. They still lost cuz the Bengals offense has become explosive w/ Blake back at the helm. The Falcons don't have the offense, and I predict the Niners will salvage some face with a win at home.

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Minnesota Vikings @ Kansas City Chiefs
Gerry: Minnesota
None: Kansas City

Rice: Kansas City

None: The Vikings must find themselves feeling déjà vu right about now. They play a team who is awesome at home, only decent on the road. They play a playoff contender who might not qualify with a couple of losses here and there. They play a team with a great defense, but a struggling offense. Oh, what the hell. Since the Vikings played on Monday, I might as well continue this déjà vu- they’ll lose again.

Gerry: KC is a fraud. I swear Vanover single-handedly wins half their games for them. I think the Vikings will have only a modest offensive display, but whatever they do is enough to beat this horribly overrated KC team.

Rice: The Chiefs may be a fraud, but they sure can win at home. Minnesota, on the other hand, is more of a fraud. Their offense is merely a sliver of their powerhouse machine last year. Plus Kansas City has a very respectable defense. Victory at Arrowhead.

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Denver Broncos @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Gerry: Jacksonville
None: Jacksonville

Rice: Jacksonville

None: Denver is not going anywhere. Jacksonville is. Another mediocre team for the Jaguars to build their record up against. Damn, I hate the AFC Central.

Gerry: The Haguars are hitting their stride at the right time, and the resurrection of their passing game must be sending chills down the rest of the league's spine. Plus Fred Taylor is starting to practice at full tilt. Watch out now.

Rice: As much as I love the underdog Broncos, I have to say Jacksonville is playing terrific football as of late. If they keep this up, they will be Super Bowl champs. Denver will scratch and claw, but the Jaguars will shut them down.

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{ Bye week }
None: OVERALL ANALYSIS- The playoff picture has gotten frisky. The NFC Central has four teams within a win of each other for the lead; the NFC East is in the exact same situation. The West... well, only the Rams have a shot in hell. But that’s still nine teams vying for six spots. Every game is important. Meanwhile in the AFC, Seattle’s loss opens a doorway for Oakland and Seattle, the Titans’ loss makes them vulnerable, and the East... it’s still the East. Wow! This analysis is short: maybe that’s because I have three major tests in a three day span... my schedule’s as crowded as the playoff picture.


Gerry's LOCK OF THE WEEK: San Francisco -> The Niners can't be this bad....... they can't be!! They scored 30 points last week against a shitty defense. Atl's defense ain't all that great either. They gotta win this one! They just gotta. They can't suck this bad..............
None's LOCK OF THE WEEK: Tampa Bay -> Shaun King played well enough last week to beat the Vikings, and I still think Detroit is overrated. (maybe I’m just an ass) Anyways, look for Tampa to make it two huge wins in a row against division opponents.
Rice's LOCK OF THE WEEK: Kansas City -> Minnesota's going down baby! This is my second lock in a row against them. Down with the Vikings!