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Saturday December 20, 2008 9:32 pm

NFC North Week 16 Predictions

Drew Brees

The Detroit “how can we lose another this week?” Lions play host to Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints this Sunday. Remember the 51-29 shellacking the Saints pasted on the Green Bay Packers four weeks ago?  This game will pale by comparison. Big Easy quarterback Brees will resemble a Luftwaffe pilot bombing London when he starts peppering the Lions’ swiss cheese secondary. Give whatever name fits the bill - massacre, blowout, route, blood bath. It all adds up to the same thing - another one under “L” for the Lions - this one makes 15. Saints by 14.

The Atlanta Falcons travel to the Metrodome to take on the division leading Minnesota Vikings. Word of advice to Vikes fans, keep the champagne on ice before you start celebrating a divisional crown. This one ain’t a done deal. The Falcons are still right in the thick of the playoff race, dead even with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys, a half-game ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles and one full game atop the Chicago Bears. True, a Vikes win clinches the crown, but the Falcons are battle-tested veterans who know how to win the tough games. Defense will decide this one. Look for a low scoring game. The Vikes defensive front four will shut down Atlanta’s ground game - yawn, what else is new? Surprise! The Falcons defense has actually shaded the Vikings by nine points. Atlanta needs a win going into the last week of the season. For their own part, a Minnesota loss coupled with a Chicago Bears win over the Packers creates another tie atop the Black and Blue Division. Minnesota’s one big plus is that they’re a force of nature at home with a 5-1 record, but the Falcons have played nearly .500 ball on the road with a 3-4 record. Falcons by four.

Speaking of the NFL’s oldest rivalry Green Bay ventures into Soldier Field to take on the Bears. As previously mentioned, the Bears are breathing down Minnesota’s neck and still have a valid shot at a playoff berth. There’s a whole slew of “what if” scenarios going into the last couple of weeks of the season. The Bears trail the Vikes by one game for the NFC North crown. Meanwhile, they also trail the Falcons, Bucs and Cowboys by one game and the Eagles by a half-game. Beating the Packers coupled with a Minnesota loss to Atlanta, creates another deadlock. It also puts the screws to Chicago’s playoff rivals. With all that heavy contention for a wild card seed, the Bears’ best bet is to pray for a Vikes loss while taking fate into their own hands versus Green Bay. Alas the poor Packers. About the only good thing one can say about them is that they’re so lucky Vince Lombardi isn’t their coach. The legendary coach would have whipped this mob into shape. Bears by 10.



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