The NFL season winds down

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 16, 2002

Philadelphia 42, Washing-ton 7. The Eagles will finish their final regular-season game at Vet Stadium in a blaze of glory. Their defense is among the best in the NFL, and their offense has shown it can come together in the absence of focal points (like Donovan McNabb).

New York Jets 20, Chicago 3. Last Sunday, the Chicago &uot;defense&uot; gave up 216 yards to Ricky Williams. This week, they get a taste of Curtis Martin, who’s 222 yards away from becoming the first running back in history to rack up 1,000 yards in each of his first eight seasons.

Atlanta 30, Seattle 6. The Michael-Vick-for-NFL-MVP train was derailed last week against Tampa Bay. By later this afternoon, it will be back on track and chugging along.

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San Diego 27, Buffalo 17. Both teams are coming off tough losses, but the Buffalo defense ranks last in the league against the run. With LaDanian Tomlinson around, the Chargers should keep breathing down Oakland’s neck the AFC West.

Jacksonville 3, Cincinnati 2. They’re actually going to play this one? Just stare at the wall for three hours – it’ll be more entertaining.

Tampa Bay 40, Detroit 7. With home-field advantage throughout the playoffs on the line, there are few other teams that Tampa Bay would rather take on today than the Motor City Midwives.

Oakland 24, Miami 21. If you see the Skins-Eagles game on Fox, flip the channel to this one. Oakland gets the Pick because of their strengths on defense, but a Miami win will be anything but an upset.

New Orleans 35, Minnesota 17. The Saints always find a way to lose the big games, but the Vikings haven’t won on the road since Nov. 2000 – 16 consecutive losses.

Pittsburgh 24, Carolina 0. Pittsburgh could have made tracks in the AFC North before being embarrassed by Houston last week, and Tommy Maddox won’t let it happen again.

Cleveland 27, Indianapolis 18. Cleveland has all the momentum in the world after beating Jacksonville last week with a ‘Hail Mary.’ Still in the thick of things for a wild card spot in the AFC, they need to keep the enthusiasm up.

Houston 24, Baltimore 6. Who says that lightning can’t strike twice? The Texans beat a better team than Baltimore last week, and the Ravens don’t have an offense.

Denver 35, Kansas City 32. Here’s a shootout. Neither team can lose this game and keep playoff hopes alive, but the Broncos get the Pick because of their vistory over Kansas City earlier this season.

New York Giants 28, Dallas 20. The Giants had the talent to make the playoffs, but they let it slip away with one careless loss after another. A pointless win today will help them keep their heads up.

Green Bay 26, San Fran-cisco 14. As good as this game could be, it shouldn’t be so outstanding; both teams will be in the playoffs regardless.

St. Louis 25, Arizona 10. It’s a toss-up between Chicago and St. Louis for the title of &uot;League’s Biggest Disappoint-ment.

New England 20, Tennessee 17. Wins tomorrow and next week will give the Patriots another AFC East title, and they deserve it.