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Skins face desperate Atlanta team

Thanks, and I’m not being sarcastic, to Lakeland and Norcom, I missed all of Thursday night’s NFL game.

From what I’ve read, I didn’t miss much as Baltimore crossed midfield once in the first three quarters.

About today, if Atlanta’s still in playoff race with a 5-6 record, then however unlikely it is, is Washington completely out of it at 4-7?

The answer is probably still yes, but if Atlanta needs to go 4-1, how much of a difference is 5-0?

The only team disintegrating faster than the Falcons are the Giants.

But the good news for the G-men is that one good game this afternoon and they are right back in good shape, that’s not the case for Atlanta.

Atlanta (5-6) at Washington (4-7) – 1 p.m.

&uot;I felt like today it was kind of our style of football, and it was good to get back to that.&uot;

That was Joe Gibbs after Washington’s win last week.

Ladell Betts ran for 104 yards and Gibbs’ defense held Carolina to 101 total rushing yards, that’s Gibbs’ style of football.

The Redskins might be able to get the same yardage today, but holding Atlanta down will be a bigger challenge.

Even through a four-game losing streak, Atlanta still leads the league in rushing (198 yards per game).

So the debate about how much blame Michael Vick deserves continues, in last Sunday’s loss to New Orleans, Michael Vick ran for 166 yards, the second-highest total ever for a quarterback.

On the other hand, his passing numbers were 9-for-24 for 84 yards and no TDs.

Obscene gestures to the crowd in the midst of a four-game losing streak don’t help get a player off the hook either.

Line – Washington by 1

My pick – Falcons, 17-10

Arizona (2-9) at St. Louis (5-6) – 1 p.m.

Line – St. Louis by 6.5

My pick – Rams, 31-16

Detroit (2-9) at New England (8-3) – 1 p.m.

Line – N. E. by 13.5

My pick – Patriots, 23-0

Indianapolis (10-1) at Tennessee (4-7) – 1 p.m.

How would Peyton Manning fare without Edgerrin James being there to run the ball whenever Manning audibled to a run?

Maybe the question should have been, will James do as well complimenting Arizona’s offense as he did with Indy?

That answer, judging by Arizona’s usual 2-9 record, is no, James is not doing very well.

As for the Colts, they got 177 yards and an NFL rookie record four rushing touchdowns last week from Joseph Addai.

Earlier this year in the Manning Dome, Indy needed two second-half touchdowns to pull out a 14-13 win against the Titans.

No one gets moral victories in the NFL, but that game was about as close to that as possible for Tennessee, because they’ve won four of six games since that loss.

Line – Indy by 7.5

My pick – Titans, 24-21

Kansas City (7-4) at Cleveland (3-8) – 1 p.m.

Line – K. C. by 5.5

My pick – Chiefs, 28-21

Minnesota (5-6) at Chicago (9-2) – 1 p.m.

Line – Chicago by 9

My pick – Bears, 23-20

N. Y. Jets (6-5) at Green Bay (4-7) – 1 p.m.

Line – Jets by 1

My pick – Jets, 17-14

San Diego (9-2) at Buffalo (5-6) – 1 p.m.

San Diego’s defense has been nearly as good as their offense in the past five games, and that’s without their leader, Shawn Merriman.

Merriman was suspended for violation the league’s substance abuse policy, but he’ll be back today to add to how good the Chargers have looked recently.

Buffalo has been trying to get back into the playoff picture, winning three of their last four.

But today’s game, and then next week at the Jets, should put the Bills out of the race.

Line – S. D. by 6

My pick – Chargers, 41-20

San Francisco (5-6) at New Orleans (7-4) – 1 p.m.

Line – New Orleans by 7

My pick – Saints, 26-21

Jacksonville (6-5) at Miami (5-6) – 1 p.m.

Joey Harrington looked good on Thanksgiving, showing the Lions what he could do as long as he’s not running for his life on every passing play.

Jacksonville has the third-ranked running game in the NFL while Miami’s defense has actually been the real key to their recent success, so that’s the match-up here.

Line – Miami by 1

My pick – Dolphins, 20-7

Houston (3-8) at Oakland (2-9) – 4 p.m.

Line – Oakland by 3

My pick – Texans, 35-31

Tampa Bay (3-8) at Pittsburgh (4-7) – 4 p.m.

Line – Pittsburgh by 7

My pick – Bucs, 14-10

Dallas (7-4) at N. Y. Giants (6-5) – 4 p.m.

The game of the day pits the unlikely combination of a confident Tony Romo against a struggling Eli Manning.

For the last few weeks, Romo has been smart, going for the big plays when they are there and limiting mistakes at the same time as the Cowboys have just three turnovers since Romo took over at QB.

For Manning, he’s certainly not the only player letting the Giants down, but two TDs, six INTs and under 200 yards per game in the last three games looks more like Manning’s rookie year again.

In Dallas, the controversy has, for the moment, dwindled down to Bill Parcells firing Mike Vanderjagt and bringing in Martin Gramatica.

Terrell Owens has even been quiet and uncontroversial, for the moment.

Line – Dallas by 3.5

My pick – Cowboys, 27-19

Seattle (7-4) at Denver (7-4) – 8:15 p.m.

Rookie Jay Cutler will take over as Denver’s quarterback tonight.

There are two good reasons for this.

One, maybe it provides a big spark for Denver, gets them into the playoffs, and makes enough of a difference should they have to face K.C., S.D. or Indianapolis, teams they’ve already lost to during the season, again.

Two, if Denver falls short of the playoffs, which they easily could have done with Jake Plummer as well, at least Cutler has five games of starting experience heading toward next year.

Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander returning to the lineup help any team’s confidence.

Seattle’s kept no secrets from the media this week, making sure Denver knows they will be blitzing Cutler as much as possible.

Line – Denver by 4

My pick – Seattle, 30-24

Carolina (6-5) at Philadelphia (5-6) – Monday, 8:30 p.m.

Line – Carolina by 3

My pick – Panthers, 16-9

For the season…

Straight-up – 108-68 (10-6 last week)

Against the spread – 84-92 (9-7 last week)