Can Miss Dottie hold on? In the final week the other swamis are in striking distance.
Every swami beat her last week, leaving Dottie Weiner with just a one point lead over defending champ Dave Rice, three points over Roger Raymond and five over Don Healy.
They all differ from Dottie on at least five games so that this week will prove the winner, even though Weiner has led a chunk of this season.
A tabulation error was found or Rice would be tied with Miss Dottie and Raymond within two points of her.
For the week, Dave Rice was 11-4, Raymond and Healy, 10-5 and Weiner, 8-7.
On the season, Weiner is 154-76, Rice, 153-77, Raymond, 151-74 and Healy, 149-81.
Most of the choices this week are based on which teams have made the playoffs and most likely resting their starters.
Indianapolis management drew the ire of home fans when they took out the first team in the third quarter with a lead and then lost the game to the Jets last Sunday. In doing so the Colts lost its chance for a perfect season as it now stands at 14-1.
Healy goes against the swamis when he takes Buffalo over Indianapolis.
“I sure as heck hope the Colts owners have enough sense to not play the starters after the debacle last Sunday,” he says. “Does anyone think the backup quarterback will help the team more now that he has had 20 snaps under center? Give me a break. A good percentage of the offense is (quarterback) Peyton Manning. They also rested receivers and key linemen, which made the game a travesty.”
“Regardless, Buffalo is so bad that Indy will win with whoever they play,” Raymond says.
Rice too takes Indianapolis, but remains upset over the Colts players being pulled and in effect giving up the game.
“The only thing I can think of is how disappointed I am that NFL team management chooses to not play the entire season with their main players as soon as they earn a playoff berth. In the NFL it is business obviously, but as a player and coach, my approach has always been to play every game to win. It is a different story if a team is comfortably ahead to pull your starters, but ... ”
The Colts starters were pulled with the team leading the Jets, 15-10 early in the third quarter.
“The Colts players may never get another opportunity to break and set a new NFL record again in their careers,” Rice says. “And what about the teams that also got hurt by the Jets winning. There will be teams that won’t make the playoffs because of that Jets win.”
There are unsung Colts heroes that do the dirty work and go without recognition. The Miami Dolphins undefeated team have made a living off appearances because they were on the undefeated team of 1972. A perfect season would have meant as much, or more, for those not in the limelight.
“A proud grandfather could have told his grandchildren one day about playing on the Colts that had a perfect season,” Rice said. “And how about the little guy who bought tickets for his family to be at the last game of the season so that they could see history made?”
The Jets could benefit again from a team resting their key players today, because Cincinnati already has clinched a playoff berth. The win would make the Jets 9-6, which could get them into the playoffs.
Rice is the only swami taking Cincinnati.
Weiner is the only swami to take New England, another playoff-bound team, playing Houston. If Houston should win it would be 9-7 and looking for a playoff berth.
She also is the only swami taking New Orleans at Carolina. The Saints are in the playoffs, but could better its seed if they win.
Jacksonville is trying to even its season at 8-8, with Rice the only swami taking the Jaguars over Cleveland.
Somehow, Raymond thinks 2-13 Detroit can down 6-9 Chicago after the Bears big win over Minnesota.
He also takes lowly Oakland over Baltimore. And Raymond goes alone with Green Bay over Arizona. Both are playoff teams.
Healy is the only swami taking San Diego.
The swamis are split on Atlanta at Tampa Bay. Healy and Raymond take Tampa Bay.
“Atlanta has a better team so maybe Tampa Bay will try hard,” Healy says. The Buccaneers certainly tried hard last week in knocking off New Orleans in overtime.
Rice is the lone swami liking Jacksonville over Cleveland.
He also is the only swami to take Philadelphia at Dallas. Both teams have made the playoffs, but this game is important. A win for Dallas ties them with Philadelphia.
The readers Pigskin Picks winners this week are Bill Greaves and Joseph Capilets.