My choice of title for this week’s picks could be misconstrued as a recap of Atlanta, Georgia’s Ludacris’ debut album, but keep in mind this is the time of week where I prognosticate upcoming NFL matchups. The headline more so revolves around a few firsts for one Michael Vick, who is still a bird, but of a different flock. Everybody by now is aware of the shortcoming that caused him to lose two seasons of his professional football career. Let’s fast-forward to Sunday, December 6th, 2009, shall we? Vick made his return as a Philadelphia Eagle to the Georgia Dome, to do battle with the Atlanta Falcons, a team that owner Arthur Blank placed on his shoulders. In a show of appreciation, Blank greeted Vick during pregame warm-ups with an embrace and conversation. While it’s undetermined what was said between the two, it’s safe to assume that Blank has forgiven the former face of his team for the negative attention that blitzed his organization two seasons ago. 

Already riding an emotional rollercoaster, Vick was greeted with a mixture of cheers and “boos” upon stepping onto the field. Three quarters later,Vick, in typical fashion, scored his first touchdown since October 2006 with a five yard scamper to the end zone. The mixed reaction from Atlanta’s faithful transformed into cheers. The game progresses to the fourth quarter.  With 12:38 left in the game, the Eagles are faced with a third and goal situation at Atlanta’s five yard line. Vick takes the snap, he rolls left throws across his body to the right and finds tight end Brent Celek for his first passing touchdown in three seasons. The Georgia Dome explodes!  Fans even went into chant of “We Want Vick”. While Vick’s numbers (2-2, 48 passing yards, 1 TD and 4 carries, 17 yards and 1 TD) for the day weren’t worthy of earning him Player of the Week honors or a starting spot on your fantasy football team, it could be an audition for his future once his time in Philly ends. I can’t say how long it will take for him to completely recapture his athleticism of seasons past, but he’s missed two years of football, which should tell us that he’s got some football left in him. Won’t it be interesting to see where he lands next? Until then, let’s see what’s ahead in this week’s matchups:

Steelers over Browns
Saints over Falcons
Ravens over Lions
Packers over Bears
Texans over Seahawks
Colts over Broncos
Dolphins over Jaguars
Bills over Chiefs
Vikings over Bengals
Patriots over Panthers
Jets over Buccaneers
Titans over Rams
Raiders over Redskins
Chargers over Cowboys
Eagles over Giants
Cardinals over 49ers

While my personal quest for redemption pales in comparison to that of Vick’s, I did bounce back from my 8-8 debacle in week 12 with 10-6 mark last week. For the year, I’m 123-69, but I can’t get comfortable now. There’s only four weeks left and I have to close out the regular season on a high note. You know what happens a week from now, so until then, take care.

By Antoine Hoffman


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