If I was asked to pick a movie title to aptly describe the history making run of the 1972 Miami Dolphins, I’d go with the 1987 gangster flick “The Untouchables”. Led by then mob boss (or head coach) Don Shula, the Dolphins (Shula’s) with the likes of Bob Griese, Larry Csonka, Mercury Morris and Manny Fernandez executed a hit in the National Football League that is still waiting to be matched. Miami is the only organization to complete a full season (including regular and playoff) undefeated. Yes, seasons were only 14 games long at the time and the New England Patriots own the league record for most wins in a regular season, but let’s not forget their failure to close the deal against the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII (42) that prevented them from surpassing arguably the greatest team in league history. This season, we saw dual “Paths to Perfection” in the form of the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts. Both teams ran into stumbling as they hit the home stretch of their respective journeys. It’s been said records are made to be broken…not all of them. The parity that plagues the NFL leads me to believe no other team will do what the 1972 Dolphins have done. I know reporters and fans alike are sick of seeing the remaining ’72 Dolphins reunite to pop champagne at the expense of an undefeated team’s demise, but it’s an image you’ll have to endure until every member of that team passes.
Wouldn’t it be sweet if I could pull off a ’72 Dolphins’ like record this week? Here’s to my shot at perfection:
Bills over Colts– Since Jim Caldwell decided to throw Indianapolis’ shot at history out the window, it wouldn’t make since for his starters to play all four quarters, especially since the Colts have already secured a bye week and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Panthers over Saints– At one point, New Orleans’ defense was ranked as high as sixth. It has plummeted to 24th. The running back corps has been bit by the injury bug. The Saints too have locked up home field advantage, so you can bank on them playing it safe and saving their best for the postseason.
Browns over Jaguars– It looks like the announcement of Mike Holmgren as the new General Manager has lit a late season fire in the bellies of the Dawg Pound. Will this momentum carry over into 2010? Stay tuned!
Patriots over Texans– Randy Moss said he has the shoulders to carry the team on. Call me crazy, but I believe him. When Moss is focused, he’s easily the most uncheckable receiver in the league.
Vikings over Giants– New York turned out to be a Big Blue mirage after its 5-0 start. Minnesota is losing its grip on the number two seed and will everything possible to keep it.
49ers over Rams– San Francisco will conclude 2009 the same way it did 2008, on a strong note. Maybe 2010 is the season that they’ll stake claim to the NFC West crown.
Buccaneers over Falcons– Tampa Bay scored its biggest win of the season over the Saints. Seeing as how Atlanta’s offense has been decimated with injuries and the defense hasn’t fared well in stopping anybody, it’s not impossible for the Bucs to pull off a second upset in its many weeks.
Steelers over Dolphins– In a matchup of the third best rushing defense vs. the fourth best rushing offense, I’ll take the defense, only because Ronnie Brown isn’t around to help Ricky Williams split the load.
Bears over Lions– Jay Cutler is on a mission to regain the trust of Chicago’s fan base. He should be able to cease such an opportunity against a Detroit defense that has been hospitable to opposing offenses.
Eagles over Cowboys– This is the game that will truly speak volumes as to if Dallas has exorcised its December demons. Philly is gelling at the right time and I can’t see the Eagles squandering an opportunity to win another division title.
Broncos over Chiefs– In a fight for their playoff lives, Denver will pull out all the stops to extend their play to January.
Ravens over Raiders– For Baltimore, this will more than likely be a win for pride than a playoff spot, considering there’s no control of its own destiny.
Titans over Seahawks– The most intriguing part of this game is seeing if Chris Johnson will break the 2,000 rushing yard threshold.
Chargers over Redskins– Washington should go for the highest draft pick possible, since the organization will be overhauled anyway.
Packers over Cardinals– Like Philly, Green Bay has developed into a dangerous team at the best part of the season. Look for either of these dark horses to represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLIV (44).
Bengals over Jets– Chad Johnson has called out Darrelle Revis, suggesting the shutdown cornerback cannot check him. Revis thus far has shut down the likes of Andre John and Randy Moss. Johnson’s play better
cash the check that his mouth wrote if he hopes to help Cincinnati have its best season since 2005.
Speaking of security, I stand at 155-85 for the season, and despite my results for this week, it’s safe to say I fulfilled my mission of maintaining an above .500 winning percentage. The regular season is at its end and the playoffs are down the pike. I want to wish the Take No Prisoners Community a Happy, prosperous, successful and peaceful New Year. We’ll get back at it in time enough for Wildcard Weekend.
By Antoine Hoffman