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Another week, another team in the playoffs

December 12, 2006|by ROBERT KELLER

Week 14 of the NFL season brings along more clinching of playoff spots and begins a whole new battle - for wild-card playoff spots.

The biggest game this week was between Indianapolis and Jacksonville. Indianapolis needed to win this game to hold onto the top seed in the AFC. Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning did not have the best of games Sunday, throwing only two touchdowns. The Jaguars were a different story. They made five touchdowns and three field goals and defeated the Colts 44-17.

The games I am going to predict this week are Cleveland at Baltimore, Philadelphia at New York Giants, Pittsburgh at Carolina, and Washington at New Orleans. My predictions are Baltimore, New York, Carolina and New Orleans. It was hard to pick New York over Philadelphia because neither team is playing well right now.

San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson has broken Seattle running back Shaun Alexander's record for single-season touchdowns. The old record was 28; the new record is 29. Tomlinson is an amazing running back. Plus he's got a good set of blockers to open holes for him, as well as a good quarterback to get the ball to him. I have a feeling that many teams are going to want him on their team in the future. Thanks to Tomlinson, the Chargers have earned a playoff spot.

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The battle for the AFC is getting tighter and tighter as the end of the regular season draws closer. The Chargers lead the division at 11-2, while Indianapolis and Baltimore are the next best. Each is at 10-3. The New England Patriots are fourth at 9-4.

The Chargers' two losses were against Baltimore and Kansas City. The Chargers face Kansas City next week. If San Diego loses, and Indianapolis loses to Cincinnati, Baltimore can take first place in the AFC with a win, due to the fact that Baltimore won the last time the Chargers and Ravens met. The Patriots can't lose any more games if they are to even think about a top seed in the AFC. They are looking at three excellent teams sitting ahead of them.

As I mentioned earlier in the column, the Chargers have clinched a spot in the playoffs. San Diego joins Chicago as the only teams already in the playoffs.

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