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Friday, December 21, 2001
Sports Guy vs. Sports Dog

By Bill Simmons and Bailey
Page 2 staff

With Bailey the Sports Dog having built an almost insurmountable lead over the Sports Guy, Page 2 columnist Bill Simmons is getting desperate as their seasonlong battle of NFL picks enters its final three weeks.

Bill vs. Bailey
Seems like everybody thinks they can handicap NFL games, so Page 2 has decided to turn to its two experts in the field of prognostication. Each week we'll have Page 2 columnist Bill Simmons, the Sports Guy, go head-to-head with Bailey the Sports Dog.

Simmons is a die-hard Boston sports nut who represents the common fan.

Bailey is a Samoyed husky-black Labrador cross with a nose for pigskin. He's lived in Colorado, Chicago and Seattle while loyally following college and pro football for the past 14 years.

Each week, Bill and Bailey will select their four best choices against the spread. We'll also keep a running score throughout the season.

Simmons will use his extensive football knowledge, the Internet and key newspapers to come up with his can't-miss picks. Bailey will choose between two dog treats representing teams in each matchup.

Of course, these are only predictions and not recommendations for wagering.

After Bailey's 2-2 performance in Week 14 (while Simmons went 1-3), the four-legged wonder now has a seven-game lead over Simmons, with only 12 picks left in the season.

But beware Bailey: Bill is using his knowledge outside the world of football to help him with this week's predictions.

Here are their Week 15 picks:

Bill Simmons' Week 15 NFL predictions
Season record: 26-28-2; last week: 1-3

Since I'm floundering with football, I'm trying a different tactic ... I'm making this weekend's NFL picks based on my favorite potential NBA bets on Friday's slate. Hence, I'm picking four NBA teams and using the corresponding NFL teams from their cities for this week's NFL picks:

Miami at New England
The Pats giving three at home in a pivotal AFC East game ... meanwhile, look for the 4½-point favorite Celtics to whup up on Utah at home because 1) Antoine always plays well against the Mailman, 2) Utah doesn't have a guy on their roster who can guard Paul Pierce, and 3) for some inexplicable reason, Kenny Anderson lights up John Stockton.
The pick: New England 104, Miami 88.

St. Louis at Carolina
The Panthers are getting 12 at home against the Rams. As for the Hornets (getting eight in Minnesota), they look like an intriguing underdog play because 1) they always play better on the road, 2) Minny doesn't have a true point guard with Terrell Brandon out, and 3) the Hornets have big bodies to throw at KG.
The pick: St. Louis 97, Carolina 94 (Panthers cover).

Philadelphia at San Francisco
The Niners laying three at home ... meanwhile, the Warriors (getting two at home against Seattle) are looking frisky after they finally fired Dave Cowens last week (who was playing too many guys, always an NBA no-no), so they're still riding that "Hey, we like our new coach!" wave. And the Sonics have a tendency to get up for good teams and mail it in against the crappy ones.
The pick: San Fran 105, Philly 98.

Seattle at N.Y. (New Jersey) Giants
The Giants laying 3½ at home... meanwhile, the Nets are getting 1½ in Indiana, which looks especially tasty because 1) the Nets are playing better than anyone in the East, 2) Vegas still refuses to respect the Nets, 3) Indy looks like they might finally be packing it in on Isiah (the worst coach of the past few years, bar none), 4) Jalen Rose is trying to sulk his way into a trade, and 5) Indy has a tendency to mail it in at home because of their lukewarm fans (and they're lukewarm for a reason -- I couldn't root for Isiah either). J-Kidd will give Jamaal Tinsley a clinic tonight.
The pick: New Jersey 98, Seattle 83.

Bailey's Week 15 NFL predictions
Bailey
Bailey follows his nose in search of another winner.
Season record: 33-21-2; last week: 2-2
(As told to Jim Wilkie, editor for Page 2.)

Philadelphia at San Francisco
Gotta go with the Left Coast and the Niners minus 3 points.
-- The pick: 49ers 27, Eagles 20

Buffalo at Atlanta
Tough to pick between these dogs, but I'll take the Falcons and give the four points.
-- The pick: Falcons 20, Bills 6

Chicago at Washington
Redskins still remind me of a dog's breakfast, so go with the Bears minus 1½ points.
-- The pick: Bears 24, Redskins 21

New York Jets at Indianapolis
Hmmm, this diddly-poo smells familiar ... I'll take the Jets plus 1½ points.
-- The pick: Jets 38, Colts 17