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Friday, January 4, 2002
Sports Guy vs. Sports Dog

By Bill Simmons and Bailey
Page 2 staff

Just like the playoff races, the season-long battle between The Sports Guy and The Sports Dog comes down to the final weekend.

Bailey holds a four-game lead, but Bill Simmons can tie him if he goes 4-0 and Bailey flops.

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.

Bill Simmons continued his surge with a 3-1 Week 16, while Bailey went 2-2.

Here are their Week 17 picks:

Bill Simmons' Week 17 NFL predictions
Season record: 33-29-2; last week: 3-1
Barring a miracle, I'm about to lose to a dog. I'm almost speechless. This week's picks...

Kansas City at Seattle
Is there any doubt the Seahawks (3½-point favorites at home) will screw this up? I mean, any?
The pick: Chiefs 30, Seahawks 20

Cleveland at Pittsburgh
Steelers giving 6 points at home... and Tommy Maddox is prominently involved. The No. 1 seed always stumbles if they clinch before Week 17, unless they're the Rams.
The pick: Browns 30, Steelers 27 (upset special)

Arizona at Washington
Cards getting 4 points on the road... just once this season, I want to pick a Cardinals game correctly. Just once.
The pick: Cardinals 24, Redskins 21

Minnesota at Baltimore
Spergon Wynn against the Ravens D ... and the line's only 10. A year ago, this game would have sent people scurrying to put a second mortgage on their house. Now? I'm staying away. Let's take a mulligan on this one.

New York Jets at Oakland
Raiders giving 3½ at home against the stumbling Jets ... don't the Raiders need a big home win to jump-start them in the playoffs or am I crazy? And they need to win this game or else the Patriots could get the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. And I don't like any of this coach-player finger-pointing going on with the J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS. Always a recipe for disaster. And if that's not enough, Vincenzo's involved. I'm making this my lock of the year.

(Was that enough of a reverse jinx for you?)
The pick: Raiders 56, Jets 0

Bailey's Week 17 NFL predictions
Bailey
Bailey follows his nose in search of another winner.
Season record: 37-25-2; last week: 2-2
(As told to Jim Wilkie, editor for Page 2.)

Green Bay at New York Giants
Packers have been good to this old dog all year, so there's no reason for any new tricks. I like Green Bay at minus 3 points.
-- The pick: Packers 38, Giants 17

Arizona at Washington
In a battle for pride, I'll go with the Redskins minus 4 points.
-- The pick: Redskins 33, Cardinals 28

Chiefs at Seahawks
Though I hate to go against the home team at Husky Stadium, the Seahawks won't cover at minus 3½ points against the Chiefs.
-- The pick: Seahawks 26, Chiefs 24 (Kansas City covers)

New York Jets at Oakland
These two have been dogging it lately, causing me more pain than my arthritis, but I'll go with the Raiders at minus 3½ points.
-- The pick: Raiders 28, Jets 20