Sunday, January 07, 2007

Wild Card Weekend: Day 2

I'm glad that I skipped yesterday's first game in favor of some duckpin bowling and another great meal at Saigon Remembered, an excellent Vietnamese restaurant in Baltimore. (Love those Basil Mussels!) The recap on Deadspin pretty much made it seem like it was a dud and the Chiefs were never really in the game. Pretty much as I predicted.

The second game, however, put the "wild" back in Wild Card Weekend. The Cowboys have nobody to blame but themselves for that loss. Dumb penalties, dropped balls, goal line fumbles, questionable play calls, and, of course, The Hold. As my nephew said this morning, as an Eagles fan he was torn since (on paper) Dallas probably had a better shot at going in to Chicago next week (if the Birds win today) and beating the Bears. Seattle has no shot. None.

But on to today's games. The Pats seem ready to explode to me (and I think they beat San Diego next weekend setting up an AFC Championship game in Charm City against the Ravens but I'm getting ahead of myself). New England was the one team the Jets weren't supposed to beat but did all season and I just don't bet against the Football Jesus at home in a must-win game. New England wins and covers the 9 point spread.

That 7 point spread for the Birds seems large considering none of the NFC teams in the playoffs appears that much better than any other team, the home field advantage isn't worth that much (Giants play in Philly at least once a year and it's only an hour away), and the teams know each other inside and out.

The only thing that can swing that game and make it a blowout is if the Birds get ahead 10-0 or 14-0. Just reading the quotes from the Giants locker room this week you know they feel like they're the best team in the division, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Anytime Shockey is talking about how much they "respect" Philly you know he means the exact opposite.

With no Strahan, a gimpy Shockey (though I'm glad he's playing in the hopes of another teeth-rattling hit by Dawkins and Co.), and Flinchy McPickoff at QB that team will quit if things start to go bad. The Eagles need to get out to a fast start, dump Manning on his ass a bunch, stuff the run, and work the crowd into a feeding frenzy (given that this might be the only home playoff game that shouldn't be a problem). I still say the Giants cover the spread (7 points) but a blowout wouldn't shock me given New York's recent history of playoff numb-skullery like last year's bagel against Carolina and the incredible comeback of a few years ago when they choked against a Niners team led by, that's right, Jeff Garcia.

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