Saturday, January 12, 2008

Divisional Playoff Picks 2007

Last week I went 3-1 and I still can't understand why Tampa didn't start pressuring Manning when he got off the bus, since that's the book on the guy and they had weeks to prepare.

But enough about that, on to this week's games...

Seattle at Green Bay: If anybody knows Brett Favre and how to beat him it's Mike Holmgren of the Seahawks. Unfortunately for him this game is in Lambeau Field and Seattle is a different team on the road (terrible) than they are at home (mediocre). The Lambeau mystique is gone (1-2 in last three home playoff games) but Favre didn't come all this way for one and done in the playoffs. He knows they have a good shot at a home NFC Championship game next week and he'll do everything he can to get them there. Which scares me a little but I also expect every borderline call to go the Packers' way. Somebody needs to check Shaun Alexander's pop-up timer because I'm *pretty sure* he's done and Hasselbeck still doesn't impress me. Green Bay's your winner.

Jags @ New England: An interesting turn of events has taken place this week. Apparently, the Jags are a better team than the Pats. At least that's what every talking head on TV seems to be suggesting, in the hopes they'll look good if the Jags pull a stunning upset. Which they won't. Nobody wants to give credit to the Pats, saying they got six gimmes against the weak AFC East (which is somehow their fault) but they went on the road to beat Indy, Baltimore and Dallas, not to mention a home win against San Diego. In all 6 of their wins were against 2007 playoff teams, most of them in convincingly lopsided fashion including a 52-7 drubbing of a Redskins team that plays a similar style to... you guessed it, the Jags. All week it seems like the Jags were doing all the talking (big surprise) while the Pats party line was how they're 0-0. Were weather going to play a factor in this one I might buy into the idea of the Jags keeping it close with a ground control, smashmouth type of game. Nope. It's gonna be cool and clear with no wind, so expect Brady to hookup alllll night with Moss, Welker and Stallworth. This one might be 38-3 Pats.

San Diego @ Indy: This is another one that looks like a no-brainer to me. San Diego beat Indy earlier in the season by two points thanks to: terrible weather conditions, injuries to key players, a rare missed FG from Adam Vinatieri, and six picks from Peyton Manning. Yet they were still in a position to win the game at the end. This week the rematch is in Indy and the way Norv Turner was acting after last week's win over an over-matched Titans team that still led at halftime you'd have thought they won the Super Bowl. Indy will stop Tomlinson and make Phillip Rivers try and beat them. Won't happen. This game wouldn't surprise me if the final score was 44-10 with Indy scoring on their first six possessions.

Giants @ dallas: I'm still stymied as to why the Bucs didn't bring pressure alllll day on Manning. That's the book on Twitchy McPickoff but somehow the great minds in Tampa overlooked it. On the other side of the ball you have a dinged up TO (but he says he'll play), the Romo Cabo distractions, the Jason Garrett/Wade Phillips distractions, and well, Wade Phillips as your head coach. Of all four games this is the one where I could see the road team coming in and winning. New York's on a bit of a roll and I know everybody wants to anoint them as some great road team (only one of those regular season wins came against a playoff team), plus they're crediting Manning the Younger with some great maturation against a Bucs team I think we all overrated. So do I go with a Giants team that has been hot of late or a dallas team that has been much cooler? I'm going to go out on a limb and take the Giants for a couple reasons: 1) I have to pick a road team to win, it's just unlikely that all the faves are victorious and this and the other NFC game seem the most likely candidates for an upset; 2) I think that how you go into the playoffs has impact. The Giants played hard against the Pats and though they lost got it in their heads they could play with the big fellas. They can't but they think they can. dallas, on the other hand, went in soft, lost 2 of their last 3 (scoring just 32 points in the process) and dealing with off the field drama like injuries and who Romo's banging. The pressure's all on them, especially after a 13-3 regular season, and I think they crumble, setting up a home NFC championship game for Favre (and a giant hard-on for the league office) next weekend.

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