The National Football League Playoffs
As detailed in these pages before, I've drifted considerably in my knowledge, of the NF... er, National Football League over the past five years. Although the Fightin' Amish did place in the top half of my fantasy football league this year, it was, admittedly, with a couple of players I'd never heard of before. Yes, I'm becoming that guy.
That doesn't stop me from making a fool of myself with football predictions, though. (See here
for last year's tomfoolery.) Without further adoooo, Wade's take on the (rest of the) NFL playoffs.
(Oh, it may help the mood if you play this in the background, courtesy of 80stvthemes.com.)
Green Bay at Philadelphia Let me begin by saying that bringing the Cardinals' Tyrone Pool to Green Bay and treating him like a king-- key to the city, luxury suite, seats on the 50-- was a low-class by the organization. Even though you backed into the playoffs, at least act like you earned it. I guess you can't expect much more from Paint Thinner Nation.
Toasting Tyrone Poole.
That being said, I really like the Cheeseheads this week. Favre is playing inspired football, and I think he can will this team to beat Philadelphia. Donny McNabb, despite rebounding from a sour start, doesn't have the offensive weapons that Favre has, especially with Brian Westbrook out. Even the Eagles' outstanding secondary may be nicked, with Troy Vincent dinged up.
The one player that will push this game to the Pack: Ahman Green. The Eagles don't do a great job against good runners, and they'll suffer for that Sunday. Winner: Packers
Carolina at Saint Louis Now, who let the Panthers in the playoffs? Is Steve Beuerlein still their quarterback? Tim Biakabutuka still running around? Anyone? OK, I'm being funny. I know that Stephen Davis is their starting running back, he's the reason they got to the playoffs, and that Dom Capers is their quarterback. (By the way, it's funny to me that Steve Spurrier didn't need Davis anymore. The fun 'n' gun is great!)
The Panthers could have slingin' Stevie Dils at quarterback this week and it wouldn't matter. The Rams continue to be an offensive juggernaut (coolness points for that word) that can't be tamed. Marshall Faulk isn't the same runner he used to be, and he's not even as good as Davis anymore, but Bulger / Warner have so many other offensive alternatives that Faulk doesn't have to play as big of role.
The only chance Carolina has is to control the clock by running Davis repeatedly, and take over the game. But I suspect the Rams will jump out to an early lead and the Panthers won't have enough Biakabutuka to catch up. Winner: Rams
Tennessee at New England Oh, the AFC. The NFC is like "Everybody Loves Raymond" to me-- I've seen it enough to know the characters and to be able to make (at least) logical predictions about the plot. The AFC is like "The Golden Girls"-- I used to watch it, although not very closely, and when I flip by it I think "Isn't this the one where Blanche..." and then realize it's just a crappy show and flip to VH1. Irregardless, I think the Patriots are too tough for the Flamin' Thumbtacks to stop right now, especially in New England.
No, she's talking about a *different* Saint Olaf.
I watched part of the Ravens / Oiler... er, Titans matchup on Saturday and thought McNair did a fairly good job against a tight defense. But he's not 100% healthy and I think the speedy Pats defense will catch up to him once or twice. (By the way, a 50% McNair is better than a 100% Neil O'Donnell at this point.) If I were allowed to vote for MVP, I would have given it to Tom Brady-- how he can get fourteen wins when his leading rusher and receiver combine for 1400 yards is beyond me.
Which leads me to believe their defense is pretty solid. Allowing 14 points per game? Yeah, that's pretty good. Winner: Patriots
Indianapolis at Kansas City A week ago, I would probably have leaned towards the Chieves in this one. But after watching the Colts *obliterate* (said in a Bill Walton-like voice) the Broncos last week, I gotta go for Indy. I don't like Petyon Manning one bit, but it looks like he's shaken the "no playoff win" curse. And Marvin Harrison? Please. He doesn't the highest profile, only because he makes everything look so effortless. Dwight Freeney is a fun player to watch, even funner to say his last name over and over again.
KC has looked confused recently, almost like they're questioning how they won so many games. Priest Holmes is good but not great, taking advantage of a skilled offensive line. Their defense looked very questionable late in the season. And (say it with me): "Any-team-who-loses-to-the-Vikings-doesn't-deserve-to-be-in-the-playoffs." That felt good. Winner: Colts
Oy. I forgot how annoying writing about football predictions can be. Let's keep these brief.
Packers at Saint Louis Favre's magic runs out in the Ram-dome (or wherever.) Winner: Rams
Colts at Patriots Peyton's looked great, but it gets really cold at Foxborough. Vanderjagt purposely misses the game-tying field goal to get back at Manning for the "stupid kicker" remark. Winner: Patriots
St. Louis vs. New England
The mighty Rams. A quarterback with a great arm, if it's Marc Bulger or Kurt Warner (or Brenda Warner.) Marshall Faulk can run well, or catch the ball and run well. Torry "Spelling" Holt and Ike Bruce are a pair of top-tier receivers, combining for nearly 2,700 yards this year.
DONNA MARTIN GRADUATES! wait...
But it won't be enough. The Rams' defense doesn't compare to the Patriots' d, Brady is playing like a man possessed (or pissed he didn't get MVP), the Pats' secondary is on a mission to prove they didn't need Lawyer Milloy... and finally... I believe there is a God, and He feels bad for sports fans in the Northeast. The Red Sox should have beat the Yanks this year, but a guy stupider than Vanderjagt left Pedro in to get torched. No Red Sox fan deserves that treatment, so the Patriots will pull through. 38 - 31, Patriots.
Your Superbowl Champions