NFL Playoff Predictions
Wow, it's hard to believe that a). I've been blogging since the NFL season began and b). that I didn't make any picks.
Clearly I was wrong on the Patriots making the playoffs. I'll eat my crow. Mmmmm.....good crow. I'm sure I spoke words that were partially colored by my being a fan of the Colts, but my prediction mostly came out of two things: I didn't think that any team (Patriots or otherwise) could be this good for this long, and I also was just another in a long line of folks tired of hearing about the Pats. I guess I still am tired of it. But you have to at least marvel a little bit at how they're able to win so frequently, and with so many key players injured. Their wide receiver was tied (at least two weeks ago) for the team lead in interceptions for Pete's sake. I don't wanna shower the coaches with the words "genius" just because I think that word is highly overused. But they are good....from coach and front office down to the special teams grunts...somehow, despite the odds, the Patriots have kept winning.
Man, did I ever hate writing all that crap in the last paragraph...but you gotta take your lumps.
Now, since I made no predictions at the start of the year, I'll make some now....for the playoffs. Here's hoping I don't come off sounding as stupid as I did predicting the Patriots would miss the post-season.
NFC: Green Bay has to beat Minnesota, right? There are so many factors working against the Vikings that it just almost doesn't seem fair....the weather, being on the road at Green Bay, Favre being a magical bastard, Randy Moss creating anger in his teammate's hearts for walking off the field early, Minnesota basically sucking hard the last half of the season. But this game is going to be about the passing games....and neither defense is super prolific at stopping the pass. I think it's harder to beat a team three times in a season than the Titans made it look in Jacksonville. I think it's harder to beat a team three times in a season than it is for a non-unified dome team to go into Green Bay and win a game. I'm picking the Vikings. Why? Because despite my desire not to come off as stupid-sounding....it's still very hard for me to make standard picks that everyone else and their brother makes. Both the two games these teams played this year already were close (both 34-31 by the way) and there's no reason to think they won't be close again. Randy Moss may be a jerk and a self-loving a-hole, but he's 8 feet tall and is a hell of a player. He'll make a couple leaping grabs in the endzone. This will be one of the craziest games this weekend....anything can happen. The world will be stunned when the Vikings prevail. (this is my upset special)
Seattle will beat St. Louis. Again I go with the three times logic. Again there are tons of factors going against the team I'm picking, including another star player who's whiney lately. But neither of these teams has proven they can be consistent (consistently good or consistently bad) and I think the two main factors will be the home field advantage (fans in Seattle have waited a while for something to get excited about) and the three games a season thing. I'm not sure St. Louis, with their Jeckle and Hyde ways, could have beat San Fransisco three times this year. I really can't believe how similar these two teams are. I'm going with Seattle. So there.
NFC Long-term playoffs: I think Atlanta gets into the Super Bowl. I don't think Minnesota, Green Bay, Seattle, or St. Louis can do anything versus Atlanta and Philly. I think Philly misses T.O. more than they will ever admit. And I think Vick will play well with the pressure on. Don't forget how good Atlanta's Defense was this year. And Atlanta will lose in the Super Bowl because even if you made an All-Star team out of Atlanta and Philly's rosters they would look like junior varsity players next to whomever the AFC sends into the big game.
AFC: Colts will beat Denver. I heard John Lynch on Jim Rome this afternoon, continuing his team's reckless decision to mock Indy's receivers this week. That'll haunt you. Is there anything an NFL player likes less than being called a wuss? I don't think so. He also ripped on the Colts, saying that they whined so much after losing to the Patriots last year that they got the rule changed. That's ridiculous. Does Lynch really believe that one team can tell the NFL what to do?! And by whining?! Everyone from Bob Costas to Jeff Fisher knows the Patriots manhandled the Colts receivers last year, and the rule wouldn't have been changed had the league not thought it was worth changing.
Colts are indoors. Denver hasn't had a fresh look at the Colts main weapons. Whatever advantage the Broncos had coming into the game over feeling bad about last year's embarassing loss have has been erased by their calling the Colts soft. The Colts pass rush is deadly on that turf. Manning and the recievers all have something to prove now. Colts by a wide margin. I will be very surprised (and also very nervous) if this game is remotely close. Man, do you have any idea how badly I want to see Marvin make another catch, fall to the ground again, remain untouched again, and then get up and run it in for a TD...just like last year?! Soooooo badly. That would rule. (this game is my lock of the week).
I think the Chargers will win against the Jets. The Jets have a good defense (great even) and a good running attack, but their QB and receivers have struggled all year to be anything more than average. The Chargers, meanwhile, have just as good a defense, but their offense has been huge all season. I see big, big games for L.T. and Gates. Remember last week when the second and third stringers for the Chargers beat the crap out of their opponent? This team's hungry, and they've spent the season having something to prove....that won't stop here. They win at home and Pennington becomes the new Manning ("He can't win the important games!!").
AFC Long-term playoffs: Colts over New England. I think it's hard to beat a team four times in two seasons...even at home. I think New England is banged up. I think the Colts finally have more to prove than the Pats. And I love the Colts.
The Steelers will beat the Chargers, causing Drew Brees to cry like a small boy. The Steelers are too tough, and on too big a roll for the Bolts to stop them.
Then...in Steel-town...the Colts will dismantle the Steelers one glaring weakness...their pass defense. I don't care if Bettis runs for 200 yards and a couple scores....their secondary cannot stop the Colts.
Super Bowl: Falcons and Colts. Birds versus horse. The Colts win and in the process break both legs of Michael Vick, causing him to miss the entire next season. Okay, I'm kidding. But the Colts will win if they make the Super Bowl, regardless of who they face. This is the year, baby. I'm now officially a believer. Peyton will lead the rest of the android/robots to victory and finally silence the ninnies who claim he can't win a big game.
Clearly I've made the same mistake again, in allowing my allegience to my team to color my picks. But regardless of my personal favorite team....at the end of the day I'm making these picks based on what I think will happen...what I believe will happen.
Feel free to mock me once my picks demonstrate my foolishness. I will deserve it then as I deserve it now for my Patriots remarks. But also expect at least one post rife with bragging behavior should my Colts go all the way.