Sunday, January 07, 2007

NFL Playoffs

It sounds like it was a good weekend of football. I wasn't able to see any of the games (cable was out, power was out a portion, got woke up before 7AM twice and the mail carrier lost about half my mail while I was gone by ignoring my hold request and not sticking my mail in my box - great return to LA!), but games that came down to the end without much in the way of surprise. While this season has felt pretty devoid of top flight teams, next weekend feels as strong as most years, with pretty much all the teams having a reason to make you believe in them.

I like the Patriots over the Chargers. People will probably overrate the significance of Marty vs. Belicheck, but that just screams upset in the playoffs, and there are a lot worse places to play in the playoffs than San Diego. The Patriots always have good defensive schemes, and the Chargers are less tricky than a lot of teams to scheme against. The problem is you can't completely shut out L.T. no matter how well you prepare. I think it's going to be a close game, and I trust the Pats in those.

I'll take the Ravens over the Colts. The Ravens D will disrupt Peyton and they can control the clock with the running game. Of course the Chiefs thought they could do the same thing, but there's a big difference playing in Indy vs. playing in Baltimore, and the Baltimore defense puts so much more pressure on the opposition than the Chiefs. Still, it's a compelling matchup, and pretty much all the potential AFC Championship matchups are intriguing to me.

I thought the Eagles would do better against the Giants than they did, but I'll still take them to upset the Saints. Granted I was dead wrong in doubting the Saints well into the season and the atmosphere should be incredible, but I think the Eagles are more comfortable in the playoff setting, and I'm not a fan at all of essentially giving your starters 2 weeks off. The key is going to be the play of Drew Brees. If he's as good as he has been for much of the year the Eagles are in trouble. If they can get him out of his game they've got a good shot. I'm betting on the latter (figuratively).

And finally I'll take the Bears over the Seahawks. Probably the least compelling game because the Seahawks are a shell of last year's team. Rex Grossman can look shaky and they'll still be fine, because of their D. Just don't make too many mistakes and they should be fine. I'm not sure what exactly happened to Matt Hasselbeck this year, but I've given up on him finding the answer this season.


Anonymous Dave S. said...

I agree with 3 of your picks (though the Pats-Chargers game is a very tough one to predict). I disagree about the Saints-Eagles though. I think the Saints are a very well-coached team with a ton of offensive weapons and a very good defense. I just can't see Jeff Garcia having a good game against that defense. Plus, the crowd in the Superdome is going to be insane; this Saints team has at least 1 playoff win in them, especially with them playing at home. I feel like the Eagles are definitely the worst of the 8 teams left, and I just don't think they are good enough to be in a conference championship game. I would LOVE to see a Saints-Chargers Super Bowl; there would be a ton of star power and great subplots, plus it would be a great game. I do agree with you that the Pats will beat the Chargers this week though in what could be the game of the year. Actually, the rest of these playoffs (especially in the AFC) are going to be incredible.

2:11 PM  
Anonymous dan said...

The Chargers are going to stomp the Patriots. This looks just like last year when the Patriots whooped a mediocre Jaguar team in the first round before getting spanked by Denver.

1) Unlike the Jets, the Chargers won't have to resort to any cheap tricks to pressure Brady. It's going to be "lights out" all day for Brady.

2) The Jets were able to move the ball up and down the field without a running game. Philip Rivers won't be throwing the ball 40 times.

3) The Chargers are healthy. Castillo is at full strength. He is just as important as Merriman is to this D. On the other side, the Pats' D isn't that great without Harrison at full strength.

4) Yes, Belichick is a GREAT coach, but the Chargers staff is pretty solid. Phillips is an excellent D-coordinator. This is Marty's BEST chance to get a ring. He's not going to blow it this time.

Enjoy the games!

6:53 PM  

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