Friday, January 12, 2007

Second-round NFL picks!

First, a moment of silence for my cat Bailey. His four favourite football teams (the Panthers, Bengals, Jaguars and Lions) all failed to make the playoffs, which I figure he kept wandering in front of the TV meowing during last week's games. To make matters worse, there are three bird teams (the Eagles, Seahawks and Ravens) still alive, plus the Chargers -- Bailey is afraid of lightning. Tough year for my cat.

Onto the picks...remember, if you think I actually know anything about football and are taking these picks as gospel, you're crazier than I am.

EAGLES over the Saints
This is the toughest one to pick of the round by far. Everyone is on the New Orleans bandwagon as this inspirational team, but....Philly has been on a terrific roll and nobody has really given them credit for. And aside from last season, nobody save New England has had more playoff experience than the Eagles. I think this'll be one of those second-round upsets that makes more sense in hindsight when we see how tense the Saints are. NO edged out a 27-24 win over Philly earlier this season, and it's hard to beat the same team twice in a year. If the Eagles get an early lead, the energy is going to get sucked out of the Superdome really quickly.

BEARS over the Seahawks
As shoddy as Rex Grossman has looked, and as shaky as the Bears defense has been the last few weeks, and given the fact that the Bears have lost their last two homefield, after-a-bye playoff games....I just can't pick Seattle after that stinker last week. They won that game by the grace of Tony Romo's lead hands.

By the way, my favourite Rex Grossman story of the week is how he revealed that he played so poorly in Week 17 against Green Bay because the game was meaningless and thus he didn't prepare as much as he should have. Now, in fairness to Rex, he's right, the game was meaningless for the Bears. But this is the supposed leader of the football team! Do you think Tom Brady or Brett Favre would ever come out and say "yeah, I really phoned it in this week"? I can't decide if Kyle Orton is taking pleasure at Grossman's failings this season, or if he's getting as frustrated the guy who Nicole Brown dated before O.J.

PATRIOTS over the Chargers
I'm wary that this might be one of those 'reverse favourite' games I talked about last week, how the underdog team is actually favoured by most people, but then the favourite wins in a manner that shows why they were favoured to begin with. The Colts won the reverse favourite game over KC last week, but I think the Patriots will still pull things out against San Diego. Actually, this is a good time to hedge my bets -- either the Chargers or Saints (the two feel-good stories in the NFL this year) will lose. Possibly both of them will lose, but definitely at least one will taste defeat. In this case, I think the Pats just stack the line against LT and force Rivers to beat them with the pass, which he may or may not be able to do in a playoff atmosphere. Like in the Philly-NO game, the Pats will have to score early and get a lead in order to quiet down the San Diego crowd, who aren't known for their exuberence even in the best of times.

RAVENS over the Colts
Sorry, Bailey. The Ravens are going to moider them, to quote Bugs Bunny. Barring a Steve McNair injury, the Baltimore D should have no trouble putting up points against Captain Overrated.  If Manning threw three picks against the weak Chiefs defense last week, he won't stand a chance against Baltimore. Now it's time for the Polivision Poll: who will Manning blame this year after a playoff loss?

a) His offensive linemen (again)

b) Marvin Harrison "You know, I could make more things happen if I had better people catching the ball." Reporter: "Uh, Peyton, isn't Harrison a hall-of-famer?" PM: "Next question!"

c) New York Giants fans, for booing his equally useless little brother

d) Tony Dungy. "Even coach's dead son could've come up with a better game plan than that."

e) The fans. "At first I thought they weren't saying boo, but were saying 'moooovers.' But then they were actually saying boo." Reporter: "Why would Baltimore fans cheer you?" PM: "Next question!"

f) President James Madison. "He lost the White House to the hated British in 1814! Surely that's worse than losing a playoff game!"

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