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January 18, 2008

NFL Scorecard - Round 3 Predictions

Naturally, the only game I got wrong last week was the only one that I had any rooting interest in. I had the Colts in my playoff pool. And while I did not want to see them win the title again, we go against the spread, so there was hope for me to have my cake and eat it too. Instead, Billy Volek and Co. ruined the party, knocking off a surprisingly sloppy Indianapolis team off at home. If Tony Dungy retires, does he reputation go back to choking in the playoffs, or is his 9-9 record tempered by the fact he went 4-0 last year to win it all?

In other news, I may be the only person outside of Boston rooting for the Patriots at this point. Everybody is rising up against them, it seems. I'm not sure why. Sure, there's SpyGate, and their coach might be the biggest d-bag in the league, but aren't they fun to watch? I guess I'm just partial to history. I want them to go 19-0; I wanted Brady to get to 50 TD passes. It's just more fun that way. I was rooting for Manning to break Marino's record a few years ago and I don't even like him or the Colts. And of course, I've always had a special place in my heart for Randy Moss since he helped me win my fantasy football championship his rookie year.

Back in the NFC, I'm sure there are a lot of storylines to be had, but I'm not overly interested. Sure, everybody's favorite quarterback, Brett Favre, is a win away from returning to the Super Bowl. I guess I'm fine with that. I've heard some people say that they want the Packers to win because then the Bears can say they beat the world champs twice. Uh, I don't think that gets engraved on the trophy.

So with that, we move on to my picks. Based on the first two rounds, the worst I can do is go .500 for the playoffs, as I'm 3 games up with 3 to go. Obviously, I'm shooting for a little better than that. Last week, I thought all of those were easy picks. This week, I'm not so sure.

New England (-14) vs San Diego - I did well picking against the Patriots last week, as they've had their fair share of close games, and if anybody has the overall talent to hang close, it'd be the Chargers. But I still believe that Norv Turner is Norv Turner, and the Chargers just appear to be too banged up. If Tomlinson is limited, and Gates is limited, and Billy Volek is prominently involved, I'm worried for the Chargers. They managed to get by Indy, but can they do it two weeks in a row? Even if Philip Rivers plays, I don't feel comfortable picking him to cover for two straight playoff road games. They Chargers may have come together this season, but there were still plenty of ugly road games scattered among the victories. On the flip side, the Patriots offensive line will have to keep the pressure off of Brady, which they've managed to do all season. I think you'll see something similar to the Jaguars game from last week... it'll be close to start, but the Patriots will pull away as they start to find the holes in the Chargers' defense. Then a turnover or two at the end will make it seems the Patriots dominated more than they really did.

New York Giants (+7) at Green Bay - The game in Green Bay last week looked like two different games. The footage they showed from the opening kickoff compared to the footage from the 4th quarter reminded everybody how quickly the weather can change, and how easily it can affect a game. The Seahawks were not prepared for that matchup, as their running back has become a shell of his former self, leaving Hasselbeck to try to carry his team through that snowstorm. It's supposed to be cold yet again, and the wind could play a role, but the Giants are better constructed to compete in those elements than the Seahawks ever were. With their collection of running backs, the Giants should be able to control the game better than Seattle, looking to keep Favre and his assortment of weapons off the field. Of course, when Favre does find the field, I think he'll find plenty of holes in that New York secondary. I'm expecting a competitive, close contest. I still believe the Packers will win, but not by seven. This has a 4-5 point feel to me.

Last Week: 3-1
Playoffs: 5-2-1
Overall: 126-124-14

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