19 January 2007

Weekly NFL Related Humiliation (Playoffs!!! Conference Championships)

It's the big time now. Four teams, two advance, two wonder what might have been. In some ways it's hard to pick for or against any of the four teams left. New Orleans have the best story, but the worst secondary. Chicago were tough early, struggled late, and barely beat a so-so Seattle team last week. Indianapolis suddenly has the best defense in the playoffs, but have struggled on offense (go figure). And then there's New England, I still don't believe they've won three Superbowls recently, there's no there there as far as I'm concerned, but then you look at the record of Brady and Belichick in big games, and you get scared for the Colts, even if they are at home.

Since there's only two games, I'll open myself up for extra humiliation and pick the over/under as well as the winner versus the spread.

New Orleans at Chicago (-2.0) o/u 43 Chicago -2.0, under 43
This will be a methodical dismantling of the Saints. New Orleans is 'America's Team' for the moment, but Chicago gets them at home in sub-40 degree weather. It's hard to believe that Chicago would lose this game at home, and the New Orleans secondary has been beaten deep too often to have confidence in their ability to cause trouble for Grossman. He had a much improved game last week, and ought to remain confident enough to put enough points on the board early to leave it to his defense to hold on against the Saints' formidable offensive attack. I'd be happy to be wrong about Chicago winning this game, but I think the feel good story that is New Orleans ends on Sunday in a 24-10 game. Each ESPN 'expert' picked New Orleans, so that cinches it, it'll be Chicago for sure.

New England at Indianapolis (-3.0) o/u 48 Indianapolis -3.0, over 48
Peyton Manning hasn't played well yet in the playoffs, but Brady hasn't been all that great either. Both teams have beat good teams to get this far, and both teams have weaknesses that the other team can take advantage of. I would imagine that the Colts are hungrier for this trip to the Superbowl than the Pats, and Peyton has to prove that he's not only the best QB statistically of his generation, but that he can rise to the challenge in a big game (which so far, he's proven the opposite). New England has had a way of winning games that they should have lost this decade, but this week the magic runs out. I expect a high score from both teams, but with the home team prevailing in a 45-34 battle (poor Adam Vinatieri won't get to beat his old team in the closing seconds).


Icepick said...

Indianapolis suddenly has the best defense in the playoffs....

No they don't. They played well againt KC when KC used the most inept play calling imaginable, and the Baltimore offense last week was offensive. (A friend of mine was at the game in Baltimore. Apparently the offense was much worse than it appeared on TV or the box score.) NE and NO probably have the best defensive units, even if both are week in the secondary. Chicago has just been beat up by injuries, but I would still take their defense over Indy's.

In the NE-Indy match up look for NE to go for the big plays and the big knock out early. Belicheck (whom I hate with a passion) is a master game planner and a master of game psycology. Get the Colts down early, force them to play catch-up ball in the face of relentless blitzing, and watch them curl up into the fetal position. Of course, if Indy can stop that from happening early, it's a different story altogether. But I'm looking for NE to take early deep shots, and maybe even run a couple of trick plays. (Watch for the hook and ladder!)

Looking at the teams that are left, I really think NO is the best of the bunch. But I've had this feeling all week that Chicago was going to win. Other than having the home field advantage, I have no reason for that at all. Well, the home field, and NO in the Super Bowl is just plain wrong. The only thing more ridiculous would be Arizona in the Super Bowl.

Also, I give you credit for having the nerve to hang your predictions out here every week. That is truly begging for humiliation, but you've done it with your usual aplomb.

Icepick said...

Oops. I forgot to pick a winner in the NE-Indy game. I'm holding my nose and rooting for Indy today, but I'm picking NE to win. So I've got NE and Chicago.

So far I'm only 50% in the playoffs (3-1 the first weekend, having stupidly picked KC) and 1-3 last week-end (having shown only the smallest glimmer of intelligence in picking Chicago). I'd tell you how I did against the spread, except I never pay attention to that stuff. I don't care about sports betting, so it's all about wins and losses for me.

So, to recap: I'm 50% in the playoffs, and I've picked the wrong choice for both Indy and NE both weeks. This all points to a Chicago vs NE Super Bowl.