Friday, January 15, 2010

Degenerate Friday!! Divisional Playoffs

First, let me say thanks to Jimmy Traina of Sports Illustrated for linking to yesterday’s story on NFL Theme Songs in his AM Hot Clicks which drove a tremendous amount of traffic to the site. Let’s keep the momentum going and don’t forget to sign up on the facebook fan page, become a follower of the site (on the lower right hand side of this page) or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Speaking of songs, yesterday I’m waiting in the subway station and there is an old Mexican man playing the guitar and wailing about some woman that left him. After that lovely song ends, he breaks out into a pretty good rendition of “Happy Birthday” - which kind of sounded like a mash up of "Happy Birthday" and "LaBamba". Only he’s singing happy birthday……to himself. He belts out “Happy Birthday to Meeeeeee! It’s Saturday. Saturday – I’m 77.” Then finishes the song and lets everyone know that his mother died in 1977 and he’s turning 77 years old on Saturday. I’m not sure how any of that is connected, or even why this story is relevant. It just seemed comical that he was singing happy birthday to himself.

Now that the public service announcement and story hour are over, let’s get to it. This is a huge weekend with good matchups in the NFL Divisional playoffs. After being wrong in all four games during the wildcard weekend, it’s time to double it up in the divisional round and make some money……..ummmm, if gambling were legal. Each game needs a title, so they’re given one of the movies that won Best Picture during the past decade.

Standard disclosures: picks are for recreational purposes only, spreads from the NY Post, home teams in caps, etc.

The Departed (2006 Winner)
Cardinals (+7) over SAINTS
This game has an all-star cast of offense, from Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald and Beanie Wells to Drew Brees, Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey. The over/under is at 57, so Vegas expects another shoot out, which is pretty much what most of The Departed turned into. The difference between the movie and this game is at the end of the game, the old man in charge won’t end up dead. I see Kurt Warner being able to carve up the Saints secondary and the Cardinals playoff experience comes into play as they are not bothered playing in the loud Superdome. History says two road teams win during the divisional round, and here’s one of them. If the Vikings win, this would set up a geezer show down in the NFC Championship. And mark it down, this is the first time I've mentioned Kurt Warner without making fun of his wife for looking like Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics and then getting a make over to more resemble a woman....or Rod Steward. Dammit, I guess my streak continues.

A Beautiful Mind (2001 Winner)
COLTS (-6.5) over Ravens
This just refers to Peyton Manning’s intelligence and ability to make adjustments. Although it could also compare the tempers of Ray Lewis and Russell Crowe – keep knives away from Ray-Ray and cell phones away from Russell. Baltimore will be trying to slow the game down with their running game, playing keep away from the Colts offense, yet Manning proved against the Dolphins, he doesn’t need the ball very often to be dangerous. The biggest problem the Ravens will face is that they do not have a cornerback who can run with Reggie Wayne, which could provide him with a few opportunities for deep passes. I’m a little nervous about laying this many points in a game I expect to be close, but I expect the Colts to come out ready to play and ready to put points on the board. If the Ravens need to pass to keep it close, Joe Flacco is not ready on the road.

Million Dollar Baby (2004 Winner)
CHARGERS (-7) over Jets
Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez is the Million Dollar Baby in New York, and well, we all know how the movie ends……spoiler alert……the Million Dollar Baby doesn’t make it. It’s going to be a similar ending for Sanchez in his homecoming to the West Coast. The Jets running game will be able to shorten the game, but they won’t be able to put up enough points to keep up with the Chargers. San Diego invades Revis Island with an army of giant receiving threats, with both WRs and Antonio Gates over 6’5”. That will allow them to go up and over the top of Revis and the other members of the Jets secondary. If the Jets fall behind, they don’t have the ability to score quickly. This is the one game this weekend where I could see it getting out of hand and being over by half time. Side note – they couldn’t have found a better actress to for the part than Hilary Swank – she scares me. I mean, she played a boy in “Boys Don’t Cry” and then she was a female boxer and then shows up at the awards shows trying to look hot. She’d be better off showing up wearing a tux.

No Country For Old Men (2007 Winner)
VIKINGS (-3) over Cowboys
Based on the movie title, it would appear I should be picking against the old man, Brett Favre. The Cowboys come to town as hot as any team in the league and Brett has never beaten the Cowboys in the playoffs (remember his only Super Bowl winning year, Kerry Collins and the Panthers upset the Cowboys). Yet the Vikings play well at home, and will be able to physically beat up the Cowboys – something the Eagles and Saints couldn’t do during the Dallas winning streak. As long as Favre can control his ego and doesn’t try to force the ball down field, Minnesota will outlast the Cowboys. And it also builds up the expectations and the hype even more for when Favre throws 4 interceptions in the NFC Championship and joins Gary Anderson among infamous Vikings playoff failures (Anderson didn’t miss a FG all season and then missed a chippy in the 1998 NFC Champsionship when the Vikings lost to Atlanta).

No comments:

Post a Comment