Friday, January 8, 2010

Degenerate Friday - Wildcard Weekend!!

Congrats to Alabama on their national championship. I was all set to run another picture or five of Colt McCoy’s girlfriend, but instead you’ll have to deal with a picture of the Alabama elephant. Can anyone explain to me why “Crimson Tide” is equated to an elephant? I mean, the school is in the south, and based on a random sampling of SEC girls (google Florida Gator girls or Tennessee Vols girls, etc.) their fans are nowhere near elephants. Pretty sure the injury to McCoy just adds more questions about his pro potential. Yes, he’s won more games at QB than anyone in history, but what does that mean? Second on that list is David Greene from Georgia and he’s now playing quarterback for……..exactly. I think he’ll be lucky to be drafted in the third round because he reminds too many people of Chris Simms or Major Applewhite. And to the credit of freshman Garrett Gilbert, he settled down and brought the Longhorns back into the game, but was still owned by the Alabama defense when it mattered the most. Mark Ingram is now the 4th guy to win the Heisman and the national championship on an undefeated team, joining Charles Woodson (foreshadowing for later), Tony Dorsett and Matt Leinart.

Using the momentum of calling the national championship game correctly, let’s dig right into the matchups this wildcard weekend for the NFL. No, it doesn’t feel cheap to cash that Bama ticket after the McCoy injury. Tila Tequila should feel cheap for posing for photos a few days after her fiance dies. Gambling winning should never feel cheap – cash that ticket!! I’m feeling good and expecting to go unbeaten throughtout the playoffs. Following last weekend’s 9-0 mark in the early games, why not shoot for the perfect 11-0 record in the playoffs?

BENGALS (-2.5) over Jets

Two trains of thought here: (1) A rookie QB on the road and (2) everyone has bought into the Jets as the click to pick. Even as I type this, I’m losing my conviction in the pick, but I will not waffle. The Bengals are playing horrible, but the teams have almost equally strong run games and strong defenses. The Jets have the top rushing attack, but the Bengals are 9th in the league in rushing. The Jets are 31st in passing and the Bengals are 26th. The difference is that Carson Palmer is capable of making a big play if needed, and he has the receivers in Ochocinco and Coles that will not drop the ball (that’s a shot at you Braylen Edwards). I expect Mark Sanchez tobe as stable as Mariah Carey accepting an acting award when he’s playing on the road in cold, snowy and windy conditions with the Cincy crowd pumped up to try and help the Bengals win their first playoff game in 20 years. I’m also a strong believer that when all of the media and public jumps on one team, go the other way. The Jets ARE built for the playoffs with a great running game and great defense. But like I just said, those are also the strengths of the Bengals.

Eagles (+4) over COWBOYS

Andy Reid is 7-0 in opening round playoff games. Wade Phillips is 0-4 in the playoffs. Romo has never won in the playoffs. There are just too many trends here to ignore. I still do not understand why the Eagles decided not to blitz last weekend, but you can bet they will be bringing as much pressure as The Situation at closing time in the Jersey Shore clubs. The Cowboys still have to overcome the pressure of winning a playoff game (like you haven’t heard a million times they haven’t won a playoff game since 1996), and if the Eagles get an early lead, expect the crowd in Jerry’s Palace to also feel that pressure.

PATRIOTS (-3) over Ravens
Losing Wes Welker will haunt the Patriots in the later rounds against the Chargers or Colts. It will not haunt them as much against the Ravens as Julian Edelmann is a “Mini Me” version of Welker. Ravens supporters will point to the game earlier this season in Foxboro when there were a handful of questionable calls and a dropped pass from Mark Clayton that kept Baltimore from walking out with a victory. However, Brady was not fully healthy and his accuracy was suffering and the Ravens secondary was not in as bad of shape as it is now with a hobbled Ed Reed. Also add in the Patriots are 8-0 at home this year, and 8-0 in the playoffs at home under Belichick/Brady. And the Ravens needed to beat the Lions, Bears and Raiders late in the year just to get to 9-7. That’s enough for me to lay the points with the Pats.

Packers (+1) over CARDINALS
The Cardinals do not match up well with the Packers. They played in the 3rd preseason game (the one where starters play at least until halftime) and the Packers exploded for a 38-10 halftime lead. Then last week, given the Cardinals resting players early, the Packers exploded for a 33-0 lead. The attacking Packers defense can give Warner fits, and having the defensive player of the year in Charles Woodson to shadow Larry Fitzgerald tips the scales even further. Side note: Darrell Revis is a great shut-down corner, but he IS NOT the Defensive Player of the Year. Woodson is a complete player that tackles, covers, blitzes, intercepts and returns INTS to the house. Revis does not do that….yet. Back to the game…..Rodgers will be able to continue to hit big plays on the Cardinals secondary, especially with a banged up Rogers-Cromartie. I want to find a way to temper my expectations for Green Bay in this game and the only thing I can think of is that it is Rodgers first playoff game and the Cardinals have experience and “streak-ability” on their side. That won’t be enough for the Cards and to quote Jay-Z….”It’s on to the next one” for the Packers.

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