I absolutely love the NFL playoffs. I love that playoff games suck up my entire weekend. I love that they come when I'm on break from teaching. I love that every game is televised. I love that no games are played at the same time. I love that every game matters. I love that I only feel slightly guilty for pissing some good days away on my couch imbibing caffeine. I love watching impact defensive players that I don't get to watch much during the regular season. It's a wonderful time of year, so we'll do something we don't usually do at PV: a preview with predictions.
But before we get to the previews, I need to address something for which there is much internal wrangling: Brett Favre crying on national television. Do I hate Favre enough to call him some sort of misogynistic name and lambast him for tearing up? Or do I admire him for expressing his pure honest emotions, and talk about how it's OK for men to cry? I don't know. I'm disappointed that was one of my last images of 2006; let's hope 2007 can be Favre-free for me. Favre is, after all, 6 TD passes short of Marino's record. I'm ecstatic that he didn't break it this year. He's also 4 INTs short of Blanda's record, but I can live with him at #2 for that one if he's #2 for Marino's record. Anyway, I won't make fun of him for crying.
A Bit More Humid chimed in that Favre was crying because his teeth hurt. Congratulations, you just made the blog, I responded. Another person deserving of mention in the blog is Possible Flurries, who last week coined the phrase, "squirt it and desert it."
On to the preview for Wild Card Weekend.
Chiefs at Colts
First, before thinking of taking Larry Johnson in your 2007 fantasy draft, read up Football Outsiders commentary on RBs with 370 carries. Then you have to ask yourself, does Vegan Viking really believe this, or is he trying to fake out his competitors to get Johnson cheaper? Yes, it begins. But yes, I actually believe this, too. The evidence is there.
We can guess, going into this game against Peyton Manning and the Colts, that Herm Edwards will continue to destroy Larry Johnson's legs in an attempt to control the time of possession and keep the ball away from Manning. Teams have been doing it all year. And after all, the Colts have a legendarily bad run defense. It just might work. The Colts also struggle against special teams returns, so Dante Hall could go bananas too.
But I don't think it will. Don't expect a blowout here--the Chiefs can keep it close. But nobody on the Chief's defense scares me. Manning should be able to make good use of every single possession. An upset shouldn't be shocking, but I think the Colts will win by something like 27-24.
Cowboys at Seahawks
A complete tossup. In the regular season, both teams showed the ability to beat good teams and lose to lousy teams. Neither team has looked terribly impressive in the last few weeks. Both coaches have a lot of playoff experience and success. Both teams have impact defensive players capable of forcing turnovers. Both teams have playmaking RBs and WRs that can make big plays at any moment.
So, at the risk of being a simplistic boob, let's try it this way: Tony Romo on the road vs. Matt Hasselbeck at home. How about Seattle 26, Dallas 17.
Jets at Patriots
The best playoff games are on Saturday; Sunday features division rivals who split the regular season matchup. Not terribly exciting stuff. In this game, I'll pick the Patriots 30-13. The Jets marched into the playoffs by beating the 6-10 Vikes, 6-10 Dolphins, and 2-14 Raiders. I think they're set up to get butchered by the Patsies.
Giants at Eagles
I haven't picked a road team yet; here, I'll take the Giants, 27-17. I remember the 2004 playoffs (played during 2005) when the 8-8 Vikes went into Lambeau and pelted the Packers (in my top-5 football fan games) and the 8-8 Rams went and beat the Seahawks in Seattle. Divisional rematches are unpredictable--I don't think regular season records matter, and I don't think location matters. I think the Giants rely on Tiki Barber primarily, and the Jeff Garcia love train ends this weekend. Coming soon, the Vikings sign Jeff Garcia and I give up gin, for which I've built up a strong tolerance, and begin imbibing rum.