Dave's Sports Views

Analysis, humor and opinion on the sports world

Location: Dallas, Texas, United States

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Wild Card picks

It's hard to believe we've reached the end of another NFL season, and a wild one it was. This looks like one of the weakest playoff fields in years, particularly in the NFC. But someone has to win, so let's start the picks.

Kansas City at Indianapolis -- The NFL's worst rush defense faces a superior runner in Larry Johnson, a nightmare matchup for a team that's trying to shed its label as a playoff underachiever. Despite the hand-wringing that must be going on in Indy, sometimes it takes low expectations to get a team to relax and play its game (see: Pittsburgh, 2006). The Colts are at home, and there's clearly nothing wrong with their offense, which is potent with both the run and pass. Trent Green hasn't been the same quarterback since coming back from his nasty concussion. Colts 34, Chiefs 17

Dallas at Seattle -- Bill Parcells looks and sounds like a man who's just waiting for the season to end, but he might have to wait another week. Despite how wretched the Cowboys have looked in the past four weeks, particularly on defense, they face a Seattle team with a depleted secondary. And Tony Romo isn't the kind of quarterback who you can expect to beat with just a pass rush. He's mobile and creative, and he has great targets in Terry Glenn, Jason Witten, and that other guy who tries so hard to stay out of the spotlight, I'm going to respect his wishes by keeping his name off my blog (but if you scroll down to the next post you might get a hint). While Seattle has a reputation of being tough at home, they lost at home in this round to St. Louis two years ago, and they were just 5-3 at Qwest Field this year. Dallas was in synch as recently as four weeks ago, while Seattle hasn't really put it all together yet this year. Cowboys 27, Seahawks 24

New York at New England -- The dream coaching matchup of the playoffs, with the mentor and playoff master Bill Belichick facing protege and this year's regular season wunderkind Eric Mangini. Wesleyan University might never get this kind of mainstream press again. God bless Mangini for getting 10 wins out of a Jets team that people wrote off even before the year began. (Memo to those tabbing Sean Payton as Coach of the Year: Mangini didn't import the likes of Drew Brees and Reggie Bush to upgrade his team, and that's no disrespect meant to Payton) You have to like experience here. The Jets will fight and keep it close, but as long as Tom Brady's wearing a helmet and Belichick a hoodie, their team gets the edge. Patriots 13, Jets 10

New York at Philadelphia -- Like the Cowboys, the Giants have the opportunity to forget the past month and focus anew on the playoffs by going on the road. But this matchup isn't nearly as favorable to them as what the Cowboys face. There's always the chance that Jeff Garcia's miracle ride will come to an abrupt end, but he's not being asked to do all that much to help the Eagles win. The offensive line has become one of the two or three best in football. Brian Westbrook is, if not a classic runner, a fearsome threat out of the backfield. And the defense has come on strong and has the potential to make a game-changing play at any time. Meanwhile, the Giants aren't even in this discussion unless Tiki Barber has a monster game against Washington. But this pick isn't about what the Giants aren't; it's about what the Eagles are. Right now, they're playing like the NFC's most complete team. Eagles 24, Giants 10


Anonymous Capital One Witness said...

Good to see the blog back, hopefully on a regular basis. I agree with all your picks except I'll take Seattle at home over the Cowboys. I actually picked Dallas at the beginning of the year to play Indy in the Super Bowl, and, until the last few weeks, thought I might end up being right about the Cowboys, at least (though who could've predicted Romo's splash). But I think the Walrus at home will find a way to get his team to the next round, just for old time's sake. The Cowboys at this point just seem too weird to do much of anything. But if you compare the respective personnel position by position, yeah, I certainly understand picking the Cowboys. I just think they'll find a way to blow this one, too. And it's still Romo's first playoff game, and on the road, and against a playoff-experienced team. That's usually not a good combination.

I expect the Patriots to win by double digits. Something's going on between Belichick and Mangini, and it's payback time. Plus the Patriots just have better players, and this time, they'll be ready. Mangini's coaching this year has been terrific, though, that's for sure.

It's hard not to like the Eagles to end up in the Super Bowl (and even harder to imagine them winning it). I wouldn't say that if Tommie Harris hadn't gotten hurt. The Bears just don't seem good enough without him. -- J.P.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Dave Jackson said...

Good picks, Capital One Witness -- though Seattle was lucky to survive and the Jets game was close for 3 1/2 quarters. Nice going!


3:11 PM  

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