Friday, January 15, 2010

Beware of the Visitors


Not talking the sci-fi series, here, but NFL divisional playoffs. This is always one of the best weekends of football every year...even if it occurs mid-January, instead of mid-December as when I was a young 'un. I really like the visiting teams this weekend for a variety of reasons. I am not saying that they are all going to win, but I certainly wouldn't be surprised if they did.

I will start with the Jets -- even though I think they have the least chance of moving on...they have been on a roll, thanks in part to the Colts and Bengals over the past few weeks. As they say, anytime you can run the ball and play defense, you have a chance...and the Jets do both of these as well as anyone. Plus, they have Mr. Confidence coaching them, Rex Ryan. I love Rex's friendly bravado...wish there were more coaches like him. Not only has he told his team to prepare for a Super Bowl parade...he has them believing in his message. I think that they would have an even better chance if the Chargers had taken off weeks 16, 17 of the season, but the Chargers, unlike the Colts, thought there was too much to lose. Sure, they rested a little at the end of the season, and had this past week off, but the Jets are going to give the team with an eleven game winning streak all they can handle, even though the Chargers will likely win.

Working through the other AFC game, the Ravens are also on a roll after thumping the Patriots at their home last weekend. Like the Jets, the Ravens can run the ball and play good defense. This is important against the team that has Peyton Manning as its QB. You don't want the Colts on the field, and the best way to keep them off of it is to chew up the clock, so they will need to run, run, run Rice and McGahee. The Colts have been knocked out of the playoffs early the past two years by the Chargers. I don't think that resting players is a great idea, and it does not seem to have worked for the Colts, as with too much time off, they get rusty. In addition...Peyton, as great of a regular season QB that he has been, just has not been very good in the playoffs. The one exception is the one year that they won the Super Bowl, and he was really just marginal that year, as well. So, I will take the Ravens, here.

The Cardinals got a huge game from Kurt Warner last week against the Packers, one of the great playoff QBs of this generation. He just knows how to win, having taken the Cards to the Super Bowl last year. Remember, this was the team that no one gave a prayer to winning even one playoff game last year. In fact, the Cardinals had not done anything significant in their history until last year. The Saints ended the year in a slump, having lost three in a row. The two week break may have done more them to get banged up players healthy than any other team...and they are a very dangerous team, offensively. The big problem with the Saints was their defense the last half of the year. They lost a couple of key players, and this could be a problem. I believe that this is going to be a high scoring game...and I am going with the experienced QB -- Cardinals to move on.

Last, but certainly not least, the Cowboys come into the playoffs with perhaps the most momentum. They dispatched the once-mighty Eagles twice in the past two weeks. They were finally able to get the monkey off their back...having heard for way too long that they had not won a playoff game in over a dozen years. I am happy for Wade Phillips and Tony Romo who were able to silence many of their critics. This is the most intriguing game of the weekend to me, as the Vikings are going to be tough. Tough is the definition for their future hall of fame QB, Brett Favre. I don't know how one can bet against this guy after the year that he has had...all time bests in a number of categories -- not bad for a fellow who is 40 and doing things that no one else has done playing at his age. Favre has struggled in the playoffs in his career, as well. He is 0 for the playoffs against the Cowboys. I think that he is going to struggle against the Cowboys fearsome pass rush. Likewise, I think that Romo is going to have it tough against the Vikings "D". It will probably come down to who runs the ball better...and I trust the Cowboys trio here more than do A.P. So, we'll see, but I am taking the Cowboys. Happy watching. Blessings,



Addendum -
Hahahahahahahahahahahaha...nevermind this post. What kind of dingbat would go with the visitors? :-) The Jets will probably win just to spite me, so I would be 0-4...consistency is a good thing...

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