Thursday, January 6, 2011

NFL Weekend Preview: Wild Card Weekend

Okay, so here is the gimmick for the Wildcard Weekend preview, I’m taking each game this weekend and aligning it with a movie that is currently in theaters to give it an odd yet appropriate connection to how I feel about each game.

--Game 1--

Saints at Seahawks – Little Fockers - The movie that I would least like to see in theaters meets the team that has the least business in the playoffs. (Seriously, why did the world need another Meet the Parents movie?) The Seahawks have to be the worst team to ever make the playoffs. It’s not just that they are 7-9, and no team in NFL history has previously ever made the post season with a losing record, it’s also the way they lost. They lost 9 times, not one loss by fewer than 15 points. They lost by an average of 21 points per game. They were outscored by 97 points on the season; their point scoring plus/minus was fifth worst in the league behind only Denver, Buffalo, Arizona, and Carolina.

Seattle’s record is four games worse than the Saints, and yet they still get to host to this game thanks to a goofy system that is having a major flaw exposed by this weekend’s game. Seattle really shouldn’t be hosting a playoff game, but the good news is, they won't be here long. Although how great would it be if this putrid team went on a big run? The media hand-wringing that would accompany a Seahawk Super Bowl would almost be worth it.

As for the Saints, they are kind of lurking. They are the 5 seed in the NFC, and although are beset by a few big injuries at running back with Chris Ivory and Pierre Thomas, I still have a feeling that they can make a run...even if the running game will be led by the likes of Reggie Bush, DeShawn Wynn and Julius Jones, they should easily be able to take down a team that has no business being in the playoffs when they travel to Seattle on Saturday. Saints 29 Seahawks 10

--Game 2--

Jets at Colts - Yogi Bear 3D – This is by far my weakest movie connection, but sadly “My Left Foot” hasn’t been in theaters for years. This would make Rex Ryan be Yogi Bear (Although the thought of Rex Ryan in 3D legitimately scares me), and Jets fans get to be Boo Boo. No real reason behind that, other than Jets fans annoy me, and they tend to say Boo a lot already, so it seems a natural fit. Plus, Rex strikes me as a guy who would gladly steal your pic-i-nic basket. Not sure how Peyton Manning and company fit into the equation, but I’m pretty sure that the Colts’ picnic basket is safe. I saw both of these teams in person this year, and the Colts are a competent bunch led by a quarterback that even when he is struggling is widely regarded as an all-time great. Indy got things back on track in the later half of December, and I feel like they could be poised for a run.

Meanwhile my biggest impression after watching the Jets sneak out of a Denver with a win was that they were going nowhere in the postseason. I’m not sure I could believe any less in this Jets team. Mark Sanchez can make amazing throws, but he’s just as likely to make a ridiculous and stupid throw, and I don’t feel like the Jets coaches trust him. The defense is not nearly as stout as was expected, and I just find it hard to believe in New York. The Jets jumped out in front of the Colts last year in the AFC Championship game before eventually falling to a superior team, and I think that happens again. Also, I don’t want to live in a world where a successful NFL coach gets turned on by feet. So for those reasons…I’m taking the Colts. I just think they are better. Colts 27 Jets 10

--Game 3--

Ravens at Chiefs – True Grit – I picked True Grit for this game because it’s being played in a Western setting. (Missouri is Western, right?) and because I’m guessing the style of play will be much more gritty than beautiful.

I have been saying the Chiefs are no good all year long. I still believe it. The Chiefs are a fake team. Matt Cassel led the 30th ranked passing offense this year. I saw him put up one of the biggest passing days of the fantasy season in person, but it was due to the fact that he was impossibly far behind and the Broncos were playing softer than the French resisting an invading Army that day. I think Cassel is a bum, and on top of that, he is a bum who just lost an appendix. I don’t see him having a good day. Jamal Charles is a good back, but the Chiefs offense is rather one dimensional. (1st overall in running, 30th in passing) and you need to be able to pass against the Ravens to beat them, as Baltimore is 5th in the league against the run. This is my pick for the worst game of the weekend, as while the Ravens are good at winning; their style is quite often brutally dull, and the Chiefs play in much a similar fashion.

If anything scares me about picking the Ravens, it is that Joe Flacco has never impressed me. If somehow Baltimore finds themselves in a situation where he needs to win the game for them, I feel like that may prove difficult for them. I don’t foresee that happening, as I think the Chiefs will come out with a lot of energy to open the game in front of their rabid fan base that hasn’t enjoyed a home playoff game in 7 years, and promptly get shut up by a team that will stifle them and slowly choke the hope out of a bunch of disappointed people in red. Ravens 16 Chiefs 3

--Game 4--
Packers at Eagles – Tron Legacy – This movie should be a lot like the new Tron: I foresee a lot of fireworks and CGI and amazing looking football, but I don’t think either team has enough substance behind them to make a legit run. From everything I’ve heard about Tron it is eye candy and fun to watch, but I find it hard to envision a scenario in which come Oscar season we will be hearing much from it. This game has potential to be tremendously exciting and fun to watch, and no matter who wins, I will be rooting for that team to win it all, but I have a sneaking suspicion that neither will have enough to be standing in the portion of the NFL season that matters the most.

Mike Vick has been showing signs of running out of gas, but I’m hoping that he is able to return to the pinball of a football player that he was in midseason when people were legitimately thinking he had a shot at NFL MVP. Between Vick, and the always fun Desean Jackson, I am a fan of this Philly team. I know a lot of people find Jackson’s antics to be boorish and amateur, but I find him doing the Nestea plunge into the end zone to be fun and refreshing. I dig his brashness, and I am firmly on board with the Eagles and should they beat the Pack, I’ll be all in with Philly for the remainder of their run.

However, I’ll be cheering for the Packers in this one. I made my pilgrimage to Lambeau a few years ago, and I enjoyed everything about the experience. The fans in Wisconsin could not have been nicer, and ever since then I have had a soft spot in my heart for Green Bay. They barely found a way into the playoffs, having to rally from behind in the final game of the year to get it, but I’m hoping for the best for all the Cheeseheads.

I have no clue how to pick this game. This is the one game of the weekend in which I have zero feelings one way or the other about. So, when in doubt, go with the home team. So, in a game that I am guessing will be the most entertaining of the opening weekend of the postseason, I’ll take the Iggles in a squeaker. Hopefully this one goes to overtime, and we get to see the weird new postseason playoff rules in effect. Eagles 34 Packers 31

Week 17: 9-7

Regular Season: 161-95

No comments: