I'd like to avoid the misnomer that I'm somehow abandoning the roots of this Blog and suddenly writing about other things, however considering that my weekend involves me sitting in front of a television (and off of a sprained ankle) and watching Football, and considering the little noise, or little meaningful noise coming from the Mets, it's more at the forefront of my mind at the current time.
(Yes, I know, I heard that the Mets were once again "frontrunners" in the Johan sweepstakes. But watching this unfold is like watching NASCAR. They're just driving around in circles.)
It had been my intent to pick all the Playoff games in the NFL. However, after finally recovering from writing the "20 Days in October" series, I was a little burnt out. This is a more acceptable way of saying that I forgot to pick the games last weekend. I suppose I could say I picked the Giants, Seattle, Jacksonville and San Diego, but what to I have to back that up, so let's just say that in the NY Times Predictify contest, I was 4 for 4 last weekend.
But the Divisional Round is probably my favorite Football weekend of the year, because it's the weekend that usually produces the best games. It happens year after year, and you can certainly guarantee yourself one Epic game, and one upset. Then, there's what I like to call the "Weird Game," the game where something strange happens. Usually, this game is the 4:30pm Sunday game, the last game of the weekend. It's usually in some odd setting, featuring two teams that play each other often, and there's generally some sort of weird final score, or play (take the famous 4th & 26 in the Green Bay/Philly game of 2003), the game is usually decided in the final moments, and the game itself generally goes completely opposite of what everyone thinks will happen (see: New England at San Diego, 2006, Indianapolis at New England, 2004, Green Bay at St. Louis, 2001).
This year, that game is going to be the Giants at the Dallas Cowboys. Of course, it's Sunday, at 4:30. It's their 3rd meeting this year, 92nd overall, and first time in the Playoffs. Dallas is expected to dominate, with their playboy QB, their loudmouthed WR, and their stadium with the hole in the roof. The Giants come in off a Significant Victory in Tampa last week, now 8-1 on the road, and with what appears to be a large chip on their shoulder. Yes, Eli Manning has proven inconsistent to the degree that I think he's taking Glendon Rusch lessons. Yes, Plaxico Burress is hurting (although unlike me, he plays through his sprained ankle). Yes, the Giants appear understaffed on Offense. In reality, all signs point to a blowout for Dallas.
That's why I think the Giants will win, and in a relatively low-scoring game, 24-20. I think Eli's going to get the job done late and lead the Giants to a Touchdown in the final minutes.
Elsewhere, I'm going with the following:
Green Bay over Seattle: Seattle just isn't very good. They won a weak division (and picked off San Francisco twice), and looked miserable in the Washington game last week. Favre and the Packers have the Mojo this season. It might be close, but Green Bay wins, 26-20.
New England over Jacksonville: I'll try not to sound too much like Bill Simmons, but he's right. Jacksonville's Defense just doesn't have the means to contain Brady, Moss, Welker and Stallworth over a full game. On the other side, David Garrard is a nice little Quarterback. He's a great game manager who won't make mistakes that will kill his team. That's a nice way of saying that he leads a marginal offense against a juggernaut. This is the great Prime Time Game, and my guess is that you can probably go to sleep early on this one. Patriots 38-14.
Indianapolis over San Diego: I'd like to think that this game would be a wild shootout, but something tells me that the Chargers won't be able to keep pace. I think it'll be one of those games where the game is close for about 3 Quarters, but then Indy will pull away, and the Final Score will look like a throttling. Colts 45-28.
Enjoy the games, folks!