Monday, January 15, 2007

PRIDE (IN THE NAME OF LOVE)

Yes, I feel like I am the only one working on MLK day (one of the very few and far between on the train in this morning), and, as such, have only a brief outline of observations from the Pats game yesterday. I will follow-up later, but here is what I can scratch out on the ride into the city and post at lunch time.

The defense stepped-up BIG TIME: Forget the numbers. Forget how LaDaniain Tomlinson ran for almost 125 yards. Forget everything except for the fact that San Diego had a short field for a majority of their possessions. San Diego had a HUGE advantage as far as field position throughout the game. Beyond that, after the Patriots tied the game at 21, what was glossed over in the news and media was the stop by the defense. The Patriots defense had to be exhausted, both mentally and physically. After Tomlinson ripped off five yards on first down, it looked to me like another long, clock-consuming drive was about to take place. Then, for whatever reason, the Chargers had Philip Rivers dropping back and throwing to his horrible receivers. The much-maligned Patriots secondary stepped-up and as the D-Line got some push up front, the D-backs kept the passes on the ground and gave Brady his chance to drive to victory.

Who has receiver issues?: Jabar Gaffney: 10 receptions for 103 yards and a TD. Previous week: 8 receptions for 104 yards. Reche Caldwell: 7 receptions for 80 yards and a TD (including the play of the game). Funny, it looks like the Patriots have two legitimate receivers plus Troy Brown as the third-down specialist here in the playoffs. Factor in the ever-dangerous Ben Watson at tight-end and the resurgent Dan Graham (two great 19 yard receptions down the seam against San Diego) and the Patriots look almost dangerous. As far as the Chargers, who would believe they would miss Reche Caldwell so much? Their receivers seemed afraid of a hit every time they went for a pass and really only had one significant completion. There were numerous drops, as if they were looking to get jacked-up by a defensive back or inside linebacker dropping into coverage. Nothing was said about the Chargers sad-sack receivers, although in retrospect, I guess the less said about them the better for Chargers fans. The Chargers should be putting their package together to trade-up and draft Ted Ginn Jr.

LaDanian Tomlinson showed his true class: What was he doing out there whining and crying about being disrespected? The Patriots did the Merriman Dance on the logo? Boo-freaking-hoo. If you do not like teams celebrating on your home turf, win the damned game! The Patriots have had teams celebrate at Mach3 Park more times than I want to think of, and on no occasion do I recall them ever getting into a little hissy fit. Tomlinson should be taking his anger out at his offensive coordinator who, with a tie game and plenty of time on the clock, handed it to him once before putting the ball in the hands of Philip Rivers.

Bring me the head of Peyton Manning: Patriots vs Colts. This is getting to be like the Red Sox and Yankees here, meeting-up with the championship on the line every year. Trading blows and momentum every other year, one team getting the upper-hand, the other adapting, then re-adjusting, re-adapting. It is going to be a hell of a game Sunday night!

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Picks Recap (Wild Card Round) & Picks (Divisional Round)

OH LET THE SUN BEAT DOWN UPON MY FACE/ WITH STARS THAT FILL MY DREAMS / I AM A TRAVELER OF BOTH TIME AND SPACE / TO BE WHERE I HAVE BEEN / SECRET ELDERS OF A GENTLE RACE / A WORLD THAT IS SELDOM SEEN/ THEY TALK OF DAYS FOR WHICH THEY SIT AND WAIT / WHERE ALL WILL BE REVEALED (Kashmir)

#1
MY PICK: Colts 51 Chiefs 49: Adam Vinatieri hits a 49 yard field goal with one tick left on the clock to propel the Colts into a match-up with San Diego. Tony Gonzalez has four touchdown receptions in the loss.

RESULT: Dead-on. Other than the fact that Herm Edwards, quite possibly the worst NFL coach EVER, kept running into a front with nine men in the box. Huh??? Pass the damned ball!

1-0 in the second season already!

#2
MY PICK: Cowboys 26 Seahawks 20 (2 OT): Drew Bledsoe comes off the bench in the second overtime to toss a touchdown to Terry Glenn.

RESULT: http://www.tonyhomo.com Suffice to say, Drew still has the Romo Blackberry.

1-1, through absolutely no fault of my own!.

#3:
MY PICK: Patriots 24 Jets 17

RESULT: Just call me dead-eye dick. This was what the final score should have been until things got out of control.

2-1.

#4:
MY PICK: Eagles 38 Giants 17: Jeremy Shockey knocks Eli Manning out of the game on the sideline in the third quarter with a haymaker after Manning overthrows Shockey for his third interception of the game.

RESULT: Dead-eye Dick Indeed. Much closer than it should have been, which is more a tribute to Tiki Barber than anyone else on the Giants.

3-1 (should have been 4-0 if not for Sticky Fingers Homo. Leave it to the Cowboys to screw my perfect playoff record).

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My Picks:

#1
Indianapolis 17 at Baltimore 27:

Ahh, pity poor little Peyton Manning: Yet another early exit from the playoffs. At least now he has time to film endless commercials instead of offering to rework his contract to defer some money so the team can get a linebacker with pulse. Nope, Peyton before team as always. Baltimore has the defense to match-up with Peyton. Fortunately for the San Diego-New England winner, Baltimore will bring Air McNair and for some deliciously maddening reason, Jamal Lewis instead of Mike Anderson, to the Championship Game, greatly enhancing the prospect of a loss against a team that can actually play defense.

#2
Philadelphia 16 at New Orleans 37:

Bum Phillips would be proud. The Saints are Marching In. Too much Deuce, Drew, and Reggie for the Philly D to handle. Watch for when Will Smith gets jiggy with it after he makes Jeff Garcia into a pancake.

#3
Seattle 10 at Chicago 13:

I thought the Supersonics would hold off the Bulls, but on the road? No chance. Wait, this is a football game? Seahawks versus the Bears? Sure, everyone picked this as the NFC Championship Game after week 8, but no one expected Seattle to roll over and play dead like they did all season. Hmmm, two inconsistent QBs. One is bald and his sister-in-law is on the View. The other has a kingly first name and a last name fitting for his play of late. Ahh, the defense takes it. My bold prediction: Deion Break the Bank Branch has all of 2 receptions for less than 25 yards for the day: EARNING THAT BIG PAYDAY! (He is a money player, right?)

#4
New England 34 at San Diego 24:

Do you believe in MartyBall? I most certainly do not. Do I believe in Belichick and Brady and Seymour and Vrabel? Yes, yes I do. Pride takes a fall in San Diego Sunday afternoon as guts beats glory for the umpteenth time.

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