Meaningless Weekend Predictions

A smarter person would never make predictions on sporting events, I on the other hand…

Game #1:

Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos:

My Prediction – Baltimore: 13 Denver: 28

Predictably I think Denver is the better team, as I’m sure most people with a pulse that watch football do. Nationally, we all got to watch Joe Flacco several times this season, and there was a stretch (specifically in the late Regular Season) where he was incredibly inconsistent. I think a Denver Defense stymies him, and Peyton does what Peyton does. … Here’s a more shocking prediction from me. If Ray Lewis records +13 tackles again this week, I predict he pulls the ole’ Brett Farve and doesn’t retire. If Baltimore can penetrate a tough Broncos line and get a few good shots on Peyton, I wonder how he’ll respond.

 

Game #2:

Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers:

I got Three Variables to this prediction:

If Justin Smith doesn’t play:

Green Bay: 34  San Francisco: 27

If Justin Smith plays less than 20 snaps:

Green Bay: 27  San Francisco: 24

If Justin Smith plays a majority of the game:

Green Bay: 20  San Francisco: 29

Yes I do believe Justin Smith is that good. And a weak Green Bay Offensive Line (ask Giants fans about that O-Line), without Justin Smith playing can spread itself out and focus on Mr. Aldon Smith (Justin’s cousin). I like Green Bay, and the full head of steam they have right now going into the playoffs. If they can survive this one, I think they’ll make it all the way to the Super Bowl.

 

Game #3:

Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons

My Prediction – Seattle: 23  Atlanta: 27

The casual fan might cringe at the matchup, but this is the most intriguing game of the weekend. Atlanta has to win this game. HAS TO WIN THIS GAME. This is their season to win one stinkin’ playoff game. Similar to how Peyton Manning struck out all those years to get a playoff win, Matt Ryan is following in those steps. They had the best regular season of any team in football, and this is the year where they AT BARE MINIUM have to take home one playoff-win (Can I drive that point home a little more?). Seattle has been tremendous all year and if they do win, they will dominate the ground game on offense and keep the ball out of Atlanta’s dynamic offense’s hand. I think it should be expected for Atlanta to load 8 in the box and make Russell Wilson beat them through the air. I think it’ll be close, possibly come down to the last drive. Can go either way. But think Atlanta should be able to scratch this one out.

Game #4:

Houston Texans @ New England Patriots

My Prediction – Houston: 27  New England: 31

I’m the only person I know who thinks this will be close. Yes I understand that New England pulled their pants down and deuced on the early season run the Texans had a month + ago. But to think Houston is going to walk into “The Razor” and not learn from those mistakes, to me, is highly unlikely. There is no denying Houston’s talent at certain positions. They can run, They can pass rush. The game plan for Houston HAS to be to try to control the possession clock. Keep the ball out of Brady’s hands and hope to keep the score low. With that being said, I think it’ll become a second half shoot out, and Brady won’t lose in that. The play I keep thinking about was how close Bengals QB, Andy Dalton was to hitting AJ Green in the end zone in last weeks matchup vs. The Texans to win the game. Tom Brady won’t miss that opportunity. I like the Texans to keep it close for 2 1/2 quarters and then the Patriots to loosen the hinges and kick the door in.

 

So there is my meaningless predictions. Chances are I’ll be 1-3 and make an ass out of myself. Everyone have a safe and enjoyable weekend. I’ll be spending mine in Miami… Poor me.

 

Dear Cardinals, I’m Sorry

Dear Arizona Cardinals,

A few weeks back, azcentral.com posted a countdown of the top 10 moments in Arizona sports history. The week the countdown debuted, the number four moment was your win in this year’s Wild Card Weekend  vs. the Atlanta Falcons. Just two weeks later, now we’re looking at brand new countdown.

To say you guys were long shots to win the NFC Championship would be generous of me. You were a team who played in the worst division in the NFL. You guys all but gave up on a game not four weeks ago during a blizzard in Foxboro, and you were 0-8 when playing in the east coast all regular season long. No chance you guys could ever match up with the NFL’s best.

After a solid win verse the Falcons I still doubted you. Even after you stunned the football world in Carolina, I still thought you guys were serving up a cupcake for the winners of the Eagles and Giants game. And now you guys pull off a unlikely victory against the Eagles and are heading to Super Bowl XLIII.

So basically, I’m writing to you tonight on behalf of myself and the rest of the football world to apologize for the nay-saying and doubts I’ve given you guys all season long. I apologize for consistently thinking Kurt Warner was an old, washed up, and shadow of his former self (Apparently, Jesus is in fact a Kurt Warner fan), who had the benefit of throwing to the best wide receiver in the game, Larry Fitzgerald. I apologize for thinking your defense was soft, and I apologize for thinking your team was a joke when you went to sleep early in Week 16 verse the Patriots.

You guys have proved me wrong.

Once again sorry, and be prepared to once again be the underdogs come this year’s Super Bowl,

Good Luck in Tampa Bay,

Daniel

The Scariest Part of Sunday

We are on the brink of two agonizing weeks of over analysis for Super Bowl XLIII. Two weeks of hearing about Ben Rothlisberger’s favorite pre-game meal, Donovan McNabb’s love of video games, Joe Flacco’s propensity to not leave his house without his lucky coin, and Kurt Warner’s love for chicken tacos in the Tempe area.

In the next 24 hours, we will be facing two suffocating weeks of useless information that’s highlights are Ed Reed’s love for remote control cars, Troy Palumalu’s desire to become an actor, Brian Dawkins ringtone, and Larry Fitzgerald ability to overcome the passing of his pet goldfish when he was 9 years-old.

Get ready for the hype that is the Super Bowl.

Asante’s Astounding as Eagles Advance

Suddenly, a season that felt so right for Giants fans after a 11-1 start, became a season of big disappointment on Sunday afternoon, as the Giants, the NFC one seed, lost to their rivals the Eagles, 23-11.

All season long, my cousin (who’s a huge Giants fan) and I would discuss how we felt as if playing at Giants Stadium would be more of a disadvantage for the Giants, then it was an advantage. Why did we think this? Because Eli Manning’s accuracy and throwing strength wasn’t as strong as some of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. Our discussions at Christmas and Thanksgiving seemed prophetic on Sunday afternoon.

Eli never seemed comfortable throwing and the Giants offense couldn’t seem to find a groove as they sputtered all day long. As Fox analysis referenced to all day long, maybe it was the loss of Plaxico Burress that finally appeared on Sunday. The Eagles kept loading eight in the box, to combat the Giants strong running game, and despite some large chunks of yards by the Giants ground attack, the Eagles’ defense never let them brake the big one. And once the Giants went down two scores, there was no way they were going to suddenly be able to pass their way to a win. Not on this day, and not without a receiver who can make plays with double coverage. You might feel differently about the loss of Plax  contributing to the Giants loss on Sunday, but I guarantee you this. If you are a Giants’ fan, your number one concern to address this offseason will be finding a replacement for Plaxico Burress (Dear Giants, do whatever it takes to acquire Anquan Boldin from the Cardinals).

As for the Eagles, can we start giving some significant love to the type of cornerback Asante Samuel is? This dude, continues to play at a high level in big games, despite trading his Patriots jersey this off-season for Eagles’ green. Similar to the way I wrote about Ed Reed last week, Samuel makes a difference in a position that it’s hard to make a difference. His ability to always be close to a big play and run the ball the other way after a pick, is reminiscent of Deion Sanders. Samuel now has SEVEN post-season interceptions for his career, and it’s hard to imagine any being as big as the two he’s had in consecutive weekends. Last Sunday, Samuel ran back an interception for a 44 yard touchdown, and it helped swing the momentum for the Eagles in an eventual wild card victory over the Vikings. On this Sunday against the Giants, if Samuel doesn’t make that interception and return that ball to the 1 yard-line. It’s hard to see the Eagles punching in a touchdown, the way they were going at that point. The Giants defense played as good a game as they possibly could have. The lone scar for the Giants defense was their inability to lock up the Eagles on third down. But despite that,  they shut down the Eagles offense, and kept the most important player on the Eagles, running back, Brian Westbrook, to limited yards. But Samuel, along with the rest of the Eagles defense, helped punch this teams ticket to Arizona next week. (On a side note, I kept thinking about how close Samuel was to picking off Manning last February in the Super Bowl, and stopping the Giants from winning that game. I guess the football gods were making it up to him by handing him an Eli Manning duck of a pass on Sunday).

Samuel taking it back last weekend (Jim Mone/ AP)

Samuel taking it back last weekend (Jim Mone/ AP)

So had I told you on Thanksgiving Day it was going to be the Eagles and Cardinals one win away from the Super Bowl, you would have flung a spoon full of mashed at me. The Eagles, who were hearing cries for a new coach and a new quarterback, and the Cardinals who couldn’t possibly win a game on the east coast, playing for a Super Bowl apperance?

Yet, here we are just six weeks later.

Next Sunday, the road to Super Bowl runs through Arizona (?). Hahahaha. It’s hard to say that comment without laughing.

Delhomme Helps Push Cardinals Past His Own Team

I have never in my life seen an NFL quarterback play as poorly as Jake Delhomme did on Saturday night vs. the Cardinals. Bottom line.

I saw Eli throw several picks last season in a game verse the Vikings, and I remember Farve passing the ball five times to Rams in his 2001 NFC Championship game, but even those games couldn’t touch the sort of performance that Delhomme had on Saturday night.

Why was this performance the worst I’ve ever seen? Because single handily, Delhomme deflated the spirits of his team. It’s one thing to play a terrible game, but it’s another thing when your quarterback kills momentum, every time you gain a small amount of it. His passing in the red zone was specifically terrifying to watch. Anytime his team pushed the ball into Cardinals territory, sure enough Delhomme would find a way to throw a pass that had Panthers fans muttering themselves to bed all Saturday night. It was amazing to think this was the same quarterback who just four or so years ago, played as valiant of a game as I remember a losing quarterback play in the Super Bowl verse the Patriots.

In addition to Delhomme’s poor performance, the Panthers on Saturday night never came remotely close to establishing any one of the necessary bullet points they must have seen all week during preparation for this game. They weren’t prepared for Larry Fitzgerald at all, they weren’t prepared for the dose of running they saw, they never found a way to get the ball to Steve Smith, nor did they do the same for their other playmaker, running back, DeAngelo Williams.

And here I’m along with 95% of the so called ‘experts’ of football, thinking their was no way the Cardinals could pull off that sort of win. A team who never even came close to beating a team on the east coast all season long, against a team who hadn’t lost at home all season long. How could it happen? Well, when the opposing quarterback turns the ball over six times- it doesn’t take much more else than to convert a few scores with great field position. Add the amazing ability of Larry Fitzgerald at wide receiver, and it’s a lock.

So now the Cardinals, a team who was being spoken about as one of the worst teams to ever host a playoffs, two weeks ago- will now be hosting a NFC Championship game. And make no doubt about it, the Eagles are much happier playing the Cardinals than the Panthers. Eagles’ quarterback Donovan McNabb will not be throwing 5 interceptions this coming weekend, and the Cardinals will need to play their best football if they want to be in Tampa on February 1st.

None the less, the Cardinals are one win away from the Super Bowl.

Sports is an amazing thing, ain’t it?

Quick Picks

Here’s my thoughts on the playoff games this weekend, quickly.

Not sure when it happened, but suddenly everyone is thinking that the Cardinals are the upset special in Saturday’s game at Carolina. Can we just think back a few weeks ago about how the Cardinals finished their season? Does anyone remember what they looked like in New England? The way the team didn’t even care to show up? How about when the struggled agianst the Seahawks at home? Last weekend, there was a reason the team looked so well rested- they hadn’t showed up to their own football games for almost a month.

In addition to that, does anyone remember how highly everyone thought of Carolina at the end of the season. Sure, the stumble at the Meadowlands vs. the Giants- but come on. This is the same Carolina Panthers team, who has been to the playoffs before, is undefeated at home this season (The only team in the NFL to do that), and has a defense that is capable of playing as well as any, and won’t shoot themselves in the foot with penalties. Here’s a good stat for you. Up until the Giants game in Week 16, the Panthers hadn’t commited one, single Pass Interference penalty all season long. They might commit a couple on Saturday holding back Wide Reciver Larry Fitzgerald, but that stat is an example of how well this team plays on defense.

Last week Kurt Warner sliced up an Atlanta Defense that no one knows anything about (mostly because none of us saw them play all year). In addition to that WR, Boldin might not be playing.

Carolina wins comfortably. I’ll take them -10

The other three games are incredibly hard to call, but I’ll try to do it in short order- so I can get my weekend started.

I’ll go Titans -3. They key should be how well Kerry Collins can play and make decisions. The Ravens made a quarterback who never throws interceptions look foolish last weekend. Kerry needs to stay away from Ed Reed and keep Batlimore’s defense from making that game changing play that wins them games.

I’ll take the Chargers +6. Not sure how this game will end, but I do truely believe that it will be a tight one. Phillip Rivers has all the makings of a big time, clutch quarterback- and the Steelers love to make it to the playoffs and lose in the middle rounds, even at home some what frequently. (They lost in 01 at home vs. NE, 02 @ Ten, 04 at home. NE, and 07 at home vs. Jax). I’m not discrediting making it to the playoffs, but Big Ben has had some let downs in the big game, and did close to nothing when they won the Super Bowl in the ’05-’06 season.

And I’m going Giants -4. The biggest key in the time these two teams met and the Eagles won, was the fact that Brandon Jacobs didn’t play. Jacobs is about as important to the Giants offense as Eli Manning. Jacobs makes the difference and the Giants win.

Happy Weekend Everyone. Enjoy the football (and the snow if you’re living in the north east. Nothing like being snowed in with playoff games on).

Philadelphia?

Congrats, you’ve made it to 2009. And while most of the people reading this right now are sitting at office desks and cubicles around the country, trying to find something that can make the day pass quicker, upset because you’re holiday season is over – I got something really awesome to tell you, that should cheer you up-In only a few short days, The Philadelphia Eagles will travel to East Rutherford, NJ to face the New York Giants, and I can’t wait.

As an impartial football fan these days, I have to say right now….this is awesome. The excitement of this game, has me wanting to breathe into a brown paper bag to prevent hyperventilation. It’s hard to imagine any of these teams not playing the best game they are capable of playing next Sunday. I can’t wait to see these two teams, who hate each other so darn much, crack each other up and down the field on Sunday. And I know its early, but as of right now- some forecast have the weather being near freezing with rain/snow. Should be an amazing game, and I’m hoping the anticipation is NOT the best part of Sunday’s game.

Speaking of the Eagles, is there any one player who is more valuable to a team then Brian Westbrook? As I wrote before about Ed Reed, this guy is a difference maker. He’s one of the guys who can make a loss, a win. The difference between him and Ed Reed is that they draw up plays for Westbrook and he always seems to execute them. The Giants HAVE to figure out a way to keep him in line.

And how about the fans calling for Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid’s head just a month or so ago. All these two have done is win and win and win. It must be nice to have a team who is consistently chalking up W’s. Eagles fans, I can understand your frustration that this era of Eagles haven’t won a Super Bowl (Since I’m a Yankee fan), but winning a Super Bowl is an incredibly difficult thing to do. You have to understand that this era of Reid/McNabb has been a very special run and the franchise has put a impressive product on the field year after year (ie- 2006, McNabb goes down and Jeff Garcia suddenly becomes John Elway, leading them on a nice playoff run).

And hey, you got to be in the playoffs to win the Super Bowl. Having that opportunity each year is pretty sweet, in a league where the parody between the teams has 1-15 teams going to the playoffs a season later.

Maybe this is Philadelphia’s year in sports? First the World Series and now the Super…gulp. What a scary notion that is.

Phillies fans celebrating the team's 10,000 lost as a franchise. (By Tim Shaffer, Reuters)

Phillies fans celebrating the team's 10,000 lost as a franchise. (By Tim Shaffer, Reuters)

eagles_fan-796487

Your everyday Eagles fan. Probably going to follow this picture up by dumping a coke-a-cola on some kid with a Redskins jersey on.

A Sixers fan reminding Kobe of his... "little incident in a hotel room"

A Sixers fan reminding Kobe of his... "little incident in a hotel room"

Philadelphia, PA. Titletown, U.S.A.- A frightening thought for 2009.