Picking The NFL Playoff Winners
Friday - January 05, 2007
The seemingly endless NFL regular season is finally complete, and there were some last-minute surprises as the playoff picture came into focus.
Fans of the Kansas City Chiefs undoubtedly loved the way their team overcame the laws of probability to sneak in. K.C. needed to beat Jacksonville and have Tennessee, Cincinnati and Denver lose. No problem. The Giants creep in as the sixth and last seed in the NFC, despite losing six of their last eight games.
Here’s my playoff scenario leading to the 2007 Conference Championships.
AFC Wild Card: Kansas City at Indy
The Colts saved their worst for last, dropping four of their last six. Plus, their run-challenged defense will face a sharp Larry Johnson and a Chiefs team that is beginning to believe the spirit of late owner Lamar Hunt is providing otherworldly intervention. Let’s start it off with an upset. Chiefs 28, Colts 24.
N.Y. Jets at New England:
Sure, the Jets have been sensational under first year head coach Eric Mangini. He wins with guys like Leon Washington and Chris Baker and a QB with the weakest arm (post-injury) in the NFL. And yes, this is not the Patriots team that won three Super Bowls. They’ve struggled on both sides of the ball, and special teams have had breakdowns. But in one game, I’ll take Tom Brady.
Pats 35, Jets 17. NFC Wild Card:
N.Y Giants at Philadelphia.
The Giants had a difficult year. Jeremy Shockey criticized the coaching of Tom Coughlin, All-Pro DE Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora missed much of the season, WR Amani Toomer suffered a season-ending knee injury. Add erratic QB play from Eli Manning and they’re lucky to still be playing. The Eagles have overcome the loss of Donovon McNabb with sparkling play by back-up Jeff Garcia and the always-reliable Michael Westbrook. Despite a good final performance by retiring Giant Tiki Barber, this one goes to the City of Brotherly Love. Eagles 31, Giants 24
Dallas At Seattle
Two absolute mediocrities meeting in a lackluster game. Much was expected from Seattle; little was delivered. Hasselback never found last year’s rhythm. Dallas may have been distracted by T.O, but it doesn’t explain the poor defensive play.
Seahawks 24, Cowboys 17
AFC Divisional Playoff Kansas City at San Diego. This one could be summed up in two words: LaDanian Tomlinson. The Chargers have too many weapons, and play too well on defense.
Chargers 38, Chiefs 10
New England at Baltimore
The Ravens have been good, and consistent. They are solid if unspectacular on offense, and still intimidate on defense. And Tom Brady doesn’t have enough help.
Ravens 27, Pats 20
NFC Divisional Playoff Seattle At Chicago Rex Grossman usually follows a stinker with a good performance. And if those extremes are proportionate, he’s due for a great game; he was nightmarish against Green Bay. The Chicago defense should be able to handle Alexander & Co.
Bears 21, Seahawks 14
Philadelphia at N.O.
I’ve got a feeling about the Saints. They’ve been amazing, at times offensively. And Reggie Bush gives them an extra dimension. Drew Brees is the best decision-maker in the game, and New Orleans deserves some love.
Saints 35, Eagles 24
We’ll see how we do on these before setting the scene for the Conference Championship and the Super Bowl next week.
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