Wednesday, January 08, 2003

But first, the picks: In light of the ass-whomping I put on you last year during the NFL Playoffs, I thought it only sporting of me to give you another chance. With the wildcards out of the way, it's safe to go into the water. This weekend: 1. Steelers v. Titans. Your hometown team versus the ex-Oilers. Everything says go with Titans. The Steelers barely won over Cleveland at home; this is in Tenn., McNair is a prime-time player, and the Titans won pretty easily earlier this season. Plus, Pittsburgh does not have the smell of destiny lingering over it (as we learned last year, this is key - more on this later), and Pittsburgh folds in the playoffs every year. I'm going with the popular vote on this one: Titans by 10 or more. 2. Eagles v. Falcons. The Falcons have one good everydown offensive player (ummm, what's his name? oh, right Vick) and one good on third downs (Dunn). They have no receivers or other running backs. The Falcons have a good defense, with some real ath-uh-letes, and they run fast and lean. The Eagles have what appears to be an automatic offense if A.J. Feeley is any indication. Nothing flashy, but when run properly, eats up yards, and will generally score points (highest total ever in Eagles history this year). The key is McNabb (no news flash there), and I say if McNair can play at a high level each week without practicing, so can McNabb. Also, word is that McNabb picked up some pointers in terms of watching A.J. and his quick release (McNabb gets sacked a lot not b/c of a bad O-line [actually one of the best this year] but because he holds and holds and holds). Oh yeah, and one of the most experienced and frightening defenses in the league. Did I mention they're playing at the Vet? Eagles by 7-71/2. 3. Niners v. Bucs. The Niners are wiped out, emotionally drawn, and traveling 3 hours east to Tampa where the best defense in the league is chomping at the bit. Brad Johnson is scheduled to start. With Johnson, I like the Bucs in a tight game. If he goes down early enough, I take the Niners by 10 or more. The Niners may have two starting O-liners out this week which really, really hurts against that defense. But without Johnson, Tampa cannot score. I see T.O. taking this it to the house at least twice, plus a great scrambling QB and a decent 1-2 combo at RB. So, that's that. 4. Jets at Oakland. This is all about Destiny baby. Note the capital "D". Oakland has won with smoke and mirrors. Its secondary is wiped out with leg injuries and its pass rush is mediocre. Pennington is the ice man at only 3 years in. He is the 2002 version of Tom Brady. Curtis Martin is re-energized and the receivers love the way Pennington spreads it around. I see Oakland falling behind quickly and then packing it in. Gannon is the real deal, and he has a load of experience around him, but the fans will peter out, and you're left with a tarnished silver and greyish black. The Raiders have always been my sentimental team, but the Jets have divine guidance. Jets by 10-13.
Et toi.

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