Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Playoff Picture

Saturday, Jan. 6
Kansas City at Indianapolis4:30 pm
Dallas at Seattle8:00 pm
Sunday, Jan. 7
N.Y. Jets at New England1:00 pm
N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia4:30 pm

Wow, this season was a weird one. Funny enough, most of my thoughts about the season from the first few weeks, ended up panning out; but the WAY they panned out I don't think anyone expected.

So, the AFC division winners were for the most part not a big surprise; except San Diego who really came out of nowhere in the second half of the season to put the Chiefs and Broncos in the back seat. New England, Baltimore, and Indianapolis though were all predicatable from the first few weeks (and in fact I did so, though I thought Pittsburgh might have pulled it out.. instead they dropped like a rock). Knasas city and the Jets took the wild cards, which again was no big surprise, though I was sure Denver was going to take it up until a few weeks back.

The NFC picture was as screwed up as I thought it would be, with only Chicago standing out for the year as a particularly good team. Philly managed to sneak past Dallas and the Giants, but looked ugly doing it (and they are both the wildcards), and Seattle just barely managed 9-7; which was still good enough to win them the division ahead of St. Louis at 8-8, and two of the worst teams in football, San Francisco and Arizona at 7-9 and 5-11 respectively.

Honestly, they NFC just stank up the joint this year. In fact the Bears really great season will be forever colored by the fact that their competition was so bad this year. No team in the NFC other than the Bears managed better than 10-6, and all of them except Dallas had even or losing records against AFC teams.. in fact msot of them had even or losing records period.

Now, as to the Patriots finishing 12-4... Man I know I shouldn't be complaining, especially since I rpedicted 12-4 at the beginning of the season, but WTF? In the middle of a major winning streak which started with a shutout of Green Bay, the entire team pretty much forgets how to play and we get shut out by Miami? We lose embarrasingly to horrible teams, and yet we devestate decent ones? How about the last few games where we had more penalty yards lost than we had rushing yards gained?

This should have been, and really could have been a 13-3 or 14-2 season. We lost games we had no business losing; we had easy games turn ugly on us, Tom Brady had his worst year ever... but still, we're at 12-4, we won the division, and I think we're about 50/50 to meet Indy or San Diego in the AFC championship game; since I don't think either the Jets or the Chiefs have a shot this weekend... though as I said with how crazy this year as been who knows.

Why do I say Indy or San Diego? Simple: New England seeded lower than Indy, therefore if we win, and indy wins this weekend, we'll get Baltimore and they'll get San Diego; and I'm pretty sure we'll beat Baltimore. I just don't think Baltimore is really that good; they've been lucky and had weak competition.

The Colts have been playing inexplicably poorly for the second half of the season, but I think they'll rebound in the playoffs; unfortunately San Diego hasn't lost since week six, and doesn't plan to start right now, so I give Indy a 30/70 shot in that game.

On the NFC side, I'm guessing Dallas and Philly will pull out of this weekend; but I'm really not sure of that. I would expect the Saints to fall apart, in only their second playoff appearance; and Chicago to be able to take all comers. They are by far the best team of the playoff crop here.

So, my shot in the dark superbowl prediction? San Diego and Chicago; but I'm pulling for a repeat of the SB XX matchup... only with a different result this time.

UPDATE: ok, so no surprise with Indy, but JESUS H. CHRIST ROMO HANG ON TO THE DAMN BALL!!!

UPDATE 2 : Well hell... I screwed up the seeding procedure. The patriots rather throroughly trounced the jets (though the jets were in there all the way til the fourth quarter), not exactly surprising. Unfortunately, I screwed up the matchup procedure, and Indy will have Baltimre, while the Pats get San Diego next week.

I'll be honest, I don't expect to beat San Diego. I was pretty sure we could beat baltimore; and I'm pretty suer that INdy can too... so my guess is now that the AFC championship game will be Chargers Colts.

That doesnt' change my Superbowl prediction by the by, I still think it will be Chargers Bears.