The story of the week was the loss heard ‘round the world, or at least our football world. To me, this means more than just one loss; it could mean the Colts’ season. Everyone is going to say not to make too much of this game, especially since they really didn’t have anything to play for except perfection — an unattainable goal according to Roy McAvoy. As you will see below, I think this is the beginning of the end. Tony Dungy said himself that they achieved their regular season goal, which was homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. I don’t think the venue was their only problem in their last few playoff appearances. It was more about attitude, and imposing their will on others. I don’t think they have the mental toughness to seal the deal. It is now going to be four weeks before they see a meaningful game, and if the Patriots continue their run, the RCA dome is not going to be a safe place to hide. I have a sick feeling that Peyton Manning is going to be a great deal like Marino, the greatest quarterback to never win a championship.
I do not claim to see the future, but I am going to give you my thoughts for the Super Bowl. It’s not a long leap, but here’s how I see it:
Wild Cards Winner
6 Pittsburgh at 3 Cincinnati Pittsburgh
5 Jacksonville at 4 New England New England
6 Washington at 3 NY Giants NY Giants
5 Tampa Bay at 4 Carolina Carolina
6 Pittsburgh at 1 Indianapolis Indianapolis
4 New England at 2 Denver New England
4 Carolina at 1 Seattle Seattle
3 NY Giants at 2 Chicago NY Giants
4 New England at 1 Indianapolis New England
3 NY Giants at 1 Seattle Seattle
New England vs. Seattle New England
Here’s a short breakdown:
Chicago doesn’t have the offense to sustain a playoff run, and Denver has not won a playoff game since Elway departed. Seattle is definitely the class of the NFC, but will not have enough to beat a Belichick crew that is suddenly healthy and playing like a championship team. History is against them, but the mental game is something they have mastered and I think it carries them all the way. This is just my opinion; however, I could be wrong.
While I am on the subject of prognostication, someone resembling me thought at the midseason point that Tiki Barber was the MVP. Why is it that he can’t get any love for the award? Eli Manning has showed glimpses of greatness, but Tiki has carried the team on his back for several games this year, and is the reason they are possibly looking at a first round bye. A 220-yard performance against the Chiefs with four runs over twenty yards doesn’t hurt. The back who was dubbed as “too small to compete in this league” has been a workhorse and has picked up his game significantly in the last two years under Tom Coughlin. From 2002-2003, he fumbled once every 48.5 touches, and in the last two years he coughed up the ball only once in every 212 touches. Oh yeah, and he is currently 91 yards from the rushing title. With Shaun Alexander most likely resting in week 17, Tiki has a real shot of making it.
Shoot me now
Speaking of shots, I am at the end of my rope with Larry, Moe and Curly on Sunday night. I thought John Madden was getting bad until I listened to the commentary during the Bears game. The ship of fools spendt five minutes talking about how much of an impact the switch to Rex Grossman made. They said you could see the difference in the offense, and how it seemed to come to life with him behind center. After all the drooling was over, Joe Theismann immediately proceeded to say how he didn’t think the switch was the right decision. What? I grant you that nothing short of George Blanda coming back could revive this offense right now, but talk about speaking out of both sides of your mouth. I think I am going to just watch the games on mute from now on, if I can actually stomach any of them. Minnesota at Baltimore and St. Louis at Dallas are what’s left. Yawn.
Just Plain Lousy Game of the Week – SF vs. JAX: When you have to use 58 minutes to beat a 2-11 team while playing at home, you have some problems on offense. Didn’t everyone say Jacksonville would be fine without Leftwich? They didn’t outscore anybody before, and now it’s downright dismal. I see an early exit from the playoffs for them.
I picked up the Chicago defense in Week 5 and I think it might be the piece that takes me to the championship game. Oh yeah, and that Larry Johnson guy didn’t hurt.
The Chargers are most definitely the best team that won’t make the playoffs. Too bad there aren’t any awards for that. Marty-ball at it’s finest. No matter how many undefeated teams you beat, you can’t make up for that miserable excuse for football played in Miami last week.
How did the Cowboys lay an egg the size of Jerry Jones’ hot tub in Washington? They did know they were fighting for their playoff lives, right? They are struggling down the stretch without protection for Bledsoe. Hmmm, I’ve heard that before, but where? Notable stat: This is the first season sweep for the Redskins in ten years.
I think it is time to clean house in the Kansas City coaching staff. That team is too talented on offense to have the defense give away any more games.
Todd Bouman certainly made an impression; too bad it was on the Carolina defensive backs. Four interceptions is not going to get it done. How far gone is Aaron Brooks if this is there solution?
Steve McNair put together one hell of a game for most likely his last in Tennessee. It looks as if they are putting things together after two years of salary cap hell.
Was St. Louis hosting a Bad Quarterbacks Anonymous conference on Sunday? McMahon and Fitzpatrick combined for less than 50% and 166 yards passing. Josh Navarre put up better numbers than that, albeit against the Texans.
If I were Arthur Blank, I would start accepting trade offers for Michael Vick now. Accept it was a failed experiment and start building an offense around Matt Schaub. You won’t be sorry.
Thanks for reading, on to championship week…