Saturday, January 5, 2008
Playoff Pickery - Wildcard Weekend 2008
"See Maggie, those silver-and-blue guys are the Dallas Cowboys. They're Daddy's favorite team. And he wants them to lose by less than five and a half points. Understand?" -- Homer Simpson, "Bart vs. Thanksgiving''
So, m'man Movie Joe Reid and I are continuing our friendly rivalry of pickery for the NFL playoffs. It's a little bit different this time around, as we'll be considering point spreads for your entertainment purposes.
Now, in advance of the avalanche of questions: no, this does not - in any way - affect my 2007 TBG/Low Resolution Regular Season Prognostication Championship. While I offered to put it on the line, Joe would have none of it. I will respect his wishes.
Washington at Seattle (-3 1/2)
Joe: Wow. Is this not the worst matchup of two really crappy teams in the playoffs that you've ever seen? Yikes. Normally I'd just take the points, but this Redskins team on the road, with the way Matt Hasselbeck has been throwing the ball this season and now that Shaun Alexander has reminded himself what an end zone looks like? Sorry, Ghost of Sean Taylor. Your posthumous playoff campaign ends here.
Final Score: Seattle 38, Washington 20
Aaron: I racked my brain trying to come up with a playoff meeting of two even poopier teams and drew a blank. I remember Tim Couch and Tommy Maddox crossing errant, overthrown swords in an '02 Steelers/Browns playoff game, but that was it (and it was a 36-33 barnburner, to boot). Anyways, after declaring the 'Skins "done" about a month ago, I think they have enough in 'em to keep it close against a schizophrenic Seahawks squad. And, an upset wouldn't shock me.
Final Score: Seattle 22, Washington 20
Jacksonville (-2 1/2) at Pittsburgh
Joe: For whatever reason, football pundits seem all too eager to brush off Jacksonville's victory over the Steelers three weeks ago. But look at the Steelers last seven games: a 3-4 record, including losses to the Jets and Ravens, with the only wins coming against Miami, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. This has become a bad football team. Crappy Pittsburgh weather keeps it close, I'm guessing.
Final Score: Jacksonville 19, Pittsburgh 16
Aaron: The Jags won by 7 when these two teams met three weeks ago, but that margin belies Jacksonville's domination that afternoon. Still, if Willie Parker were running the rock for Pittsburgh, I'd take the Steelers simply on the revenge factor. He's dead (or hurt or...something), so I'm a "Jax Backer" here. Feel free to use that for a few more weeks, Northern Florida.
Final Score: Jacksonville 23, Pittsburgh 3
N.Y. Giants at Tampa Bay (-3)
Joe: I know the Bucs didn't have much to play for the last couple weeks of the season, but it's hard to get behind a team that went 1-3 down the stretch. The Giants defied my prediction of yet another second-half team-quits-on-Coughlin meltdown, and now I'm starting to think this is an actual changed franchise. Changed enough to win here and then get the snot kicked out of them in Dallas, at least.
Final Score: NY Giants 31, Tampa Bay 28
Aaron: The Giants and their collective mucus won't even make it to Texas. Here's your subjective, cherry-picked statistic of the week, kids: the Patriots were challenged late in the fourth quarter by four teams this year: Indy, Philly, Baltimore and the Giants. The first three would lose their next game the following week (with the Ravens completely collapsing through the cavity where their hearts once beat). The moral: Tom Brady eats souls.
Final Score: Tampa Bay 20, NY Giants 16
Tennesse at San Diego (-9)
Joe: The Chargers are the better team here, certainly, but not by nine points. That number seems better suited for the uver/under on how many players Albert Hayensworth will attempt to cripple in regulation. If ol' Al feels the same way about the Bolts as our man Cam does, bet the over.
Final Score: San Diego 27, Tennessee 20
Aaron: Albert could never hate the Chargers as much as I. Unfortunately, the two of us will have to settle for a late hit or two on a classy Chargers RB and an eye gouge at the bottom of a scrum. The Titans have been ruined by injuries to the point I've heard they're talking about suiting up retirees Frank Wycheck and Kevin Dyson. After eight years of tormenting a sports city's soul, I'm told they're tanned, rested and ready!
Final Score: San Diego 21, Tennessee 6