Monday, January 08, 2007

Wildcard weakened '07

Indianapolis 23, Kansas City 8
Straight-up pick: Colts. Straight-up winner: Colts.
Point spread pick: Colts (-7). Point spread winner: Colts.

After a week of anti-hype about the Colts' functionally retarded run defense, it was only natural that Indy would shut Larry Johnson down completely. Thirty-two yards on 13 carries may not look like much of a stat line for LJ, but after a 416-carry regular season, it may well have saved his life. Months ago, I was warning everyone who would listen that if you want to beat the Colts, you have to take away the big play, resign yourself to giving up the short stuff, and then hang back and wait for them to make mistakes. Someone from Kansas City must have been listening to what I was shouting in front of that Wal-Mart that day, because on Saturday, the Chiefs pursued that very game plan, goading Peyton Manning into throwing three interceptions and a half-dozen hissy fits in the first half. Alas, this strategy has a better chance of success if your own offense doesn't go three-and-out on its first seven possessions. The security guards hauled me away before I could get to that part.

Seattle 21, Dallas 20
Straight-up pick: Cowboys. Straight-up winner: Seahawks.
Point spread pick: Cowboys (+3.5). Point spread winner: Cowboys.

Wait, you're telling me that Martin Grammatica was on the field for a botched field goal, and he wasn't the one to blame? Coming into the game, I expected to see the grotesquely overrated Tony Romo make some more of those poor decisions borne of overconfidence. It's been nothing but a downward spiral since he started dating Bo Bice, so it was inevitable he'd end up the goat. I just never expected it to happen like that. If I'm a Seattle fan, I'm thinking about Jerramy Stevens catching two touchdown passes and wondering: Why can he do it in a wildcard game, but not in the Super Bowl?

New England 37, N.Y. Jets 16
Straight-up pick: Patriots. Straight-up winner: Patriots.
Point spread pick: Jets (+9.5). Point spread winner: Patriots.

It really was much closer than the final score indicates.

Philadelphia 23, N.Y. Giants 20
Straight-up pick: Eagles. Straight-up winner: Eagles.
Point spread pick: Eagles (-7). Point spread winner: Giants.

Koy Detmer doesn't collect starlets' panties. Koy Detmer isn't going to the Pro Bowl based on five good games and buckets of hype. Koy Detmer is no Tony Romo. Koy Detmer caught the long snap and put it down perfectly, and the Eagles are moving to the next round. Eli Manning is kind of like both Tony Romo and Koy Detmer. Romo, because he's been getting worse as the year progresses, and Detmer because he'll never be as good as his own brother.

Playoff picks performance

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