Friday, January 18, 2008


Yes, I was tempted to pick the Giants last week. Had I been picking with point spreads and not straight-up, I probably would have pulled the trigger.

Them's the breaks.

I mean no disrespect to the Giants, but it sure looked like the Cowboys spent too much time enjoying their 13-3 season and not enough time trying to get better and get ready for the divisional round.

I'm fine with that. I don't like the Cowboys, and I don't mind the Packers getting to play at home.

In the AFC, more arguments were made against resting players for regular-season games when you already have a bye week. Don't worry. It won't stop teams from doing it in the future.

It's simply our job to keep that stuff in mind when we're picking games. Feel free to remind me of this in the future.

New York Giants at Green Bay
The Giants deserve to be here, but let's deal with some facts (and opinions that can be taken as fact), here.
  • The Giants were outgained by ~100 yards in the game against Dallas.
  • In the first round, the Giants beat a mediocre Tampa Bay team that basically threw their last two regular-season games. New York was sharper because they had just gone toe-to-toe with New England.
  • Green Bay played better (especially the last 56 minutes of the game) last week against Seattle than the Giants are probably capable of playing. It doesn't mean the Giants are toast in this game, because there's no guarantee the Packers will play that well again. But it's not a good sign, especially if you're thinking of taking the points.
  • Eli Manning has talked about not liking the cold weather. Forecast gametime temperature: -2. Fahrenheit.
  • The Giants secondary is decimated. The Packers, as long as there isn't a freak blizzard, will not be afraid to line up with five wideouts and exploit this.
  • Green Bay's defense has more balance than Dallas or Tampa Bay.
The big one is this: The Giants don't win that game without a slew of mistakes by Dallas.

Yes, you have to give the Giants credit for competing and staying in the game long enough for Dallas to blow it, but can we count on Green Bay doing the same thing? The Packers already learned their lesson, when they coughed up a shot at home field in that horrible loss at Chicago. They won't screw this up again.

Green Bay is more talented, and they're at home. Take the Packers.
The pick: Green Bay

San Diego at New England

No way I figured Norv Turner's staff would out-coach Tony Dungy's last week. The Chargers adjusted and did the right things in the second half to at least keep Peyton Manning's offense from getting the ball into the end zone. And inexplicably, the Colts never really tried to establish the run in the second half.

This worries me more than anything else entering this week. While Indianapolis wasn't smart enough to really even try to expose an apparent hole in San Diego's defense (presumably because it didn't fit their game plan), we all know New England won't make the same mistake. If the Chargers' run defense can be exposed, the Patriots will expose it.

New England's coaches are prepared for everything. They'll adjust on the fly better than anyone.

And Norv Turner is on the other sideline.

Really, can you pick the Chargers to win this game? Why? What has Norv Turner done to make you think he can out-coach Bill Belichick in a close game? And what have the Chargers done to make you think they can win comfortably?

If it's Turner versus Belichick in the fourth quarter of a nail-biter, Belichick wins.

If the Chargers win by double-digits and aren't seriously threatened in the fourth quarter, I'd be beyond stunned.

New England has Tom Brady. They have great players all over the field on offense. The Chargers aren't good enough to stop them, especially if Billy Volek's presence limits San Diego offensively. Even with a healthy and effective Philip Rivers, I probably couldn't pull the trigger on this one.

The odds of San Diego covering the 14-point spread are very high. The odds of them winning outright are virtually nil. But I guess that's why they play the games. Good luck, guys. you'll need it.
The pick: New England

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