Thursday, January 10, 2008


Favre returning. Maybe.
"I am trying to enjoy [the hot streak the Packers are on] because this could be my last game in Green Bay. For the first time in three years, I haven't thought this could be my last game. I would like to continue longer."
It's better than being completely indecisive on the topic, I suppose.

But the "this could be my last game in Green Bay" part confuses me, especially when you put it in the same paragraph as "I would like to continue longer".

Brett, if you'd like to keep playing, no one in Green Bay is going to stop you from doing it.

Not even Aaron Rodgers.

(Though this brings up a topic that not many people have discussed today. Why not trade Aaron Rodgers to a team in need of a quarterback? The guy had a rock-solid preseason, and he was nothing short of superb when Favre was injured against Dallas. Sure, it's a risk, because Rodgers is starting to look like a guy who would be really good in this offense. But if you can help out at a different position [not a lock, mind you], why wouldn't you consider it?)

Now go finish getting ready for the playoff game Saturday. It's time to get back to the NFC Championship Game.

Divisional Playoff Weekend. This brings us to football picks for this weekend. Since the Packer game is first on the schedule, we'll start there.

Seattle at Green Bay. The Packers are a rather solid favorite in this game, but should they be such an overwhelming pick? Seattle is going to pose problems for the Packers' offensive line, which doesn't allow sacks in large part because the offense is designed to prevent them with quick, rhythmic passing. However, the Seahawks are solid enough in the secondary that their pass rush, led by Patrick Kerney, will have an impact on this game.

In a "normal" Green Bay season (normal as defined by "since Mike Holmgren got there"), the Packers would simply counter this with screen passes meant to attack Seattle's rather average linebackers (exception: Julian Peterson) and keep the defensive line from overpursuing. This is not a normal Packer team. They're not particularly good at screen passes, and it probably doesn't bode well for that part of this game. To keep the defensive line from being all over Favre, Ryan Grant needs to have a big day running the ball. I expect to see a lot of Favre in the shotgun, and I wouldn't be shocked to see a few draw plays run out of the shotgun spread, all in the name of keeping the defense honest.

In the end, Seattle's poor running game will hurt them, and Green Bay will do enough to Matt Hasselbeck to keep Seattle at bay.
The pick: Green Bay

Jacksonville at New England.'s Jeremy Green thinks Jacksonville is going to win.

I think he's nuts.

Listen, the Jaguars have that cute two-headed running game with Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew. They have a quarterback who doesn't screw up much. They don't shoot themselves in the foot with dumb penalties. The weather - if it's crappy - won't bother them, as they've already won twice in Pittsburgh, including a snow game and a night game.

But who's going to cover Randy Moss? Wes Welker? Donte Stallworth? Ben Watson?

Who's going to deal with Kevin Faulk out of the backfield? Or Laurence Maroney?

If the Jaguars can't get heat with their front four, who's going to hit Tom Brady? They're going to be too busy using linebackers and extra defensive backs to cover up the holes in their coverage.

Too many flaws in the Jaguars' game. IF they can run the ball consistently, take care of the ball better than they did in Pittsburgh last week, and get a few breaks, they have a shot. But it's too much to ask.
The pick: New England

San Diego at Indianapolis:
Toughest call of the weekend. The Chargers have a shot, but much of their shot depends on the health of TE Antonio Gates, who was injured in the Wild Card win over Tennessee. If Gates can't go, the Chargers have to lean too much on the wide receivers and Philip Rivers for my taste. Rivers is much better when he has his big target in Gates. Otherwise, the primary receivers (Vincent Jackson and Chris Chambers) are too inconsistent. They're going to have to be great Sunday, because you know the Colts will do all they can to take away LaDainian Tomlinson.

Indianapolis figures to have Marvin Harrison back, and that should help Peyton Manning a great deal, considering he will feel the heat all afternoon from the Chargers defense.

I think the Chargers have a shot. I'd like them even more if they had Antonio Gates, or if they didn't have to travel all the way across the country to play this game (their record this year jumping multiple time zones isn't great). But Tomlinson is eager to rebound off a rough game against Tennessee, and Rivers was sure comfortable throwing that deep ball last week. That dimension may be enough to counter the (potential) loss of Gates. And if Gates plays, I'm much more confident about this.
The pick: San Diego

N.Y. Giants at Dallas.
Maybe the Giants have a real shot here, but this is still Eli Manning. And he's on the road. I just don't trust him much.

No Jessica Simpson at this game probably means Tony Romo will play well, though she was nowhere to be found in Week 17, and Romo was pure garbage in that game.

Dallas rebounds from that Washington loss by beating the Giants at home, and they prepare to lose to Green Bay next Sunday. I called that now, probably because I'm stupid.
The pick: Dallas

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