Seriously, does it get any better than this? We're less than 24 hours away from the NFL playoffs getting started, the BS (You'll never see me refer to it as BCS) championship is almost here and the NBA and college basketball seasons are about to hit their respective strides. And, oh yeah, the 5 remaining hockey fans are loving life with the "new" NHL. Sweet!
Anyway, first things first. Let's break down this weekend's NFL match-ups. Since the Texans aren't within sniffing distance, I guess we might as well start with the Lone Star State's redheaded step-child, the Dallas Cowboys. For "entertainment purposes" only, I'll include the spread in all picks.
Cowboys (+2.5) over SEAHAWKS
Everybody knows Dallas comes into this game ice cold. Tony Romo looks human, Terrell Owens looks psycho and Bill Parcells looks tired and ready to eat an entire tub of Chunky Monkey. Throw in the fact that Seattle has the league's best home field advantage and a team (supposedly) hell-bent on defending its NFC title and you'd have to give the Seahawks a major edge, right? No way.
Here's the slogan for this year's NFL: What goes up, most come down (and vice versa). Or perhaps even more appropriate: Everything you know is wrong. Just when it looks like a team has their poop together, they fall flat on their faces. And just when you're ready to write someone off, they make like Lazarus. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule (as we'll see later on). But as much as I hate to say it, the Cowboys' arrow is about to head straight up again. Get the bandwagon ready.
Now, for those who need more than mere gut instinct, chew on this: Seattle is not exactly soaring into this game either. Their secondary is beat up (bad news when facing T.O. and Terry Glenn) and the 'Hawks' only win in the last 4 games came against the putrid pewter, otherwise known as Tampa Bay. Sure, Dallas's safeties can't cover Britney's crotch right now (although who can?) but they should be able to back off a little bit since Seattle's running game has been merely average all year.
In the end, Mr. Carrie Underwood will rise to the occasion, T.O. will find paydirt and Marion Marber is going to score twice. Cowboys win 31-27 and analysts will immediately wonder if Dallas is going to duplicate Pittsburgh's feat from a year ago (they're not).
Giants (+7) over EAGLES
Now we come to the exception of the previously stated 2006 NFL slogan. The Giants are bound to bounce back, aren't they? I mean, in a pathetic NFC, wouldn't it be perfectly fitting to see them rise from the ashes and ride the Tiki Barber retirement express all the way to Miami? Too bad it's not going to happen.
Look, this team is a mess. You know it, I know it, even Mike Tyson knows it (assuming he can't get his hands on any blow in the joint). And all the Tiki-sentiment aside, at some point Eli Manning is going to have to complete a pass (to one of his teammates, that is). And do you really think Philly defensive coordinator, Jim Johnson, is going to let that happen? No way. Right now, li'l brudder Eli is quickly approaching Ozzie Canseco territory. Eagles give their fans one final week of happiness (before the obligatory heart-smashing occurs), 27-17.
COLTS (-7) over Chiefs
Larry Johnson vs. Indy's run defense. A match made in Colts' hell, right? LJ has to be good for at least 200 yards and 2 touchdowns, doesn't he? Here's the problem though: It's just too obvious. Today's NFL is just never that predictable.
Here's what I see: Indy jumps out to an early lead thanks to its own prolific offense, some drive-stalling Chief turnovers and crowd-induced penalties and all of a sudden, K.C. is playing catch-up instead of ball-control. At first, I was buying the hype and thinking this would be a tight game. But too many people are on board that train. Let's not forget, Kansas City was lucky to even qualify for post-season play. Colts in a yawn-fest, 34-13. And once again, get ready for NFL "experts" to declare that Peyton Manning can carry this team to a Super Bowl. As my main man, Chuck D, says, "Don't believe the hype"... or anything that comes out of Michael Irvin's mouth.
PATRIOTS (-8.5) over Jets
The easiest game to pick but the most difficult to handicap. There is absolutely no doubt the Patriots will win. None. But New York seems to know how to at least keep things close with New England. I really struggled with this one.
Now before I make my prediction, there's something you should know: Chad Pennington is my personal nemesis. His noodle arm kills me in Madden (either when I'm playing with him or against him) and it destroyed my beloved Texans this season as well. So I have no doubt he'll foil my pick this week just to prove he owns my football soul. But you know what, screw you, Chad Pennington. I'm not afraid of you or your chicken-noodle arm. You're throwing at least two picks and the Pats are cruising to a 24-7 victory. So there.