Complete laydowns from the Dolphins, Bills, Bengals, Panthers, Browns, Chiefs and Cardinals resulted in the slate of games looking more like Week 1 of a Texas high school schedule than one belonging in the NFL. Winners beat losers last week 420-184, which comes out to an average score of 26-12 for each game. Factor in that the only close games (Dallas-Philly, Baltimore-Cincy, Detroit-Minnesota, Indy-Tennessee, Green Bay-Chicago and Giants-Redskins were all decided by single digits) didn’t really turn out to be all that important for your average football fan, and factor in that watching the St. Louis-Seattle matchup to end the night felt like the equivalent of watching a 3-year-old try to do calculus, and you had a pretty crappy NFL week.
Fortunately, it’s over. Aside from what is sure to be a brutal contest in Seattle on Saturday, we’re in for a rather stimulating week of playoff football.
And thankfully, though I did so in each of the past three weeks, I will not be going 8-8 this week. Hopefully, I don’t go 0-4.
Oh, and since I didn’t say anything too ridiculous last week regarding these eight teams (hard to believe, I know), I’ll sprinkle in some Ridiculous Quotes From Week 1 Picks (RQFW1P), just to show how wrong I can be over the course of an entire season.
(Home team in caps.)
New Orleans (-10.5) over SEATTLE
Everyone is taking the Saints, which sometimes can be a bad sign. Not this time.
The Saints whooped the ‘Hawks earlier this season, right around the time when the Saints were just starting to get themselves figured out this year. They went 6-2 on the road overall and proved they can win a big one a couple of weeks ago on a Monday night in Atlanta.
Plus, when your head coach is spending his time posting links to Phil Collins YouTube videos on Twitter, and when the only advantage you have is that your home crowd can be noisy, and when you have an actual question of whether your starting quarterback should be a Jesus lookalike or a guy who can barely walk, your chances just aren’t all that good.
Ridiculous Quote From Week 1 Picks: “[An] Associated Press story said the Dolphins should finish with a .500 record, ‘buried in the AFC East standings.’ Wait a second … what? … They’re a good team.”
Note: Associated Press 1, Mike Hurley 0
New York Jets (+2.5) over INDIANAPOLIS
Not much is being made of the Colts’ lackluster showing last weekend, at home, in what started out as a must-win game.
The Colts arrived at Lucas Oil Stadium needing either a win or a Jacksonville loss to make the playoffs. Any team would rather handle business on its own, yet the Colts could not do that against the listless Titans, who were only playing because NFL rules dictated they had to show up for their final day of work. Had it not been for a Kerry Collins fumbled snap on second-and-7 from the Colts’ 34-yard line with 1:25 left on the clock, the Colts would have lost the game.
It was brushed under the rug, for the most part, because the Jags had lost, but it showed that despite the logo on the helmet and despite No. 18 under center, this is not the formidable Colts team that we’ve seen most every year since the late ’90s.
Last year, the Jets weren’t a good enough football team to win in Indy in the playoffs. This year, for all their antics and off-the-field distractions, they are.
RQFW1P: “Count me in on the Matt Moore bandwagon. (Note: I reserve the right to pretend that sentence was never written come Week 8.)”
Note: Yeah, uhh … there are no words I can say here. Moore did throw five touchdowns, though. Does that help?
KANSAS CITY (+3) over Baltimore
This is a reach, but something tells me the Chiefs can hang. There are just two reasons I’m hesitant to take them:
Charlie Weis has done a fabulous job this season, but how much of his attention will be on this game, and how much of his focus is on his new job in Florida?
The Chiefs have essentially not faced a tough test this year, as evidenced by their 1-2 record against teams with a .500 record or better.
Yet, I’m not sold on Cam Cameron in a big game (the complete offensive shutdown in New England this year comes to mind). I’m not sold on Joe Flacco in a big game. In his five-game playoff career, he’s 3-2 but has completed just 47.5 percent of his passes for one touchdown, six interceptions and an average of 110 yards per game. Even Mark Sanchez can top that.
RQFW1P: “It’s Week 1 of the NFL season, so every team is a wild card. (Except for the Rams, Seahawks, Lions, Bills and Buccaneers. They’re all going to be very, very bad at winning football games).”
Note: The combined record of those teams: 34-46. Not exactly outstanding, but not “very, very bad.”
PHILADELPHIA (-3) over Green Bay
I think Andy Reid lofted that “maybe we’ll bench Mike Vick” statement out there just to rile up his star quarterback. That’s really the only explanation, as Vick’s the only reason the Eagles are hosting a playoff game this weekend.
The Packers stunk on the road at 3-5, they were 18th in rush yards allowed (Vick likes that) and they went 3-3 after Thanksgiving, so they’re not exactly on a roll. The only reason people are picking Green Bay is because they probably picked them in the preseason to win the Super Bowl and figure they might as well stay consistent.
Still, there’s no game I’m looking forward to more than this one.
RQFW1P: “This will be a learning year for much of the Patriots’ defense. … [A Week 1 loss to the Bengals] could be the first lesson for the Pats that those wins that used to seem automatic may not come so easily anymore.”
Note: The Patriots allowed the eighth-fewest points in the league, they posted the best turnover ratio in the NFL (their plus-27 mark was 13 turnovers better than the second-best team) and they featured a real Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate in Devin McCourty. Whoops.
And with that, I believe I’ve accomplished my mission of destroying any and all credibility I might have had. Enjoy the playoffs, people.
Last week: 8-8
Regular season: 131-120-5
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