Sometimes, you're just plain
wrong. Last week, I was convinced the Chiefs and Larry Johnson would run roughshod
over the Colts defense and they instead laid a colossal egg. A stinker for the
ages. They were so bad, that they won the turnover battle and lost. The Chiefs
offense was so inept that they didn't get a first down until over halfway through
the third quarter. Not only that, but until their first first down of the game,
Kansas City went three and out on six consecutive possessions despite having
picked off Peyton Manning three times during that span. So to all of the Indy
fans who have emailed me, I offer a mea culpa with an asterix. I was wrong about
Kansas City* (*but I'm not convinced it was the strength of the Colt defense
as much as it was the ineptitude of the KC offense). Beat Baltimore this weekend
and I'll offer the full apology.
Looking ahead to the Divisional Round of the 2007 Playoffs and the NFC once again features two rematches from the regular season. Back in October, the Seahawks traveled to Chicago and were spanked by the red-hot Bears and their wunderkind QB Rex Grossman. The Seahawks appeared lost in their first game without 2006 NFL MVP Shaun Alexander on the field and Matt Hasselbeck was slinging the ball around like Brett Farve, with equally poor results. Since then, Rex has come crashing back down to earth, Shaun Alexander has recovered, and both defenses have suffered serious injuries. The Bears get the edge in the rankings based solely on their regular season dominance, but Chicago is easily the most vulnerable of the home teams playing in the divisional round.
Later on in October, the Eagles traveled to the Superdome and lost on a last second FG by the Saints John Carney. Several things have changed for Philly since week six, however, not the least of which has been the surprising ascendance of Jeff Garcia in a backup role. During the first matchup, WR Donte Stallworth was inactive for the Eagles, having just been traded from New Orleans to Philadelphia earlier in the week. For the Saints, there have been little in the way of changes, and that's just the way they want it. New Orleans has been nothing short of spectacular on offense this season, and their defense has proven to be strong enough to prevent the kind of late game meltdowns that were a hallmark of the Saints for so long.
In the AFC, the Divisional Round features two games with opponents meeting for the first time this season. The Chargers will be putting their league leading 10 game win streak on the line at home against the New England Patriots, fresh off of an impressive victory in the Wildcard Round. Unfortunately for the Patriots, their postseason magic seems to be predicated on getting a bye in the first round of the Playoffs. Since 1994, New England has played in the Wildcard Round four times and each of those times has failed to advance to the Championship Game. In their four appearances in the postseason with a bye week, they've advanced to the Super Bowl, winning three.
In the other AFC contest, the Indianapolis Colts travel back to Baltimore for just the 3rd time since sneaking out in the middle of night back in 1984. The home field advantage has been huge in the Colts/Ravens series, with the home team winning 5 of the 6 games played.
The NFL's number one offense is rested and ready to go.
The Saints have only made the Playoffs five times in franchise history and are 1-5 in those games, with their only win coming at home in 2000. Now they are one game away from their first ever Championship appearance. How loud do you think the Superdome is gonna be this weekend?
The Ravens are riding a 4 game win streak, during which they've won by a minimum of 10 points. The defense has been getting all the press, but the offense has been very strong, too.
Andy Reid called 31 passes and 31 runs last Sunday and won. He appears to have learned his leason.
The Patriots are always a threat to go all the way in the Postseason.
The Bears get exactly one shot to prove they're deserving of the number one seed. They crushed the Seahawks earlier this year, but that was before the book was out on Rex.
The Football Gods appear to be attempting to atone for last year's Super Bowl. If the Seahawks avoid turnovers in Chicago, they'll win.
Okay, I was wrong about the Colts. Their defense IS good enough to stop the run if they know it's coming. I'm guessing Brian Billick won't be using the Herm Edwards "Run Run Pass" game plan this week, though.
Do you think Tony Romo would have made the Pro Bowl if voting started AFTER the season instead of before the season was half over?
The Giants played better than I thought they would, but the defense couldn't make the stops when they needed them most. Not only does the coach need to go, but some veteran "leaders" could use a change of scenery too.
The Jets were overmatched but played tough. They have a lot to look forward to in 2007.
Last week's debacle may have been the single worst offensive outing in Playoff history. The Colts tried to give the game away, but KC was determined not to win.