Friday, January 06, 2006

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

NFL Playoff madness is upon us. And since I blew past my deadline this week, I am going to have to skip the annual NFL Playoff Picks column and instead post my predictions here. Which is nice, because it brings this once glorious blog out of a long period of hibernation. Yes, the previous post is about the final weekend of the baseball regular season. Ouch. Hopefully, this time the blog will stay active. Read on for picks and commentary. As for what you might find, here's a hint: I've got Rex Grossman tabbed as the most important player in this year's playoffs.


Adam Hoff said...

Most Important NFC First Round Game:

Washington at Tampa Bay. Whoever wins this game will dramatically reshape the second round (and possibly beyond) of the NFC playoffs. If the Skins go into Tampa and beat the Bucs, they would then travel to Seattle for their next contest, leaving the Bears to host the winner of the Carolina-New York game. This would be a huge advantage for Seattle and a big blow to Chicago. The reason? Nobody wants to play Carolina. They are finding their running game with DeShaun Foster, they have Steve Smith as a dominant wide receiver, and both Jake Delhomme and the defense have Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde personalities. In other words, you have about a 50/50 chance that they are either going to be pretty beatable or absolutely on fire. Would you want to to take those odds in a single elimination format? Me neither.

If the Bucs can hold serve against Washington, the Bears would have a clear path to the Super Bowl. They would handle Tampa Bay to advance to the NFC title game. Not only that, but Carolina would have decent odds of beating Seattle (provided they are their Mr. Hyde self in the Wild Card round and get past the Giants), which would allow Chicago to host the Panthers for the NFC title bout. Under that scenario, Carolina would be playing on the road for the third straight time, giving Chicago a huge edge.

Amazing how much a seemingly worthless Washington-Tampa Bay game can impact the NFC.

Adam Hoff said...

Best First Round Game:

Steelers at Bengals. How are the 11-5 Bengals playing at home as underdogs? I was all set to take Pittsburgh in this game, but changed my mind when I saw the hordes jumping on the Steelers' bandwagon. This should be a terrific game, but I'm going with the upstart Bengals 31-27.

While we're here, let's get the picks on paper.


Wild Card round: Bucs over Skins 24-16 (even though Tampa Bay is terrible) and Panthers over Giants 34-23.

Second round: Panthers in a wild one over the Seahawks 27-24 and Bears trounce Bucs 26-6.

NFC Championship: Bears over Panthers 19-17.


Wild Card round: Patriots over Jags 31-10 and Bengals over Steelers 31-27.

Second round: Colts over Pats 34-24 and Broncos over Bengals 27-24.

AFC Championship: Colts over Broncos 30-23.

Super Bowl: Colts over Bears 26-13.

Anonymous said...

You are a moron. There is no way the Bears will reach the Super Bowl. And the Bucs over the Redskins? The Skins are the hottest team in the NFC. The Seahawks will roll to a title. Shaun Alexander wins the MVP!

jr said...

Who would say are the key players in the first round games?

Adam Hoff said...

Key Players.

Skins-Bucs: Cadillac Williams. If he can run for 100+ and help Tampa Bay control the clock, I think the Bucs will win. If he gets shut down, Simms will implode.

Pats-Jags: Whoever plays QB for Jacksonville. They need to get some big plays in the passing game early and often. With all of their big receivers going against the Patriots' tiny corners, the chance is there to put pressure on the champs early in the game.

Steelers-Bengals: Odell Thurman. The key to this game will be how well the Bengals can handle the Steelers rushing attack. If they can contain Willy Parker, keep Bettis out of the red zone, and force Big Ben to throw in long-yardage situations, their shaky defense can take care of business. A lot of this will be determined by rookie middle linebacker Odell Thurman.

Giants-Panthers: Jeremy Shockey. For the Giants to win, they need Eli Manning to be confident and firing away. And for Manning to play well, he needs Shockey to show him the way. Plaxico is too much of a whiner to help Eli get to the next level, so it will be up to Shockey to raise his game in order to get the pressure of off Tiki Barber.

Matt said...

So far, so bad for Caddy. He is playing like dog crap. Missing holes, trying to cut back against fast linebackers, fumbling. He looks like its his first game against a pro defense. Looks good for the Skins.

Adam Hoff said...

Hard to argue with that assessment.

My favorite thing so far is that Theisman called Simms "special" because he was 15-17 with all the dinks and drunks underneath. Then, two plays later, he failed to read an obvious blitz, took a horrible sack, and ruined their chance of scoring. Nice.

Is it too late to change my prediction?

calvin said...

Opening weekend has been a yawner. Good job on the Pats and Panthers picks. You picked correctly against the spread in each. Not so good on the Bucs, but that game was just awful all around. Neither of those teams deserve to play another game. Hopefully Steelers-Bengals will salvage the weekend.

Adam Hoff said...

2-2 on opening weekend. Not my best effort. Even worse than the mediocre percentage is the fact that I was counting on the Bucs and Bengals to pave the way for my second round picks. Hard for Chicago and Carolina to meet in the NFL title bout when they play next Sunday.

New picks:

Bears over Panthers (just a week earlier in what will be a more dangerous game because the Panthers won't be playing a third straight road contest).
Seahawks over Redskins (major break for the Hawks).
Seahawks over Bears (Chicago probably can't win on the road against a balanced Seahawks team, bad break for Da Bears with the Bucs losing).

Patriots over Broncos (Believe it or not, New England caught a bad break with the Steelers winning - their best chance to beat the Colts was next weekend when Indy is more likely to be rusty and out of sorts).
Colts over Steelers (don't get carried away by Pittsburgh beating a Palmer-less Bengals team).
Colts over Pats.

Super Bowl.
Colts over Seahawks.

Obob said...

I am throughly enjoying annoying my Colts fans friends by telling them, the colts are a cute story and they will lose to the Bears in the Super Bowl. True or not, Colts fans are a thin skinned and scared lot. And I am very concerned about playing carloina, vengence is a dangerous mistress to tempt.

Jeff Dritz said...

As a Bears fan, I'm terrified of Carolina. They looked unstoppable against the Giants. Steve Smith is a monster, and Jake Delhomme rises in the playoffs. They're really hitting their stride, and they won't fear playing on the road. Let's just hope the temperature drops about 40 degrees between now and Sunday.