Each week, I will look into my (never wrong, just misinformed) crystal ball and give my predictions for that weekend’s games. I will prognosticate on all the playoff games each week. Keep in mind, that this is for entertainment purposes only, and that I do not endorse any sort of legal or illegal gambling. That being said…let’s see what’s in my crystal ball!
The crystal ball was mediocre last week, posting a 2-2 record. Not great, but we will take it! Now that it is playoff time, the crystal ball assures me it will rebound this week with a better performance. The crystal ball is now 33-26-1 for the season; which is seven games over .500 (.558 to be exact). With all the great match-ups before us, this week is going to be a challenge for the crystal ball. Let’s see what’s in store for us this weekend.
Last Week: 2-2
Atlanta @ Arizona: The Atlanta Falcons (11-5) will travel to Arizona to play the Cardinals (9-7). It’s a quirky nuance in the rules where the team with a better record must travel to play a team with a worse record in the playoffs. The Cardinals won their division, so by rule they get the home game. The Falcons have been a huge surprise this season, but the NFL is well aware of them now. The Cardinals played in a sub-par division, but they won enough games to earn their way into the tournament. Unfortunately for the Cards, they will be one and done. The Falcons are clearly the better team, and the Cardinals have been playing poorly as of late. The Falcons are the real deal and should win easily. Atlanta 34, Arizona 23.
Indianapolis @ San Diego: The Colts (12-4) will have to travel to San Diego to play the Chargers (8-8); again, another anomaly in the rules. The Chargers were the winners of a dreadful division, and they should count their blessings just for the invite to the tournament. The good news for the Bolts is that they have been playing playoff quality ball for several weeks. The bad news is, they must face the Indianapolis Colts in the 1st round. Norv must be wondering why…why? This should be a great game, but the Colts are just a much better team. Dungy, in what could be his last season, won’t settle for a 1st round loss. Look for the Colts to make a deep run…they are my favorite to win the Super Bowl…but that’s getting too far ahead. Indianapolis 37, San Diego 29.
Baltimore @ Miami: The Miami Dolphins have gone from worst to first in their division. This time last year, they were 1-15 and on the clock for the 1st pick in the draft. This year they are AFC East Champions. Parcells and Sparano have done a heckuva job down there in South Beach! The Ravens have played beyond their dreams as well, with a Rookie QB who wasn’t supposed to be the starter. The Ravens beat the Dolphins back in Week 7, and were able to tame the wildcat…will they be able to do it again? Yes…the Ravens are a well-balanced team and should be able to handle the ‘Fins. Miami will hang tough and make the Ravens earn it! Baltimore 24, Miami 23.
Philadelphia @ Minnesota: Philadelphia has been on a roll the last few weeks, especially this past Sunday as they annihilated the Cowboys in historical fashion. They gave the Cowboys a beat down that they were not expecting. Minnesota is a good team, but with Tarvaris Jackson at the helm, I think they are too vulnerable. Gus Frerotte is a seasoned veteran, but he got the hook. The Vikings are having trouble selling out for a playoff game…are you kidding me? The Eagles fans are licking their chops and they are scooping up the remaining tickets. It may turn out to be a home game for the Birds? Either way, the Eagles are on a roll, and the Vikings will be their next prey. Philadelphia 24, Minnesota 16.
The NFL did a disservice to its teams when it changed to an 8-division format. However by doing this, it has achieved its goal, and most teams are still mathematically alive for the playoffs late in the season. Most team’s fans can stay excited until the final week. Unfortunately, you have teams that win their divisions with poorer records than the wildcard teams. And to make matters worse, they are rewarded with a home game? The only positive is that the New England Patriots, at 11-5, are sitting at home, while the Minnesota (10-6), Philadelphia (9-6-1), Arizona (9-7), and San Diego (8-8) are in the playoffs…you gotta love Karma!
Peyton Manning was honored with winning the NFL MVP Award for the 3rd time in his illustrious career. Chad Pennington was honored with the Comeback Player of the Year Award for the 2nd time in his career. In my opinion, Pennington should have won both, but I don’t get a vote…but someday I might?
From The Mail Room:
Jerry P., Philadelphia, PA: Tony Romo is a great quarterback. Just look at his numbers for the last 3 years. Last year should have been a Cowboys super bowl if not for Crayton's dropped pass. Yes Tony has had problems, but after last season he lost even more his quarterback coach. Tony needs a good quarterback coach to help him in some situations and he will win for this team. It took many great ones 3-4 years before they really flourished into a superstar quarterback. If all the right coaches are put in place next year they will win. Tony just needs one playoff win to get started. Go Cowboys no matter what I bleed Blue and Silver. Forever...
Utopia1dc: Jerry, you bring up many good points. I think some people forget that Romo has only been a starter for 2 ½ seasons. He was also an undrafted rookie free agent when the Cowboys signed him. He suffered through the entire draft; 32 teams, 7 rounds and nothing. Romo didn’t come out of college with the pedigree of an Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers, or Matt Ryan, to name a few. He needed a few seasons of grooming just to resemble an NFL QB. Everyone needs to be patient with him. Even Peyton Manning took several years before he had post-season success. And Romo doesn’t even have an ounce of the same pedigree that the Manning’s have! As for the Cowboys winning the Super Bowl if Crayton didn’t drop that sure TD pass…we will never know? But, I think that the Cowboys have something with Romo…let’s wait a few years before we label him a bust. From where he came from…he’s already out-performed anyone’s expectations!
Keywords: Atlanta Falcons, Bill Parcells, Chad Pennington, Crystal Ball, Dallas Cowboys, Eli Manning, Howard Eskin, Indianapolis Colts, Matt Ryan, Miami Dolphins, NFL Football, Payton Manning, Philadelphia Eagles, Phillip Rivers, Playoffs, Predictions, Reality Mail Bag, Terrell Owens, Tony Romo, Tony Sparano, WIP