Friday, January 15, 2010

Divisional playoff round: L is for loser

Wow...we ate it last week, huh? 1-3 was not how we wanted to get this playoff party started. In all fairness, we would have gone our customary .500 if Aaron Rodgers could have found it in his heart to hit that first pass of OT. Alas...would've, should've and could've are only good for horseshoes and hand grenades. In the cold, heartless world of pigskin prognosticating, they mean squat.

But having said that, we're gonna get back on the horse and see what happens this week.

On to the picks.

SAINTS (-7) v. Cards = Lemme just address the Cards - Pack game from last week one more time.

Take a look at this picture to the right and tell us whether or not Rodgers got facemasked. One argument I have seen advanced is that the Referee, Scott Green, was too busy watching the loose ball to see the facemask. Ok. I can see that. happens.

But the NFL, in it's quest to show they truly rule the universe and can distort reality to epic proportions has issued this lame ass explanation, via Vice President of Officiating, Mike Pereira:

"You have to look at the rule," Pereira said. "We made this adjustment in the rule two years ago. And we basically followed college, interestingly enough, and said that we were gonna get rid of the incidental grab of the face mask, so the grab of the mask that didn't include a pull, a twist or a turn. That really led us to staying away from the type of grab of the mask that doesn't create the possibility of injury."

In Rodgers' case, Pereira said the play "fell into that category of being in the incidental grab."

W. T. F? Really? That's how you want to play it? gonna believe Mike Pereira or your lying eyes here folks? Sorry, but it sure looks to me like DB Michael Adams had a nice grasp of Aaron Rodgers' facemask and that he didn't let go until Rodgers was on the ground. And for those that don't think it mattered because the ball was already out of Rodgers' hand and in the air, only to be scooped from the air by Karlos Dansby and returned, I got two words for you: Tuck Rule. That's right, even Pereira admits he's glad the ball didn't hit the ground or it would've probably been called through the Tuck Rule and incomplete.

So why does that matter? Because...the football hit Rodgers' foot. That's right, it was only a saved from being ruled an incomplete pass by bouncing off the foot of a guy who is being pulled to the ground, in part, by a hand grasping his facemask! What happens to that foot if Adam's hand isn't yanking on the facemask? Maybe it's 3-4 inches to the left or right and the ball never hits it. So...say what you want NFL, but don't act like it could not have played a part in the outcome of the game.

And that's to say nothing of the fact that its a "blow/hit to the head." Aren't those illegal? I tell you what, let's see if that happens this week to Warner, Brees, Manning or Favre and see whether or not it's ignored. I'm thinking the answer to that is no.

But I digress. What's going to happen Saturday afternoon? Kurt Warner played possibly his greatest game ever last week. Can he pull it off again? I don't know. But I do know Drew Brees had to be sitting at home licking his chops thinking about facing either one of those defenses as he watched that game. You know...Brees has overtaken Kurt as the inspirational, feel-good QB of the league. He's Warner without all the self-righteousness.

The question becomes, have the Saints been able to rebottle the lightning they were unleashing on the league before that loss to the Cowboys? I don't know...but I do know this, they're pulling out some desperate measures. Reports out today say the Deuce is loose again in the Big Easy. I don't know whether or not that's a stroke of inspirational genius or sheer desperation. But it's got to be one or the other.

Screw it...I'm going inspirational. I predict Deuce gets a goal line carry early, bowls over Dansby and the Superdome explodes. Who dat? Who dat? Who dat think they gonna beat dem Saints?!

BTPC pick = Saints laying the points.

COLTS (-6.5) v. Ravens

From one former unbeaten to another. The biggest question is how the Colts are going to respond after what has to be one of the most stupid and self-destructive coaching moves of all-time. Caldwell's decision to pull his starters up just one against the Jets in Week 16, then to actually play them some the next week wasn't just bizarre, it was retarded. It smacked of a lack of conviction and then a sad attempt to mollify the angry horde that the Colts fanbase had become.

The big question facing Caldwell's Colts now, is whether or not there's a hangover. I certainly could see it getting ugly in that nice new stadium if the Ravens start off like they did last week. Peyton Manning played nice, but it was pretty clear in reading between the lines that he was pissed about the way those last games were handled.

But we're thinking that's just more fuel for Peyton's fire. Ray Lewis has already been acting like his typical ass-like self, saying this Baltimore team is better than the one that one the Super Bowl. Whatever. That defense was the best in recent memory. This team just beat a Patriot team upon which the sun is setting and Belichick has already started to blow up. Plus, your QB has a hip injury that is "causing fluid to leak into his quad." I have no idea what that means, but it can't be good.

BTPC pick = Colts laying the points.

Cowboys (+2.5) v. VIKINGS

We'll admit it...we're worried about what a Cowboys Championship could do to the psyche of one of our favorite ditzy, yet smokin-hot celebrity blondes. Has Tony Romo stopped for even one second to consider how his success is impacting Joe Simpson's eldest daughter with the wonderful cleavage? We think not. And what a cold bastard that makes him.

The Cowboys are, like Ms. Simpson, smokin' hot right now. Along with the Chargers, they have been playing the best football over the past two months. Will it continue? I don't know. I do know that they signed the defensive coordinator that the Miami Dolphins just fired and he's already gonna be pressed into service, because their DLine coach is leaving to be the defensive coordinator at Georgia. That can't be good.

On the other side, the only reason we can see to pull for the Vikings is if you want to root for two former Gamecocks: Jasper Brinkley and Sidney Rice. HIM's feelings were getting hurt about no attention, so he made a wisecrack at his press conference this week saying he'd see everybody next week. The Cowboys have taken this to mean HIM was guaranteeing victory.

I think this game is gonna be the closest of the weekend, which should probably be fair warning to all of you of the potential blowout in the works.

BTPC pick = Cowboys taking the points.

Jets (+7) v. CHARGERS

If you have not seen the LT Slide video yet, click here immediately. can you pick a team who's "star" makes something this corny?'ve got an out: LT ain't the Charger's marque player anymore. He's been surpassed by Rivers, Sproles, Gates and Jackson. Get ready for plenty of shots of LT standing on the sidelines, hiding behind his tinted facemask.

As the Sportsguy pointed out in his picks column, who knows what the hell is gonna play out in a game between two teams who have both been tied in the press this year to publicity-whore, bi-sexual, reality-tv and tabloid feature Tila Tequila. Not since Barret Robbins disappeared to Tijuana the night before the Super Bowl has tequila had so much of a connection to a NFL Playoff game.

We don't really need to reiterate our hate for Rex Ryan's Jets do we? Good. This is the week Sanchez has to throw for them to win, which means it's the week the Jets turn back into their pumpkin.

BTPC pick = Chargers laying the points.

Last week: 1-3
Season to date: 124-119-7 Upset Specials 7-9-2

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