I’ll post my NFL predictions for this season now and talk about a couple of things I think will crucial this upcoming season. A couple of things to look out for will be the age of the New England Patriots’ defense. No one expects them to run the table again in the regular season but people might be in for a surprise if their age finally catches up to them and they end up losing 4 or 5 games. Also, who knows how injured Tom Brady really is and how effective he’ll be in the early parts of the season?
In the NFC, Aaron Rodgers has been handed a wonderful team but a great receiving group and all he has to do is not try to be Brett Favre. If he can stick to the short passes and allow the receivers to do their work with YAC as they did last year along with the new found running game in Ryan Grant – the Packers could really repeat as one of the top two seeds in the conference. New York Giants on the other hand have lost two considerablely talented players on defense and will that blow be big enough to keep them out of the playoffs? I doubt it because their offense has matured well enough and Eli should be able to carry a team to a couple of wins just by himself this year.
In the playoffs, you can never count out Brett Favre and certainly he’s not done with the way he played last year. Cold weather will be not be an issue and just might be something to provide Jets’ fans with something to hope for. However, let’s all be realistic. The Jets went 4-12 last year and just making the playoffs this year will be a dramatic improvement so I doubt they advance much further even though I do have them winning a game in the post-season.
Is this the year that Tony Romo finally breaks through and stops choking in the clutch? I think so. Packers losing Favre drops their main threat to be #1 once again in the conference and they had all the opportunities in the world to beat the Giants last year in the Divisional Round and if Romo can control the ball, they would have at least been a game away from going to the Super Bowl. No reason to expect the same progress this year, if not a little bit more poise and potentially a couple more wins in the post-season.
Does a Manning win a Super Bowl this year as well? Well that would make it three years in a row with Peyton and his Colts beating the Bears in 2007 although the loss of Jeff Saturday in the early parts of the season can slow down their progress but probably not enough to keep them from winning the division yet again en route to the Super Bowl XLIII victory on February 1, 2009.
Well I went 0/2 today, much to the delight of all Giants’ fans out there but I am going to start with the Chargers/Colts first. Who really saw this upset coming? The verdict was out in the Giants game where they had two quality games against the Patriots and then a solid game against the Bucs last week but the Chargers who were winners of their past 7 games really were not given any respect, myself included. Their defense really buckled down and slowed the Colts offense enough for the battered and bruised Charger offense to squeak out this victory. As if no respect was not enough, the Chargers go on to lose LT and Phillip Rivers for most of the 2nd half and still pull this off. Sure guts and determination can pull out a victory but they will need a complete healthy arsenal if they want to have a shot next week.
Eli Manning did this wrong, Eli Manning did that wrong. That is all we have heard about him for the past few years but man has he turned things around. Everyone questioned Tom Coughlin for playing his starters in the last game of the season with “nothing” on the line… yea, the Giants had the progress of their playoff season on the line. I guarantee it that if Coughlin benches his players that game, they are out of sync for the playoffs, they do not have the confidence they have in Eli now, and they are probably sitting at home next week instead of having a shot at the Super Bowl.
Certainly looking forward to next week now, more on the NFC side. I know all the Giants fan have certainly rallied behind their team and I probably would have to but they are playing the Green Bay Packers. The very same Green Bay Packers who played in the very first NFL game I watched back in 1997. The very same Green Bay Packers who had Brett Favre at their helm back then. The very same Green Bay Packers who went to the Super Bowl (hopefully they will win it instead of losing it like they did in 1997). Green Bay cannot afford to take this Giants team lightly because confidence is a very dangerous opponent to be up against and the Packers will be facing just that in this New York Giants football team.
I will have a more in depth preview on both games on Friday but I will leave on a few factual notes from today…
– Dallas Cowboys become the first NFC team seeded #1 to lose in the Divisional Playoff round since the NFL expanded to a 12 team playoff system
– San Diego Chargers win a road playoff game for the first time since 1982
– New York Giants have not committed a turnover in this playoff season
– Teams scoring first in the playoffs this year are now 2-6 (Giants and Seattle)