Kickoff is less than three hours away. Which means it’s time to blog!
At some point, on some radio station, I heard these Jets-Chargers gems from a very serious radio person: It will come to Rex Ryan vs. Philip Rivers. And while the Chargers have won 11 in a row, San Diego isn’t all that impressive because some of the games have been CLOSE! (That is the stuff of genius. So the head coaches and quarterbacks really do matter — imagine that! — and it somehow means LESS to show the toughness to win CLOSE games in the NFL. Sigh.)
Hey there, time for picks. After a 3-1 week in the wild card round, I’ll admit to showing uncharacteristic cockiness when we made our picks Tuesday prior to taping “This Week in Football.” I might pay for that today and tomorrow … but at least I’m not in last place! (Here’s to celebrating victories, however small.)
Cardinals over Saints because I love Kurt Warner in the playoffs. When I made the pick, I thought Boldin would play. But Warner and Fitzgerald are so tough, and it’s not like the Arizona offense doesn’t have other weapons. This should be a wild one and the Superdome will be nuts. (By the way, the Saints are so fun and such a great story that I won’t be sad if they win. I’m just not sure they will. So I’m emotionally hedging, but the pick is Arizona.)
Colts over Ravens because of Peyton and Dallas Clark and Reggie Wayne. After that competitive disgrace in Week 16, it would be pigskin poetry for the Colts to lose in front of an angry home crowd, but I doubt they will.
I feel like I’ve been to Minneapolis for a million sporting events. One trip stands out. A few of us reporter-types were at dinner in downtown Minny in the fall of 2004. Nice restaurant. Expensed meal. Good time. Out of the blue, Steve Serby of the NY Post — he is terrific and his Sunday Q&As are must-reads — interrupts the table next to us to tell one of the women that she looks “just like Teresa Heinz Kerry.” Well, that didn’t go over particularly well, with the woman or her husband. We continued eating while stifling laughter. Let me tell you, that wasn’t easy.
So I’ll go with the Vikings over the Cowboys because of home-dome advantage and because of my guy, Favre. It’s as simple as that. (By the way, you have to love the evidence, usually presented in graphic form, that the Cowboys have Favre’s number in postseason. That was in the mid-90s! A decade ago! Tony Romo was going through puberty! As my favorite no-show, Ochocinco, would say, Child please. If Dallas wins, it won’t be because of a game in 1990-something.)
And finally, I think the Chargers beat the Jets. Too many weapons for the Jets and their Revis Island defense to deal with. So Revis negates Jackson. Who accounts for Gates and Sproles and Floyd and Tomlinson?
And Sanchez will truly show remarkable progress if he duplicates his composed, mistake-free performance that was on display in Cincy. Rivers is good, really good, particularly in December and January. This might be the year he plays in February.
That’s it for now. If you want to chat after the weekend, give me a call on WFAN at 10 a.m. Monday. I’ll be on with my buddy, Carlin. Yeah! We don’t promise genius, but we do promise fun.
I can’t exactly explain how these weeks get away from me. And now, on a Saturday just before Jets kickoff, I’m trying to find a plumber. That’s going well.
“This Week in Football” has few flaws, in my mind. (Producer Jared Boshnack sees to that.) But this is one: In an unprecedented move, we are continuing to make our picks during the postseason. Which means I still could finish last in the standings. Ugh. Gary is a mere game behind me, to which I say, “Go Cardinals!”
My picks: Jets over Bengals, and I believe this was a unanimous selection among our crew. I think the Jets can beat the Bengals again, even in a game that matters, by sticking with the run and limiting the damage Sanchez can do.
Went with the Cowboys over the Eagles because Romo and Co. have home-field advantage and because the Eagles, with the No. 2 seed on the line, uncorked a complete clunker last week in Big D.
Sunday’s picks: Patriots and Cardinals. Can’t see Belichick and Brady losing at home to the Ravens, even without Welker. And I’m alone among our group in picking the Cards. Love Warner and Fitzgerald. But if the Packers win, I’m in last place. Yikes.