I didn't do too badly last week, going 3-1 straight up (stupid Tampa) and 2-1-1 against the spread. Now, on to the divisional round of the playoffs, where each game has a decided favorite. We'll go through these in chronological order.
Hey, you know who the last team to win a playoff game at Lambeau Field is? Here's a hint. . .it's not Green Bay, something that I don't think will be different after today.
Gonzo's Final Score Prediction: Seahawks 24, Packers 20
(Disclaimer: I'm not claiming that all Packer fans are spineless, gutless, worthless, pathetic, racist pieces of garbage. Just the vast majority of those that congregate at that particular forum, and the people that run it in particular. And remember, folks, that's Packer Report. . .where racism is not only tolerated, it's damn near encouraged.)
Ever since their victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday, all the talk has been about how the Jags have a great shot to end New England's undefeated dream season and all this other good stuff. And as loathe as I am to agree with Bill Simmons these days. . .as he's become an almost completely unreadable douchenozzle ever since the Boston sports teams actually became any good. . .he does have some interesting figures in his latest column:
-Belichick's playoff record in New England: 14-2
-Brady's playoff record at home: 6-0
-Belichick's record against Jack Del Rio: 3-0
-New England's lifetime record against Jacksonville: 7-1
-New England's 2007 regular-season record: 16-0
-Number of '07 Patriots wins by 14-plus points: 11
-Record of '07 Jags after falling behind by more than seven points: 0-4
The Jags' performance against the Steelers last weekend didn't do a whole lot to encourage me to pick them in this week's contest. See, in order for a team to beat the Patriots, they're going to have to be absolutely, positively perfect for 60 minutes. Do I think that Jacksonville is a team that's capable of playing 60 minutes of perfect football? Maybe. . .but not against the Pats.
I don't think it's a question of whether the Pats win or not. . .it's a matter of whether or not they cover the number. I think that they will.
Gonzo's Final Score Prediction: Patriots 34, Jaguars 17
By far the most interesting game of the weekend, in my opinion. The big "story" going into this one (if you can call it that) is the fact that Tony Romo and his girlfriend,
Yoko Jessica Simpson spent a portion of the Cowboys' off-week leading up to this one in Cabo San Lucas. Why is this a big story? I don't know. . .probably because Romo is a "superstar" and Jessica Simpson has huge. . .tracts of land.
On the football side of the ledger, the Cowboys haven't looked especially good for the better part of the last month and a half, to be honest. They played a great first half against Green Bay, struggled to beat a Detroit team that was seriously on the skids, lost to Philadelphia, struggled against Carolina (losing the other #81 in the process), and got thumped by Washington in a game where, yes, they rested their starters. . .but the starters looked like junk for the time they were in there (from what I saw while flipping back and forth between that game and Vikings/Broncos).
Meanwhile, the Giants rolled into Tampa Bay last week, and while Eli Manning wasn't unstoppable like his Citizen Eco-Drive, he played a pretty solid game of football. Granted, the Bucs inexplicably didn't blitz the crap out of him all afternoon. . .I don't think that the Cowboys are going to have a problem with doing that sort of thing.
The big question in this one, to me, is how effective is the Cowboys' offense. . .which hasn't looked all that good in a few weeks and with Terrell Owens not being 100%. . .be against the Giants' outstanding pass rush. If Romo and company can get their timing back somehow, I think they can exploit the Giants' secondary even with T.O. being gimpy. It remains to be seen if they can do that, however.
My answer. . .I think that the Cowboys are going to pull this one out, but it's going to be much closer and much more interesting than I would have thought had you asked me 6 weeks ago.
Gonzo's Final Score Prediction: Cowboys 27, Giants 24
San Diego Chargers at Indianapolis Colts (-9)
If you'll recall, these two teams met earlier this season in a prime time game in San Diego. That game saw Peyton Manning have one of the worst nights of his career (throwing 6 interceptions), and also saw the Chargers' Darren Sproles return both a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown. With all that taking place, you can totally understand how the Chargers blew the Colts out by. . .
Two points. And that after Adam Vinateri missed a field goal that he could make 99% of the time kicking left-footed.
Now, the Chargers have to travel TO Indianapolis, who are now armed with a healthy Marvin Harrison, who have rested for a week to get the rest of their players healthy, and have been getting overlooked by the majority of people all season long. Heck, Tony Dungy led this team to a 13-3 record with all the team's injuries (3 losses by a combined 12 points, mind you. . .one of which was a game his backups played the majority of), and I didn't hear him get any serious discussion for Coach of the Year, did you?
See where I'm going here?
Gonzo's Final Score Prediction: Colts 34, Chargers 13
There you are, folks. . .enjoy your wild card weekend!