Sunday, January 15, 2006

A Late Word About the Football
Four extremely good games this weekend, as most everyone expected. Divisional playoff weekend is usually the best NFL weekend of the year.

Sunday: a classic finish for Colts/Steelers, one you'd scarcely believe without seeing it. How sick are the Colts about this, their best chance to make the Super Bowl? Their nemesis, New England, is no longer in their way--and they can't get past the number-six seed in the AFC. Their kicker is probably the second-most reliable in the NFL, but he missed with all the money on the table--although the game was lost before then, when Peyton Manning, the best QB in the NFL not named Tom Brady, couldn't do his usual magic.

Bears/Panthers: also a great game with a breathless finish. Rex Grossman played a better game than I expected, but when he needed to pull it out at the end, he didn't. Both this game and the Colts/Steelers games were poorly officiated, by the way--at one point, I remarked to The Mrs. that Bears fans have been complaining for 25 years about getting jobbed by the refs, but that as of today, it was now time for them to shut up, although a few minutes later, the refs missed calling a delay-of-game penalty on the Bears, and the resulting play ended up in Carolina intercepting a pass. So after a quarter-century of bitching about penalties called, I am guessing that somewhere, they started bitching about the one that didn't get called.

Losers. Shut up and go home.

Saturday: I'm reluctant to say that Denver beat New England--it was more a case of New England losing to Denver, with all the mistakes and turnovers New England committed. In retrospect, it may be that New England's late-season run was destined to end like that--they probably lacked the talent of previous teams, and momentum, luck, and guts can only take you so far. Now that Denver has beaten the champs, it may be time for me to start believing in them. But I don't have to say just yet.

Redskins/Seahawks: a better game than I expected, although it was the result I expected. Not the dominating Seahawk performance I expected, though, even though the Redskins were lucky to be in the playoffs to begin with, and Cinderella's coach usually turns into a pumpkin more or less on time. Seattle will need a more thorough effort than that to beat Carolina next weekend.

I was 2-and-2 on the weekend (right on the Seahawks and Panthers, wrong on New England and Indianapolis), and now I'm 5-and-3 overall. Predictions for the coming weekend's games will be up Friday or Saturday.

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