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Friday, January 06, 2006 

NFL Playoff Weekend #1 con't

It would appear that my choices of Washington, and especially Jacksonville were met with a lot of disagreement yesterday. That's fine, people are welcome to whatever views the media has decided to give them. And I'm welcome to call games properly. Kudos, however, to mister anonymous who informed me in a comment yesterday that both Jacksonville sucks, and that I'm a dumbass. He almost convinced me to change my mind. A couple more comments like that and it just might happen.

That aside, here are my remaining picks for the first weekend of the playoffs:

PITTSBURGH -3 Cincinnati

The Carson Palmer experience is coming to an end this weekend. And I'm not sure that I just mean for this season. I understand the Bengals wanting to reward someone for finally, after 79 and a half years of failure in a row, turning things around for them. I understand that they want to show their fans that they are committed to winning again, and that they are trying to ensure success into the future. I'm not sure, however, if signing a Quarterback to a long contract after one decent season is really the way to do it. He plays a style I think defenses can figure out a way around. Cleveland showed some strong evidence of this in a late season loss to their state rivals. It's fully possible that Palmer can adjust as well, and it's also quite possible that he could be the next big QB in the league. But I don't really think there is enough evidence to strongly stand by that yet. The Bengals did prematurely, but like I said, I can understand the thinking that goes on in the minds of a team that still isn't used to crossing the 5 win mark by the end of the year, let alone by the 6th week. But they stumbled to the finish line, and Palmer stumbled along with them. And nothing suggests that they are ready for the playoffs.

It's hard, however, not to like a team that's been a basement dweller year after year only to surprise everyone by easing their way into the playoffs. It's hard also not to feel for them in being the higher ranked team, but still being called the underdog. You want this team to succeed. You want them to be the Cinderella story. You want them to easily handle the Steelers and show all their detractors wrong yet again. But they won't. They got the worst possible playoff draw. They got a team that, baring injuries, could have and probably should have been a top 2 seed. They got handed an early playoff exit. And certainly by more than 3 points. Let your heart take the Bengals, but let your money take the Steelers. Above all else, lets just hope this game doesn’t get out of reach early enough that we'll have to listen to retelling upon retelling of Cinderella stories that meet their end and so on. I know it's hard to fill the air in a game that's already decided, but no one wants to listen to that. Not the Bengals fans that are seeing what could have been slip from their fingers after years of agony. And not the Steelers fans who want to enjoy their win. And certainly not those of us who fall in neither category who just want to watch a football game. Which reminds me, did anyone catch any of those CFL games on CBC this past summer during the strike? The ones with no announcers, no irrelevant stats, and no hard-core graphics shoved in your face. Just the game. The field noise, the crowds, the calls on the PA system. The game and nothing more. Those are games I'll never forget, and certainly won't be privy to ever again. And it's too bad.

NYG -2.5 Carolina

This is, hands down, the game of the weekend. This could go either way. The Giants losses this season were against stronger teams than Carolinas losses. And I like their offense more than I like the Panthers defense. And I really have nothing else to base this decision on. I'll take the Giants to win, but there's no way I'd put money on this one. But I am excited to see what happens. This will be a game.

So, to summarize take:

WASHINGTON +2.5 Tampa Bay
JACKSONVILLE +7.5 New England
PITTSBURGH -3 Cincinnati
NYG -2.5 Carolina

3 lower seeds to win in the first week. Somehow I get the feeling that Carolina will be the only one who actually pulls it off. Will I ever hear about that.

Anyway, with all that NFL ugliness behind us for the week, I have to ask - did anyone see that Devils game tonight? It seem I came up a little short it predicting almost a point a game from Elias in his humbled condition. From what I can see, he looks nothing resembling humbled. If this is the condition he is in, how can it be possible that he wasn't ready to go a week or two ago? 5 points in 2 games. Welcome back Patrick, they really need you. And if you met a couple of defensemen in the Hep ward, feel free to bring them along as well. I'm sure this team would take anyone at this point. They did bring Tommy Albelin out of retirement already. Seriously, they did. He was their number 5 defenseman at best when he was in the prime of his career. I think that says enough right there.

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  • Kent MacDonald
  • Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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    Monday, August 21

    Oak 12, Tor 10
    NYY 2, Bos 1
    Det 7, CWS 1
    TB 4, Tex 3
    Atl 3, Pit 0
    Fla 3, Was 1
    Cin 4, Hou 3
    Phi 6, ChC 5
    SD 4, LA 2
    SF 5, Ari 0

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