Monday, December 18, 2006

Football Roundup

Yes, once again, it's the weekly JohnMcG football round-up post. Hey, it's shorter than Easterbrook!

Eagles Not Dead

The Eagles now have the inside track for a wild card spot, and are set up for a huge game on Christmas Day in Dallas.

In the wide-open NFC, I'd say they have a chance.

NFC Front-Runners Falter

Yeah, the Bears found a way to beat the Bucs, but that's not how a dominant team plays. And lost in the hubbub over their drubbing of the Rams last week, is that the two kick-off returns amounted to the margin of victory over a 5-7 team on what was essentially a neutral field.

In other words, they're vulnerable. They are far too reliant on a QB who is prone to stinkers.

The Cowboys won, but they had looked bad against the Saints the previous week. The Saints lost in what was a let-down game, but they still don't scare anybody. The Seahawks lost at home to the 49ers.

I predict the NFC Champion will be one of the wild cards.

Steelers defeat Panthers

The shocking thing to me is that, with both teams having equally disappointing seasons (and because of the conferences, the Steelers' season being lost before the Panthers'), it was a mostly pro-Steelers crowd in Charlotte yesterday.

I can see Bears fans making the trip to St. Louis for a game. I can see fans of cold-weather teams making a snowbird trip to places like San Diego, Miami, Tampa, or Phoenix for a November-December game. But Pittsburgh to Charlotte?

And the Panthers have to be the most disappointing team this year. The NFC is eminently winnable (see above), and they kept losing and now seem to have packed it in (unlike my Eagles).

Your Super Bowl Favorites -- the San Diego Chargers

There's a damn good team.

But wait -- don't they have the same problem the Bears do -- relying on a shaky inexperienced QB?

Not exactly, because the Chargers can get offense even if Phillip Rivers is shaky, because they have the best player in the NFL running the ball for them -- LaDanian Tomlinson. Man, he's fun to watch. And the Bears don't have anythging like him. They have Hester running back kicks, and a smart playoff team won't let him hurt them.

Which leaves Mart Schottenheimer's playoff record as their most glaring weak spot, but as Bill Simmons wrote:

Just look at everything that happened this decade so far. Roy Williams, Tom Izzo, Larry Brown, Tony LaRussa and Bill Cowher won championships. The Patriots won three Super Bowls. The Red Sox and White Sox won World Series in back-to-back years. Phil Mickelson won a couple of majors. The Pistons won a championship without a franchise player. Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson won Super Bowls. Steve Nash won back-to-back MVPs. The Diamondbacks and Marlins both beat the Yankees to win the World Series. Pete Carroll won back-to-back national titles.

Seriously, you're telling me that San Diego can't win a Super Bowl?

Amen -- I don't think Schottenheimer's going to stop them.

Tonight's Game

I think tonight's game is even bigger for the Colts than the one in Foxboro. They absolutely must demonstrate they can stop the run and end the tailspin. If they don't I think the fallout will include Tony Dungy's job.

And I really don't think they will.


Keifus said...

In other football news, the Pats can still look good against terrible teams.

Wrt Indy's game, I just hope Rudi scores a touchdown or two. Cinci's defense isn't too shoddy, but given their opponents, they'll probably look like a sieve. Should be an interesting game...I may even watch a quarter.


JohnMcG said...

One thing I obviously forgot about -- the Bengals' porous defense gave the Colts' offense a great chance to get well.

I also neglected to comment on the Rams' defeat of the Raiders in what may have been the ugliest game I've ever seen parts of. If you can't score against the Rams, you're in trouble.

august said...

Never make the same prediction as Simmons. He's a great writer, a disasterous prognosticator.

I can't quite bring myself to root for the Giants (more on that later) but I do feel badly for them. The bozos.