A huge sports weekend is on tap with Greg Oden visiting Champaign and yours truly checking out Ben Wallace facing the Pistons for the first time this season in person. There’s also the matter of sorting out the NFL playoffs and determining who will end up facing the wrath of Hurricane Ditka at Soldier Field in Round 2. Here are my picks against the spread (home teams in CAPS):
(1) INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (-7) over Kansas City Chiefs – I’ve been betting against Indy for the last several years when they were the darlings of the NFL, but now that they’ve been almost relegated to yesterday’s news with the offensive explosiveness of the Chargers this season, I think there’s going to be a bit of fire here with Peyton Manning’s squad. Getting Kansas City was the best matchup possible for Indianapolis in the wild card round since the Colts can always hang with an opponent that tries to outscore them as opposed to utilizing a strong defense.
(2) SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-2.5) over Dallas Cowboys – Despite rumblings to the contrary, I have no personal vendetta against either Notre Dame or the Dallas Cowboys. What I do have a problem with, however, is the general public salivating over overrated teams that clearly don’t deserve the accolades, which has been the case with the Irish and Cowboys this year. The comparisons between the two teams are uncanny: the media has gone overboard on stories on the resuscitation of their “marquee” statuses, their starting quarterbacks have been canonized even though their gaudy stats have come against subpar opponents (why the Fox Sports crew that worked the Sugar Bowl kept insisting that the Raiders would take Brady Quinn with the first pick in the NFL Draft after just witnessing Jamarcus Russell, who is taller, bigger, faster, and has better arm strength and accuracy shred the Irish head to head is beyond me while, with apologies to the Eastern Illinois fans out there, Tony Romo has absolutely no business being in the Pro Bowl) , their flashy offensive players have masked the fact that their defenses are awful, and add on top of that the fact that Charlie Weis inherited the supposed “genius” label from his mentor Bill Parcells (IMHO, Lawrence Taylor and Tom Brady could make anyone look like football geniuses). All of this comes down to the conclusion that the Cowboys are the very definition of an overrated team. Therefore, the Seahawks will win by default.
(3) New York Giants (+7) over PHILADELPHIA EAGLES – The Eagles are going to win this game with a whole lot of Brian Westbrook, but I really don’t like the prospect of having to give a touchdown when Jeff Garcia is at the helm. By the way, is it just me or does Garcia look like the Mayor of Munchkinland in an Eagles uniform? I don’t remember him appearing so waifish with his previous teams, so maybe it’s just the contrast between him and the bigger-boned Donovan McNabb.
(4) NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-8.5) over New York Jets – I like the Jets overall and would have picked them if they were playing any of the other AFC Wild Card teams. However, there’s no way that Bill Belichick is allowing his team to lose this game to the prodigal son Eric Mangini. Belichick is the one guy of the Parcells Mafia that truly does deserve the genius label.
Have a great weekend and Go Illini and Go Bulls!
(Image from The Wordlink)