Thursday, January 20, 2005

NFL picks, week 20- Conference Championships

Hey kids,
I must apologize for my sloppy handicapping.
Once again, I find myself batting .500 when I should be running the board.
Anyway, we're down to four teams, and I feel I've got 'em locked.
Philadelphia will finally get over the conference hump and beat Atlanta. I admit, I said earlier that the Falcons are the scariest team in the playoffs, and I still think so. But the Eagles are not running away.
Most people left the Eagles for dead last weekend against the Vikes (including myself) but their defense contained an ailing Randy Moss and his compliment of receivers, and stopped the running game, leaving Duante Culpepper naked.
The key to beating Atlanta is to contain Michael Vick. Keep him in the pocket, force him to throw and your team will win more often than not.
Vick is too inconsistant to win a big game with his arm, and the Philly defense won't allow him to scramble.
If Philly plays their game right, Vick will have thrown four picks, including one at the end to clinch the game for the Eagles.
Atlanta surprised nobody when they beat the Rams, and they shouldn't surprise anybody when they fall to Philly.
Speaking of surprises, did anybody think the Colts would be held to 3 points in a playoff game against a supposedly depleted defense? It's not unprescedented.
Remember just two seasons ago when the Colts fell to the hapless Jets, 41-0 in the first round? Of course, this was supposed to be a better Indianapolis team.
With Peyton Manning breaking the single season touchdown passing record, how could this banged up Patriot secondary defeat them?
By taking them off the carpet, out of the dome and into this thing called weather, and having the king spider Bill Belichek weave a titillating web.
The Pats turned the most explosive offense into a pop warner team, and Pittsburgh, who got very lucky against the Jets, will be swallowed whole by the giant shark lurking beneath the wave they have ridden all season long. The steel curtain falls in the AFC conference championship.
A defense depleted by injury? The Pats scoffed at that theory last weekend and Ben Roethlisberger, who is no better than Eli Manning or Philip Rivers, will learn a very tough lesson.
Yes, I said it. Big Ben is no better than the other quarterbacks drafted with him. He had the benefit of the most athletic team in the NFL surrounding him, and either of the other two qb's would have succeeded in that program. Although I think the Steeler defense can stop anybody, I'm convinced that New England can do the same.
Expect both running games to be sharp, but the Patriot passing attack will have the Steeler secondary grabbing their socks.
As for the Superbowl, I can't go against New England. They are far superior to Philly in all facets of the game, including the quarterback position.
Tom Brady has proven he can win games with his arm, where Donavan McNabb has lost three NFC conference championships in a row until this season. Philly lacks the tools on offense to make a dent in this Patriot defense that was supposed to lose to Indy.
No, Philly will fall in the Superbowl, but the fact that they make it there will be a small victory for them, getting over the NFC hump once and for all.
The Pats will continue their marvelous roll as dynasty, until Foxborough gets snowed in and they can't make the flight to the next game.