Jan 21, 2011

Weekend Picks

The NFL has reached its final four. Two teams advance to the Super Bowl, two go home. Out of the four teams left, here's the order of who I'd most like to see win the Super Bowl:
  1. Green Bay (NFC #6)
  2. Pittsburgh (AFC #2)
  3. Chicago (NFC #2)
  4. New York (AFC #6)
The top two are the ones everyone is picking, so you know what that means? That won't be the Super Bowl matchup. So what will it be? Two #6 seeds? Two #2 seeds or #2 vs. #6 (but which one)?

Here are my picks:

Packers 20
Bears 27

Jets 17
Steelers 21

I'll be rooting for the Packers, but I just have a feeling. Everything lined up for the Bears this year and they already beat Green Bay once. The weather and field conditions will be a factor, and as awesome as Aaron Rogers has been playing, it'll be tough for him to repeat it against a division opponent (who they played in week 17), on the road at Soldier Field.

For the other game, I just don't want to see the Jets make the Super Bowl. I don't know if I'd be able to take the 2-week buildup with Rex Ryan. The Jets have been a circus this year starting with Hard Knocks, but the media love New York and the Jets play up everything. The Steelers are a working class team, and while many still despise Ben Roethlisberger, I could live with them making the Super Bowl. They've been there before and act like it. The Jets haven't been in years, yet act like they win every year.

Both games should be fun.

Jan 20, 2011

A letter to Saints fans

Saints fans,

I know this year's playoffs haven't been fun to watch (besides the Falcons getting destroyed against the Packers), but remember one thing. These 14 teams:

Atlanta Falcons
Carolina Panthers
Philadelphia Eagles
Arizona Cardinals
Seattle Seahawks
Detroit Lions
Minnesota Vikings
Houston Texans
Tennessee Titans
Jacksonville Jaguars
Cleveland Browns
Cincinnati Bengals
Buffalo Bills
San Diego Chargers

have never won the Super Bowl. Heck, the Jaguars, Browns, Texans and Lions have never played in the big game.

So Saints fans, even though we lost to the Seahawks in the first round and the NFC playoffs shaped up in a way that the NFC Championship game could have been played in the Superdome, remember that none of those 14 teams will be hoisting the Lombardi trophy this year either (All four teams left in the playoffs have won the Superbowl), so their fans are going another year without enjoying the biggest celebration in sports.

Jan 14, 2011

Weekend Picks

College football is over, the Saints season is done, but the NFL Playoffs are still going strong. Here are my picks for this weekends Divisional Playoffs:

Ravens 17
Steelers 22

Packers 21

Falcons 20

Seahawks 27

Bears 20

Jets 13

Patriots 38

Jan 12, 2011

Les Miles Staying at LSU

Sorry Les Miles haters, the Mad Hatter is staying in Tiger Town and not going to Michigan and there's really no reason he should leave LSU. Four 11 win seasons (and LSU has six total), a national championship, a 5-1 bowl record, top 5 recruiting classes every year. Why leave all that for a rebuilding situation?

Jan 10, 2011


Where to start? The defending Super Bowl champions were an 11-point favorite on the road to a team with a losing record, but records don't matter this time of year and that's why they play the game.

The Saints looked lackluster, especially on defense, in their 41-36 wild card loss to Seattle. But it's been that kind of year for these Saints.

Gone from this team was the hunger, the fight to finish, the killer instinct. To finish the year 11-5, the second best record in the conference, as the defending Super Bowl champ is actually a major accomplishment. Look back at past Super Bowl winners. Many of them didn't sniff the playoffs the following year. But this season can be nothing but a disappointment for the boys in black and gold.

Each and every week they got their opponents' best efforts, as evidenced by losses to Arizona and Cleveland. But they stepped up in big games against the NFL's best. Just look at the games against Pittsburgh, at Tampa and at Atlanta. That is how the Saints were supposed to play each and every week, but the consistency just wasn't there and in the end, the inconsistencies were exposed. That and the injury bug hit them hard. I firmly believe that the outcome of the Seattle game would be different had Malcolm Jenkins been healthy, but there's lots of room for what-ifs in the offseason now that the Saints have been eliminated.

So where do they go from here? The Saints are still one of the top teams in the league, but if there is football next fall, they will look differently than they do now. Tough decisions will need to be made with key free agents like Pierre Thomas, Heath Evans, Lance Moore, Jermon Bushrod, Zach Strief, Carl Nicks, Jeff Charleston, Leigh Torrence, Usama Young, Roman Harper and restricted free agents like Jonathan Goodwin, Darren Sharper, Scott Shanle, Remi Ayodele and Anthony Hargrove. That's a lot of the Saints starters and key contributors. But how many will they be able to retain and improve the roster?

That's not even bringing up the biggest decision of all: What do you do with Reggie Bush? He's important to the offense, but obviously injury prone and not worth the $11 million or so that he'll be due. He's got to restructure or be let go. It's unfortunate, but if the Saints truly want to model themselves after the Patriots, then you have to let stars go sometimes for the betterment of the team.

It is sure to be an interesting offseason and here's hoping that the owners and players can come an agreement soon (hopefully one that doesn't expand the season to 18 games) so we have football to look forward to again in the fall.

Jan 7, 2011

Weekend Picks

Lots of big games this weekend. The bowl season is wrapping up and the NFL playoffs are starting.

LSU finally gets to play their bowl game, the longest layoff they've had since playing in the BCS national championship game. Perhaps the most exciting thing about the Cotton Bowl is that it's held in the new Cowboys Stadium, so LSU gets to preview the venue before opening up next season there against Oregon. There is some intrigue with the Tigers. I'll be especially interested in seeing if the extra practice time has been beneficial to the QBs, but the most intrigue could come after the game with the almost annual Miles to Michigan talk.

The Saints will start their Super Bowl defense on the road at 7-9 Seattle. Lucky for the Saints that they get the worst playoff team in NFL history because the injury bug has bitten the team hard. RBs Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory are on IR and starters Malcolm Jenkins and Jimmy Graham are likely out as well. On a normal day, Drew Brees will be enough to beat the Seahawks, but the game will be in rainy Quest Field, one of the NFL's toughest venues, and the Saints will be shorthanded. Also, to tempt fate a little more, the team has chosen to wear their awful black pants (the same pants that they repeatedly play bad in). Why not hang it all out there and really stack the odds against a Super Bowl repeat?

There are lots of other great games this weekend, including the BCS Championship on Monday.

Here are my predictions:

Cotton Bowl:
LSU 19
Texas A&M 14

Wild Card Weekend:
Saints 28
Seahawks 14

Jets 23
Colts 32

Ravens 31
Chiefs 16

Packers 20

BCS National Championship:
Auburn 31
Oregon 38