Friday, January 20, 2006

Conference Championship Picks; Other Football Thoughts

Broncos/Steelers: The 2 seed at home versus the 6 seed. On paper, looking at records, the Broncos have to be the favorites, and they, at -3 according to the oddsmakers. On paper, the Colts were favored by 10 points over Pittsburgh, but the Steelers came out and had their way with them. As Kenny Maybe says, “We know these games aren’t played on paper, but by little men inside our TV sets.”

And I think those little men will provide a very good game. Both teams are effective running the ball, have “efficient” quarterbacks (oh crap, I just said Jake Plummer is efficient), and very good defenses. This game, I believe, will come down to Quarterbacks and Special Teams.

For that reason, I like Pittsburgh, because I think Ben Roethlisberger is a very good QB, and Antwaan Randle El is capable of making big plays in the return game. I think both teams will be able to neutralize the other teams’ rushing attack, but Randle El will be able to help in the field position game, and Roethlisberger will make a couple of big plays, specifically to TE Heath Miller, just like last week. Because of Big Ben, my pick is with Pittsburgh in a close, relatively low-scoring game.

Steelers 20-14


Seahwaks/Panthers
: The Seahawks are undefeated at home, and the Panthers will be without their top RB, and the Seahakws should have the MVP Shaun Alexander back. Seahawks win, right? As Lee Corso would say, “not so fast my friend!” The Panthers will still have the best player on the field (Steve Smith), the better defense, and the better coach.

Quarterback wise, I think it’s about a wash. Hasselbeck and Delhomme are both very solid, and both can make plays, as they showed last week. Alexander and the Seahawks O-Line gives Seattle en edge in the rushing game, but Nick Goings is no scrub. I think this one will come down to Steve Smith and Jake Delhomme making plays, and the Panthers defense coming up with a stop late in the game when they need to. The Seahawks have the home-field advantage, but the Panthers have already won on the road twice in this postseason.

Panthers 24-20


Other News: According to si.com, who quotes the St. Paul Pioneer Press, "It now seems that the Vikings will trade troubled quarterback Daunte Culpepper to the highest bidder, which could be Oakland or Baltimore, in early March."

This sucks. Daunte had one of the best years ever two years ago, and even though he had a bad year last year before he got hurt, I'm confident he will be the franchise player, especially under Brad Childress. Of course, it doesn't help when you demand a raise after throwing 6 TD and 12 INT, and then majorly hurting your knee, as Daunte has done. I'm hoping this all gets resolved and Daunte is the Minnesota Vikings opening-day starter.