It's time for the preliminary fighters to step aside and make way for the main eventers.
There wasn't that much of a wonderful nature among weekend runners, either. Aside from the dash and flash supplied by the Jaguars' little
But that's OK. Interesting matchups, not general excellence, are what's called for in the wild-card round, and there was certainly plenty of that. Now it's time to bring in the big boys, and if you're like me, your favorite weekend of the postseason is coming up, the Divisional Playoffs. Four games, with all the good teams represented. It's like the Elite Eight of the NCAA basketball tournament.
To sum up last weekend and the one coming up:
The result was a running attack that got squashed, and a lot of catches by
Or will he pull back and try to get Favre into one of his interception modes via a lot of coverage people downfield?
I can't get the picture out of my head about how Favre worked that multiple-wideout run 'n shoot thing against the Lions, and how natural it seemed to him, which is amazing since he was born to be a gunner, and how effective it was. If the Packers come up with it Saturday, and Marshall tries to blitz it, Favre will eat it alive. If Green Bay blunts the rush, then Favre could get something going downfield. If all of a sudden he goes into his walkabout and starts throwing picks, then Seattle has a chance -- in fact, I think that's the only chance they have.
In playoff football, though, the unexpected always can be expected. In this case, I read a heavy running game by Green Bay. Don't ask me why. I can just close my eyes and see
The Jags had the game in hand and were riding high, and then all hell broke loose. Garrard and the offense shut down. The Steelers were running too many plays. Jacksonville's defense, which doesn't rotate many players along the line, started tiring. It put together a terrific goal-line stand. The officials managed to rob them of that bit of heroism.
Sociologists and other deep thinkers might come to the conclusion that there are some members of the NFL who seem to lead a charmed life.
Now I hold the Steeler defensive brain trust responsible for this. The Jags had a third-and-two on their second drive of the third quarter. They went multiple wideout, Garrard dialed up the QB draw and ran for 12 yards. When they went with the same look at the end, the Steelers immediately should have hit the button that said Security.
So they'll give up points, not a lot of them because I don't think that either Garrard or a running game will be able to score as much as they'll need, but enough to make it interesting, for a while. But can Tom Brady and his cast of thousands be stopped? I don't think so.
Last year Brady, throwing timed, underneath passes, led the Patriots on three long TD drives against the Jags, and this was a game Jacksonville needed for a playoff shot. It was played in Jacksonville, and New England won 24-21, with Brady hitting 11 receivers, most of whom he said goodbye to shortly thereafter, some of whom never were heard from again. Rookie tight end
Now he's got the multiple letter winners to throw to --plus the game's in Foxborough.
I thought the best player on the field for San Diego was
Tennessee smacked it to their defense for a while, but that didn't last. Otherwise, the Chargers managed to chase
Peyton Manning threw six picks against the Chargers back in November, and the Colts shouldn't even have been in it, but Rivers kept them afloat. His day was almost as disastrous, in fact the whole offense was going through a funky period then. It's improved, but I think Rivers and the boys will be surprised at how fast the Indy defense plays. Speed is what got it the lofty ranking of No. 1 in fewest points allowed.
There were two ways for the Giants to lose, but they didn't fall prey to either of them. One was for
I think I've written about 40 times in the past that New York must get a rush on Romo, but there's a formidable obstacle in their path. It's called
How bad is his thumb? Can't say. Ask
(Do you agree or disagree with Dr. Z's picks?