Sunday January 13th, 2008

Divisional Matchups
San Diego (12-5) at Indianapolis (13-3)
Hard to like San Diego a bunch after seeing what we saw last week. But there's something about the Chargers when they play Indy. Think back to the Colts needing overtime to beat the Chargers three years ago, and the Bolts spoiling Indy's 13-0 season two years ago -- both in the RCA Dome -- and think back to the injury-ravaged Colts losing at San Diego two months ago. San Diego presents significant matchup problems for Indy. Like who blocks Shawne Merriman, and how much help will center Jeff Saturday need on Chargers noseman Jamal Williams? This feels like the best game of the weekend, and in the end, Peyton Manning wins it with a Peyton Manning drive making two or three Peyton Manning throws to Reggie Wayne. P.S. I'll believe Marvin Harrison will play when I see him split wide right at 1 p.m. Sunday. Not before.
Indianapolis 27, San Diego 22
New York (11-6) at Dallas (13-3)
While we prattle on endlessly about Terrell Owens' bum leg and Tony Romo's travel habits and Eli Manning's sudden striking imitation of his older brother, we miss the real story of this game: Marion Barber. The Giants are rushing the passer too well right now for Dallas offensive coordinator Jason Garrett to think Mark Columbo can stop Michael Strahan and Flozell Adams can shut out Osi Umenyiora. Even though the Cowboys did a good job conserving Barber's strength during the season (he averaged only 12.8 rushes per game, maddening for some Cowboy fans dying to see him rush it 25 times weekly), it's money time now. And this Brahma bull lugging it somewhere in the twenties is the best chance for Dallas to win and advance. Having said that, if the Giants protect Manning and this seventh-round gift from heaven (Marshall running back Ahmad Bradshaw was the sixth-to-last pick of the draft, a Giants' compensatory pick) continues to run like a meteor possessed, this game has the best upset potential of the weekend.
Dallas 19, New York Giants 13

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