Hoping dogs watch films

Jan 10, 2006 4:15 AM

No playoff experience in the pocket is nothing to joke about.

That’s what four first time QBs and former Super Bowl hopefuls found out over Wild Card weekend. Simms, Leftwich, Manning and Palmer should look into forming a band over the off-season. I’ve got the name - The "O-fer Boys." Each one left their backers with a losing ticket.

And, that’s nothing to joke about either!

Speaking of jokes, what number made you laugh louder, the 120 yards of total offense from Washington on Saturday or the 9 the bookies hung on the board and expect you to lay on Seattle this coming Saturday?

We’re down to the great eight and I’m not joking when I tell you it’s the second matchup of the season for each pairing. Here’s hoping most of the doggies will watch plenty of film and learn valuable lessons from their earlier dog fights.

Saturday’s card:

Skins +9 at Seahawks: These guys met in Week 4 at Washington with the Skins a slight 2 point fave. Now, I realize the Seahawks are the home team in this spot. And I know Seattle was on an 11 game winning streak before losing a meaningless last game of the season to Brett Favre’s boys. But a 2 point win at San Francisco, a never-should —have been 3 point victory over G-men in OT, and a 4 pointer over Tennessee were not confidence builders.

The Seahawks did pound the Niners and Eagles along the 11-game win skein but I’m not sure who couldn’t have accomplished that simple task. Let’s not forget the Seahawks are not that full of themselves when it comes to boasting about number of playoff appearances and playoff wins. In fact, Seattle has lost six straight!

Yes, the Skins are banged up a little on defense and Mark Brunell is not 100 percent. But, the Skins D proved last Saturday that if the offense can produce 17-to-20 points, the opportunistic and aggressive side of the football will keep them in this playoff game. Also, Washington is on a 6 game roll and Joe Gibbs’ playoff record is 17-5. Washington should be a live doggie! SKINS.

Patriots +3 at Broncos: These two powerhouses met back in October with Denver a 3 point home favorite. The Patriots were more beat up at the time. Corey Dillon did not have a single carry and there was not a single turnover. There’s no doubt the Pats are playing their best football, now healthier than they’ve been all year. But I will keep betting against them until I lose all my money or until they’re eliminated from the Super Bowl race.

I can’t make myself believe New England can possibly win a third straight Super Bowl. The schedule was very soft at the end of the season and that 5-3 road record was not super, considering two games were against the Jets and Bills. But the Pats have won 10 straight playoff games behind Tom Brady. What a run they’ve put together! But it’s coming to an end in Denver.

I think the Broncos were as impressive as any playoff bound team coming down the stretch. Only one of Denver’s last four opponents scored more than 10 points. The Broncos are especially stingy in Denver. Jake Plummer continued to show fans why the media nicknamed him "No Mistake Jake." Jake has the luxury of flinging a 1-2-3 punch at running back whenever he wants to bring the secondary up a little. Players and fans alike will be jacked up for Denver’s first home playoff game since 1998. BRONCOS.

Sunday

Steelers +10 at Colts: These teams met on a Monday night at Indy in Week 12 with the Steelers an 8 point dog. The Colts covered easily. Because of that easy cover or some other strange reason, the Colts opened as a 9½ point fave. I’m sure it won’t be long until the public bets the darling Colts up to double digits.

I have a strange feeling the Colts will find a way to win. But I have a much stronger feeling this will be much closer than the first matchup. The Steelers didn’t run the ball effectively, but now are pounding the rock with super offensive line efforts the last five weeks — all wins. And their defense is stopping the rock. No teams have run the ball with any great results during their current streak.

I don’t like the way the Colts finished the season. They won their finale with a goal line stand versus Arizona, a mediocre foe at best. But two weeks before the finale Indy was jolted by both the Chargers and the tragic death of Tony Dungy’s son. Then game the drubbing in Seattle, albeit a meaningless and coach-less game. Put it altogether and I don’t like the way this shapes up for Indy. I think Pittsburgh has the momentum and I’m a taker all the way! STEELERS.

Panthers +3 at Bears: Da Bears were in the middle of an eight game winning streak when these two last met in Week 11. Chicago’s defense was extremely convincing as it has been most of the season. The front four harassed Jake Delhomme all day long. But that was only their second loss on the road. The Cats finished the year 6-2 away from home.

The Panthers appear to have a little momentum on their side. The running game has heated up with DeShaun Foster and Nick Goings packing a big 1-2 punch. Delhomme has been red-hot and the defense not only stopped Tiki Barber cold but swarmed Eli Manning all afternoon at Giants Stadium. John Fox out foxed Tom Coughlin with one heck of a game plan and he will have learned plenty from the earlier meeting in Chicago.

The Panthers can play a little on the road. In their rather short history, Fox’s charges have three playoff road wins. Rex Grossman is making his first playoff appearance. What was that bit about the record last week of QBs making their first playoff start? Fool me once, shame on you and the bookie. Fool me twice, shame on me! PANTHERS.

Playoffs: 2-2

Season: 133-118