Hey Tony, why don’t you take three days off. In fact, why don’t you go down to Cabo with a hot blonde celebrity and forget about football in Mexico.
What? Say it ain’t so Wade. I know it wasn’t just Tony Romo you told to relax for a few days. It was the entire Dallas Cowboys team you told to take off. Now you can take all the days off from football you want until training camp. Jerry is not going to be a happy camper.
Don’t you think Wade Phillips has opened himself up to a ton of criticism? His coaching style is definitely in contrast to the style of Bill Belichick. The great one always gives his players something to work on, even if it’s during the bye week. Wade Phillips is going home for the remainder of the playoffs. Belichick is headed to the AFC championship game. Hmmmm? That’s a bit of a contrast as well.
But, I’m not going to hang the Cowboys’ 10-year-plus playoff drought on Wade and Tony alone. I’m once again going to hand out the kudos to Tom Coughlin and the G-men. Dallas gained control of the line of scrimmage in the first half. The Giants made adjustments after the break.
They shut down Marion Barber, who had been running loose early and turned up the heat on Romo. But, my biggest MVP vote goes to the Giants secondary. Even before the pressure arrived in the pocket, on more than one occasion Romo had plenty of time to find an open receiver and he found no free targets. Weren’t the Giants missing a few starters in the secondary?
I think a few more Dallas starters were chasing blondes during the three days off besides Romo!
The argument of whether or not rested teams have an advantage or could be rusty will continue to go on year after year. You can make a case for either side. The Patriots and Packers were rested and they’re both in their respective conference championship games.
But, the same conference championships will be attended by two teams on the go since Day 1 of the money games. The Chargers are riding an eight-game winning streak both straight up and against the spread. The Giants have won nine straight road games.
Chargers +15 at Patriots: There was a lot of laughing and high-fiving going on around the Patriots and Chargers sidelines after their games last weekend. The Chargers were elated that they were able to upset the highly favored former Super Bowl champion Colts. San Diego was able to accomplish the unlikely upset without their best running back for more than a half and their starting quarterback in the fourth quarter.
The Chargers did it with a stunning, smothering defense and a total team effort on both sides of the ball. The team barely noticed that Tomlinson and Rivers were gone. Norv even held back the tears as the crying was reserved for Terrell Owens.
The Patriots were happy. Mr. Perfect, Tom Brady was flawless again. Maroney ran very effectively and all the receivers had big days. The only receiver the Jaguars shut down was Randy Moss. And even Randy was happy, since he was blocking downfield for his fellow receivers. Moss took one for the team.
Everyone is happy you might say, except the poor suckers who wagered their hearts out on the Pats the last seven weeks, losing six times. As much as the Pats covered their point spreads the first half of the season, they just haven’t been able to win the money lately. The linesmakers have simply inflated the Pats line because of the public perception based on the first half of the season.
I think the number is too big again. The Chargers are playing too well, especially defensively. Philip Rivers snapped out of first half slump in the first playoff game against Tennessee and has looked fantastic since. He went out with a knee injury against the Colts, but I’m hoping he will be close to full strength by Sunday.
LaDainian Tomlinson’s backups are stepping to the plate. I’m counting on Michael Turner and Darren Sproles to fill in like they did at Indy. I’m taking the team on a spread roll. CHARGERS.
Giants +7 at Packers: The G-men have been very nice to my bankroll the last four weeks. I hate betting against a team that has treated me so well and stood up so proudly in their playoff victories over Tampa Bay and Dallas. But I think their good fortune will run out in Green Bay.
The big mismatch to me is Brett Favre (I can’t believe he’s 38!) against Eli Manning (can’t believe he’s over 18!) Eli has managed both playoff wins masterfully. The G-men under his direction are not turning the ball over al all in the money games.
But, this game is at Lambeau Field and there’s something magical taking place with Favre and this offense. They’re on all cylinders right now and have been that way for most of the year. Favre rolled up his best passing rating since 1996 and you have to go back six seasons to find a year where he threw less interceptions.
Favre is hitting a career high 66.5 percent of his throws. I also like the way the defense is challenging opposing offenses. The aggressive in-your-face style, combined with an effective rush against Manning, will create a few turnovers.
The big question for the Giants when they entered the playoffs was how far they could go with Manning at QB. Well, I think the NFC championship game. Not the Super Bowl. My money is on the fun-loving greybeard. PACKERS.