Last week, I went..."/>

Last week, I went..."/>

Highway To Ham: Playoff Picks Week II


Last week, I went a most excellent 3-1 in prognosticating post-season playoff programming. Technically, I should have been 4-0 because I did warn you all to watch out for those sneaky Lightning Bolts. My only question with them was the play of QB Phillip Rivers so had I known that when it came time for one final game-winning drive, the ball would be thrust into the hands of Mighty Billy Volek, I’d have made them my A-1 Super-Duper Bet-the-kids-trust-fund Kryptonite Lock of the Week.

Mad props go out to the surging Giants for knocking off the hated Dallas Cowboys in the other upset of the week. Tony Romo didn’t fumble away the game this time, no doubt because he spent the entire bye week down in Mexico gripping football sized objects, but it was still satisfying to see that over-rated and over-hyped doofus go down in flames. And Jerry Jones standing on the sideline after the game, staring off into space, pondering who he can blame for this, while wearing his “Somebody’s ass is getting fired” face is always priceless.

It’s great to see teams get rewarded for playing the game the right way. The tanking, injury-fearing Colts and Cowboys both got exactly what they deserved for resting their starters the final week of the regular season. Has anybody noticed that of the teams remaining, all four actually played their best players in game 16? The Giants and Pats had a brutal slugfest in the Meadowlands, San Diego kept their starters in long enough to ensure they locked up the #3 seed, and Green Bay was forced to play Bret Favre due to their backup quarterback breaking his leg, plus they weren’t worried as much about stamina since their team is the youngest in the league (seriously, Bob Costas said so and Bob wouldn’t lie).

Anyway, on to this week’s picks:

Packers over New York Football Giants – I like Eli Manning. There. And I only feel slightly dirty for saying that. Look, if you’re like me, you like the underdog. And there is no bigger underdog in the NFL than Eli Manning. Think about what a personal hell his life must be. Okay, he’s an uber-rich, uber-famous professional athlete, perhaps “personal hell” is overstating the case but it ain’t easy being Eli.

He’s grown up in the shadow of a famous father, then he had to contend with the shadow of an even more famous and successful older brother, becomes the #1 overall pick in the entire draft (no pressure there) whereby he’s anointed the guy who’ll bring untold glory to the G-men (and we all know how kind, supportive, and patient New Yorkers are) and then gets thrown under the bus by former teammate Tiki Barber, who said his attempts at leadership were “comical.” A lesser quarterback would be curled up in the fetal position, sucking his thumb, and crying for his baba by now. But Eli is still just a good ‘ol country boy. And as Hank Williams Jr. taught me years before he asked if I was ready for some football, a country boy can survive.

Anyway, yeah, I’m still running with the Pack. Farve is about to be sacked, pitches the ball underhand in desperation, and the play goes for a first down. Sure, he could’ve thrown it normally but then he wouldn’t have given the announcers another reason to suck him off. And that’s really what this post-season is about. Bret Favre’s jock.

Chargers over Patriots – No, you don’t need glasses. No, that Lasik treatment you got with a coupon isn’t backfiring on you (I use coupons for many things, ketchup, toilet paper, antacids… However, eye surgery, not really something I want at a discount). No, what your mother said about watching all those Jenna Jameson movies is not coming true. I am indeed picking the Chargers.

Allow me to paint you a picture, a picture but with words. Last season, San Diego is the #1 seed and a banged-up New England team goes out to the west coast and beats them in devastating last-minute fashion. Then, being the pillars of sportsmanship that they are, they celebrate by dancing on the Chargers logo at mid-field, no doubt to gain even more good will from fans across the league and ensure yet more little girls in Patriots jerseys get booed out of the stadium during Punt, Pass, and Kick competitions.

LaDainian Tomlinson, about the most mild-mannered player around, almost starts a Pier 6 brawl when he sees this, then makes a post-game comment about the Patriots “lacking class, something they probably get from their coach.” These shocking statements directed toward that paragon of virtue and fair play, Bill Belichick, probably still play on his mind. In fact, the whole ugly incident is probably fresh in all their minds and this week, they can have their revenge.

The Patriots have got to be running on empty, both mentally and physically. I’m sure their coaching staff and “fans” will try to concoct some sort of imagined slight or perceived insult (such as not thinking Tom Brady is the Greatest Quarterback In The History Of The Universe because he can complete a bunch of 4 yard passes against a prevent defense) to try and trump up some phony motivation. I’m sorry if I’m not as impressed as the media by a consecutive completions record when most of his passes barely traveled 5 yards in the air. Maybe I sound bitter but if some of us choose to not bask in the glory of Patriots and Tom Brady every single second, then go ahead call me a “hater.” And, for the record, I would’ve booed the little girl, too.