Well, last Sunday was a rough one for me, as I went 0-2 and will now be unable to even match my playoff record for last year. Oh well. Interesting games today. And today really is the last true "football Sunday." Super Bowl Sunday has grown to be too much of an event and it seems like it's less about the actual game and more about the events around the game.
Last week: 2-2
Playoff record: 5-3
Anyways, let's quickly talk about each game.
San Diego Chargers at New England Patriots
I was very surprised to see the Chargers pull off that win in Indy last week. And now they will be asked to go up to a cold Foxboro and beat an unbeaten Patriots team. Tough task, to say the least. And let's not forget that Philip Rivers is listed as doubtful with a partially torn ACL, Antonio Gates is still suffering from a toe injury that could need surgery, and LaDainian Tomlinson is slowed by a hypterextended knee. Not good.
However, this Chargers team has shown me something that I never saw out of last year's Chargers: mental toughness. This is a fiery group and are led by a fiery (yet somewhat immature) quarterback in Philip Rivers. And if Rivers can't go, I wouldn't sell Billy Volek short. He can throw it. And truth be told, I don't think offense is going to be the problem for San Diego. I fully expect the Chargers to be able to score points, even with Volek at QB. Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson are playing very well. And the 1-2-3 punch of Tomlinson, Michel Turner, and Darrne Sproles is a very lethal group. The question will be if the Chargers can get some stops.
I do think this game is going to be closer than most believe it will. I trust Antonio Cromartie and Quentin Jammer to do their part in covering Randy Moss and Wes Welker, at least as well as anyone else can. If the Chargers can just get some pressure on Tom Brady and make him uncomfortable, and think San Diego can stay in this game until the 4th quarter.
Prediction: Pats win 34-24
New York Giants at Green Bay Packers
This game is the one I'm most excited for, as I think it has the potential to be a very, very entertaining game. The Giants defense was very impressive last week, holding the Cowboys to just 3 2nd half points despite the lack of offensive production in the 2nd half. And it's my opinion that the Giants will need another very strong defensive effort to win this game.
We all know it's going to be insanely cold, with the gametime temperature of around 4 degrees. When it's this cold, mistakes tend to happen. The ball tends to bounce in funny ways, slip out of hands easier, and make things quite interesting. The team that wins will likely be the team that can run the ball more effectively. And I'll take Ryan Grant and that Packers offensive line in a heartbeat. Grant showed some major mental toughness last week when he overcame those two early fumbles to put together a great effort, rushing for over 200 yards. I think that today, the Packers OL will be able to knock the Giants pass rushing defensive line off of the line of scrimmage and let Grant get in space, where he tends to be dangerous.
And speaking of toughness, that's something that Eli Manning lacks. He simply seems to suck in games played in cold weather. And for me to put my trust in Eli and say the Giants will win rather than put my trust in Brett Favre in the freezing weather in Lambeau would be crazy. I think this will be a fun game to watch, but in the end, Green Bay is too good.
Prediction: Packers win 28-20