Wild Card Weekend

Well it has been an uneventful Giants football week since they are off this weekend (ahh the luxury of the first round bye), but in real life it was a prett hectic week with Christmas Eve, Christmas, my girlfriend’s birthday, and New Year’s Eve. But now that everything is out of the way and the playoffs are starting tomorrow, now seems like the right time to get into the wild card weekend.

The Giants aren’t and shouldn’t be scared of anyone. But if there was one team who could put a scare into them, I am sure I don’t have to tell you who that team is, but I will anyways, the Philadelphia Eagles. 

A few weeks ago while discussing with my friends who at the time were afraid of the Cowboys if the Giants had to face them in the playoffs, I told them they are not the team to worry about, the Eagles are. Because when you play the Eagles, one of two things can happen. The Eagles that played the Bengals and Redskins will show up. Or the Eagles that played the Giants (second time) and the Cowboys (second time) will show up. And while the Eagles are nowhere near as good as the Giants when both are on their games, they are clearly the second best team in the NFC playoffs.

But the Eagles still have to win a game to play the Giants. And if they win, well they will play the Giants. So let’s take a look at the different scenarios.

1. If the Vikings beat the Eagles and the Cardinals beat the Falcons

The Giants play the Cardinals and the Panthers play the Vikings

2. If the Vikings beat the Eagles and the Falcons beat the Cardinals

The Giants play the Falcons and the Panthers play the Vikings

3. If the Eagles beat the Vikings and the Cardinals beat the Falcons

The Giants play the Eagles and the Panthers play the Cardinals

4. If the Eagles beat the Vikings and the Falcons beat the Cardinals

The Giants play the Eagles and the Panthers play the Falcons

So, root hard for the Vikings on Sunday afternoon because if the Eagles fall in Minnesota, the path to Tampa Bay gets a whole lot clearer.

Who do I think will win this weekend? Well it’s hard not to like eveyr road team in these games, but we all know not every wroad team is going to win. It just doesn’t work like that. So here is how I think this wild card weekend plays out.

ATLANTA FALCONS @ ARIZONA CARDINALS
SATURDAY
4:30 PM EST
Arizona fooled a lot of people early on. And they fooled some more when they beat the Cowboys, who at the time were seen as an elite team in the league. But the Cardinals turned out to be nothing more than a bad team in a horrible division. And going back on their season they were lucky to make the postseason given their incredible goal line stand (or goal line mess up by San Fran) against the 49ers way back when on Monday Night Football.

The Falcons surprised everyone and continue to each week. But last Sunday they played against St. Louis in a game that could have given them a first round bye and they barely squeaked out the win against a Rams team that seems like it hasn’t put together back-to-back defensive stops all season long. The Falcons are clearly the superior team in this matchup and if the game was in Atlanta it would be a no-brainer, but I’m not so sure it is this weekend.

Everyone and their brother is going to take Atlanta. It seems almost too easy to take them. But when the Cardinals play at home, they are a different team. With absolutely no running game, Arizona will air the ball out a ridiculous amount of times and it is something that Atlanta has never seen before. Something seems tricky about this game and I might be crazy to pick them, but I am going with the Cards on Saturday afternoon. Cardinals 24, Falcons 23

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS @ SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
SATURDAY
8:00 PM EST
If you read this blog often, or if you have read it ever, you probvably no of may hatred towards the San Diego Chargers, the world’s most overrated professional sports team. But here they are the 8-8 playoff Chargers playing the 12-4 (winners of nine straight) Colts. Last season the two team met in the divisional round with the Colts losing because 2008 MVP Peyton Manning couldn’t find the end zone from the red zone all day long. But this year is a different story.

If I hear anymore nonsense about Philip Rivers, I might give up all hope of wanting to be a member of the media altogether. Let’s get this straight. The Chargers division consists of Chiefs, Raiders, and Broncos. By far the worst division in football and it’s not even close because even the NFC West pulled off some semi-impressive wins. Can you imagine any NFC East QB playing in the AFC West? The numbers would resemble a combination of Johnny Unitas and Joe Montana, and that QB would automatically receive the MVP award, the Offensive Player of the Year award, and probably just be given a spot in the Hall-of-Fame while still active. So, what I am trying to say is that Philip Rivers is nothing more than the product of a guy playing six games against teams without a defense at all and you can take his numbers and throw them out the window.

A lot of people are calling for a close game this weekend. But a lot of people are forgetting what happens to LaDainian Tomlinson in big games. He turns into LaDainian Copperfield and disappears, sometimes he reappears on the sidelines on the bench with his tinted visor on and an oversized coat (2007 AFC Championship). And let’s not forget the Colts have been to the promised land before and won. And they have fought back in every way, shape, and form this season to overcome a 3-4 start and finish at 12-4. They are not about to let the San Diego Chargers end their 2008 season. The New York Giants will be the ones who will do that task. Colts 31, Chargers 17

BALTIMORE RAVENS @ MIAMI DOLPHINS
SUNDAY
1:00 PM EST
The Dolphins have had a miracle run this season, but on Sunday the horse and carriage will turn into a pumpkin when the Baltimore Ravens come to town.

This game is the least intriguing of all the wild card games and mainly  because the Ravens already destroyed the Dolphins earlier in the season. But really the Ravens are just a very bad matchup for Miami. The problem hers is that the Ravnes boadst a great veteran defense that is not about to let some wildcat offense straight out of a video game beat them in a postseason game. It is going to take a lot more and a lot of creativity from Miami coaches to find a way to beat the Ravens.

On the other hand, the Dolphins don’t have the defense to stop the Ravens offensive game plan. Every which way you look at this game, it is a lopsided affair and won’t end pretty for Miami.  While every other game might be a tossup and pick ‘em, this game certainly is not. There isn’t too much to say other than congratulations Miami on a very successful season. Ravens 33, Dolphins 10

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES @ MINNESOTA VIKINGS
SUNDAY
4:30 PM EST
And the matchup that most interest the New York Giants. The Eagles win and they will be in East Rutherford next Sunday. They lose and it changes everything. 

There is no question the Eagles are the better team here. They have a real QB, a great RB, a great defense, and a good passing game. The Vikings have no QB, the best RB, a pretty good defense, and no passing game. As you can see this game is pretty much over before it starts. But like the Falcons/Cardinals game, it isn’t so clear cut.

The world right now is eating up the Philadelphia Eagles because of what they did to the Cowboys. But those same people forget that the Cowboys weren’t any good to begin with. If you’re like me then you remember the Eagles that played the Bengals, and the Redskins (twice), and so on. And then you remember that they are going on the road and who knows what is going to happen in a game against a team you haven’t seen before. Not to mention the best running back in all of football awaits. And that is where I think it gets very interesting.

The Eagles have the chance to score a lot of points, but they have a better chance of not scoring many points. Last week the Cowboys gave them the majority of their 44 with turnovers on offense, but the Vikings should be able to minimize the turnovers with Tavaris Jackson focusing on managing the game and Adrien Peterson doing the majority of the offensive work.

Call me crazy (or call me rooting in the best interest of the Giants) but the Vikings can and will win on Sunday. Vikings 21, Eagles 17

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