The Road To XLIII


After sitting here and watching two NFC West teams, and garbage teams at that, fight it out until the final second in Phoenix, it got me thinking about the next couple of weeks.

The Arizona Cardinals are going to the playoffs. There is no way around it. Their division is just awful, I mean really bad. Like really, really, really bad. It is almost unfair as to how easy their schedule is. Think about this. There are 16 games in an NFL schedule. The Cardinals automatically start 6-0 with two games each against Seattle, San Francisco, and St. Louis. So they just have to win four out of their other 10 games and they are are in the playoffs.

While the Cardinals are 6-3, they are not a bad football, nor are they a good football team. They are some where in the class of mediocrity, but there are more mediocre football teams in the NFL this season than ever before.

I am sure there are many people out there who are going to tell me about their No. 1 ranked offense and Kurt Warner’s arm, but offense doesn’t win games. Defense does. And the Arizona Cardinals have a rotten defense. And even rottener (I guess that is a word because it didn’t get underlined by spell check) running game. Aside from Warner’s numbers (and don’t worry we’ll get to that) and a couple of big name receivers in Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, the Cardinals have nothing. I would love to include the Arizona special teams into that list, but seriously I don’t feel like staying up all night to type this post.

Kurt Warner might throw for a lot of yards, but he also gets a lot of attempts, so the two go hand in hand (See: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints). But on Monday night he threw for a lot of yards against the San Francisco 49ers, which is about as impressive an accomplishment as is beating the 49ers, at home, as time expires.

But the Cardinals are in for a surprise. Actually they might be in for two surprises since they are facing Seattle this week and Matt Hasselbeck is returning to the field. But the real surprise they will receive will be in Week 12, when they host the New York Football Giants, who play pretty well in Phoenix if I remember correctly.

The title of this blog however has to do with the competition the Giants are about to face. And while I am still mad that the 49ers lost because I like Mike Singletary and his old-school style of coaching, it is time to look forward to the Giants and their Week 11 opponent.

The statement the Giants will make in the next two weeks will solidify them as the best team in the league. With a chance to knock off two 6-3 teams (though the Cardinals will be 7-3 or 6-4 or 6-3-1 when they face the Giants), the G-Men can show the world that 6-3 teams are no obstacle and they can also further confuse the standings and the playoff races in both conferences.

So when the Ravens take the field in East Rutherford on Sunday with their 6-3 record, they are about to face reality in the form of the best team in the National Football League. And when Joey Flacco gets his first look Justin Tuck flying around the corner and Mathias Kiwanuka coming straight on, he will forget that he has written a feel good story in Baltimore this season and remember that is a Division 1-AA quarterback who should be third on the Ravens depth chart.

And when Flacco is on the sidelines, changing his underwear from the scare put into him from the Giants pass rush, Eli Manning and the three-headed monster will be on the field showing Ray Lewis and Co. that a lot has changed in eight years.

Right now the Giants spread is the Giants by 6.5 points. If the Giants lose against the Eagles that spread is easily only -3 or -4 and if the Giants beat the Eagles and the Ravens lose to the Texans it might be -9 or -10. But as it is the Giants are -6.5 and that must be a betting man’s dream. What else can you ask for in a line than the best team in football at home, where they are undefeated, against a rookie quarterback and a team from the AFC aka the “B” league.

Anyways it is an exciting time to be a Giants fan and it is devastating that it is only Tuesday and they don’t play again until Sunday. But it is a good thing that there is an NFL game on Thursday night, if it is a “B” league battle. I am not sure who is going to win this game given the way the entire league has played out this season, but if I had to make a decision I think I would go with the Patriots only because I know who the real Jets are. And while they have beaten some terrible teams the past couple weeks, they have been able to disguise the real Gang Green and the real Brett Favre, but I am sure they will appear on the road on Thursday night. Then again it hurts me to say that the New England Patriots will win led by Matt Cassel, who was closer to ripping ticket stubs at the movie theater outside Gillette Stadium than he was to starting for the Patriots 11 weeks ago. So, GO JETS!