Sunday, January 20, 2008

NLF Ought Eight - Ternary

My Guess: Packers 30, Seahawks 19, +11
Actual: Packers 42, Seahawks 20, +22
My Guess: Patriots 38, Jaguars 16, +22
Actual: Patriots 31, Jaguars 20, +11
My Guess: IND 28, SD 17, +11
Actual: IND 24, SD 28, -4
My Guess: DAL 28, NY 24, +4
Actual: DAL 17, NY 21, -4

Oh well, 2-4 is not bad, and I'll definitely take the Giants win. Right now this is reminding me of the 2003 Yankees season, when I thought the Yanks had no business even being in the playoffs, but wanted them to win and saw them somehow survive until they got smacked down in the World Series. Oh, well. I hope the Giants can somehow make the Super Bowl.

With that said, I actually think the Super Bowl has become a big joke, and to me the Conference Championships are the true games of the year. It also keeps it consistent with history, when the NFC was the NFL, and the AFC wasn't around until 1960 as the AFL.

My picks:

San Diego is very beat up, and they have to play the Patriots at home. New England has the #1 offense in the NFL, but even with Tomlinson the Chargers only had the 7th best rushing offense in the league. Both teams have, on average, surrended the same number of points per game (17 for NE, 18 for SD), but the Pats give up fewer yards per game. The fact that San Diego beat the Colts should not be overlooked, but the fact they did so without their starting QB and RB should definitely be considered.

New England has scored less than 30 points only four times in 17 games, and one of those was against the same Colts. What does it mean that the Colts could contain the Patriots but not the Chargers? Nothing, really, since they lost both games. New England has given up 28 or more points three times. Before last week, the last time San Diego gave up more than 17 points was Week 11, and that includes the Wild Card game.

It'd be fun to see a close game, but I'm not sure that I see it. I think Brady puts up another fine passing game, and the Chargers fall short. NE 35, SD 24.

The Pack Attack (does anyone call them this?) have the better passing game, but the Giants have the better rushing game. Cris Carter says, "the Packers have an explosive running game," but all I see is a team ranked 21st on the run. In the cold, maybe the run is the better bet for scoring. Big Blue has done a better job on defense in terms of yards surrendered, but they also give up more points per game. Manning has been good recently, keeping his passes short and concise, but most can agree that Favre is the better QB. The Giants defense was shoddy for the first three quarters in Dallas last week, but they made up for it in the fourth. I feel like I've just talked myself into picking the Giants, despite the fact the Packers beat them 35-13 in week 2.

Last week, Favre had 173 yards and 3 TDs, while GB's RBs rushed for 235 yards and 3 TDS (although Grant fumbled twice). Meanwhile, Manning had 163 yards and 2 TDs, while the Giants rushed for 90 yards with 1 TD. The prior week, Manning had 185 yards with 2 TDs, and the rush put up 100 yards with 1 TD. Nearly identical. It wouldn't be much to expect the Giants to put up more of the same and get 21 or even 24 points. The question is, what will the Packers do on offense? From Week 8 (after the bye) through Week 15, the Packers averaged 31.5 points, and they scored more than 31.5 points six of those eight times. They gave up 17 points during that stretch.

Meanwhile, the Giants have averaged 21.6 from their bye week through the end of the season (also an eight week period), but they have scored over 35 points twice in the final two games, including against New England. They've given up just 24 per game, however, and gave up 22 or less five times.

I think the fact I've been writing so much about this is because I'm really torn. Most are choosing the Packers, but I think the Giants have a really good shot. It is a mistake, I believe, not to give New York any chance. Nevertheless, although I think it will be close, I have to give the edge to Green Bay. GB 28, NYG 24

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