This weekend marks the second round of the NFL playoffs. I’ve got a lot of personal pride and fandom running on this weekend (no money, though) as the Chargers and Panthers both play. Here’s hoping they’re not conspiring to make this weekend one gigantic heart attack. (Perhaps I should have rented a defibrillator for this weekend.) Without further ado, here’s what I think of the games. (Yes, I’m paying more attention to the teams that I’m rooting for — this isn’t supposed to be unbiased sports journalism, after all. :) )
Has Hell frozen over? Norv Turner’s Chargers are in the AFC Championship Game without LaDainian Tomlinson and with BILLY VOLEK at quarterback. What an amazing game, with amazing play from both the Colts and the Chargers. In the end, the Chargers out-muscled and out-hit the Colts to take the game and a date with the Patriots next week to determine the AFC bid to the Super Bowl.
After winning a playoff game for the first time since I was 9 (a game they didn’t have to play in last year), the San Diego (Super) Chargers head to the Room Temperature FieldTurf Tundra of the RCA Dome for a rematch with Peyton Manning and the Colts. Something tells me Manning won’t throw six interceptions this time, as he did in the Colts’ loss to the Chargers at
Jack Murphy Qualcomm Stadium earlier this year. The Chargers always seem to give the Colts a game, so we’ll see how they respond. However, these Colts are much healthier — Dallas Clark and Marvin Harrison are back — than the Colts the Chargers faced earlier this year. Tough odds…my brain tells me the Colts will come out on top, but my heart says the Chargers can do this. (As it should.)
Yesterday’s games marked some of the best playoff football I had ever seen. The Lambeau Snow Globe (as it’s come to be called) will go down in the highlight reels for a long time. Ryan Grant did a marvelous job shaking off a very inauspicious start to the game (two fumbles lost) to become one of the top three single game rushers with 201 yards. And Brett Favre was just Brett Favre. What a revival for his career. I haven’t seen that guy so happy to play football in a long time.
And the Patriots…wow. Tom Brady played arguably the best game for a quarterback in NFL playoff history last night. He West-Coasted the Jaguars to death, absolutely shredding their D with a steady dose of short passes and Laurence Maroney runs. In the end, I don’t see how the Patriots DON’T run the table — but that’s why we play the games…
…the Patriots and the Chargers play today, and I must say, I am nervous as hell. There’s nothing quite like the terrible feeling you get when your favorite team faces Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in the playoffs. I last had this feeling in Super Bowl XXXVIII, when the Panthers played the Patriots. Needless to say, it’s an uneasy feeling, but I’m optimistic — the Patriots have had issues with LaDainian Tomlinson in the past, and he will be the key to easing the pressure off Philip Rivers in his first playoff start.