Friday, December 21, 2007

Dan Goes Back to Picking the Raiders

This week I awaited Sllaacs' picks as a kid awaits Santa Claus. At long last we would have a true "wildcard" third game to pick with Garcia and Tampa Bay coming to town to play the 49ers. But then I found a lump of coal: New England.

Truth be told I've been anticipating this game for a while as well. It would be a perfect opportunity for the NFL to fix a game to sell more NFL Films videos later. In poetry on a par with a team called the Patriots winning the Super Bowl after 9/11, the 0-14 Dolphins would knock off the 14-0 Patriots, avoiding a winless season while preserving their franchise's place in history. Mercury Morris would throw a block party.

But the Dolphins reduced the drama a notch by winning last week nearly as improbably - but far less suspiciously - than the Patriots had several weeks ago over the Ravens. So I think that's just enough to make this another boring Patriots victory. Maybe Belichick will try to run up the score on Parcells. Brady says the Pats never think about going 16-0, they are focused on reaching the Super Bowl. But they are liars, so the Patriots will rub it in against the Dolphins and make a push to knock off another of their records in the year that Favre surpassed all of Marino's.

While Tampa Bay apparently has nothing to play for, that oddity seems only to strike at random and during Week 17. So the Bucs will win. Score two for the Patriots this week as their #1 draft choice rises.

The suspense regarding my final pick was destroyed by an overly descriptive title. Picking against the Raiders stopped working (except for the part about getting the picks right), so I'm going back on the optimistic side this week. Even though our most productive player (Fargas) is out and the strength of the Jaguars (running the ball) plays right into our greatest weakness, this is going to be a great test of Raider progress. It won't be nearly as cold in Jacksonville as it was in Green Bay, so I hope to see the offense hit its stride even with Dominic Rhodes, the defense step up to the challenges of gap assignment and tackling, and JaMarcus to play for an extended period.

Ah, I meant to say, "I hope to hear." I'll be listening to a tinny Internet feed of Greg Papa, charting drives on Sportsline, and watching one of the finest and longest-running rivalries in all of sports out of the corner of my eye: Packers-Bears. Sllaacs, Favre at Soldier Field is never lame.


Sllaacs said...

I agree with you about Farve never being lame, especially in Chicago - but the rivalry is diminished because the Bears are awful. If Favre throws three TD's in a GB win no one will be surprised. GB vs CHI has no suspense this year.

Dan Hauenstein said...

It may be diminished on a national scale, but one of those 2 Packer losses this year was to the Bears.