Seattle At Green Bay (4:30 p.m.) - Brett Favre has learned to relax and trust his teammates, particularly a receiving corps that excels after the catch. The Packers running game has also improved with the addition of Grant. However, Seattle has been to the Super Bowl before with this same team and has five players named to the All-Pro team. Let's look at some statistics:
|TEAM OFFENSE||TM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Total Yards||SEA|| |
|Yards Passing||SEA|| |
|Yards Rushing||SEA|| |
|TEAM DEFENSE||TM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Yards Allowed||SEA|| |
|Pass Yds Allowed||SEA|| |
|Rush Yds Allowed||SEA|| |
As you can see, the Packers are better in just about every statistical category. Yes, I know they are in an easy division, but a win is a win. This is Favre's year and I see no reason the Packers should lose unless some odd, freaky stuff happens.
Jacksonville At New England (8:00 p.m.) - Just in case anyone hasn't heard, the Patriots haven't lost a game this season. However, I wonder if now that the Patriots have completed their undefeated season, will the NFL and the refs continue to favor them? Will Randy Moss continue to push off receivers to catch touchdown passes and the refs won't call it?
I don't even need to examine statistics for this game. However, the Jaguars were the hottest team coming into the playoffs. They have an insanely good running game, which is very important when playing the Patriots, who have trouble stopping the run. If the Jags can run the ball well, control the clock, and keep Tom Brady off the field, then they have a very good chance of winning. Even with that said, the Patriots always find a way to turn up the gears and come away with a victory. Therefore, I just can not go against the Patriots, but it wouldn't surprise me if the Jags pull an upset. Don't forget, David Garrard can also randomly take off running too when they need crucial yards, as proven last week.
San Diego At Indianapolis (1:00 p.m) - First, some injury updates. While Pro Bowler Antonio Gates rehabbed his dislocated left big toe, All-Pro fullback Lorenzo Neal returned to practice for the San Diego Chargers exactly one month after breaking his lower left leg. Gates dislocated his left big toe late in the second quarter of Sunday's 17-6 wild-card win against Tennessee and didn't return. He wasn't available to the media after practice.
"We're getting Antonio ready to play," coach Norv Turner said. "He's making progress, he's going through all his treatments and all those things. We'll see where he's at later in the week. He's making good progress. I have hope that he'll be able to play."
After hearing much speculation, however, Gates is doubtful for Sunday's game.
Meanwhile, Tony Dungy said Marvin Harrison was supposed to play in the final game of the season, but in the last second decided it would be better if he didn't. Now, Harrison has participated in practices all week and is most likely to play on Sunday, which is bad news for the Chargers.
At first, I liked the Chargers chances of winning just because the Colts are known as a team to choke at odd times. However, I no longer have that feeling. Why? Because if it took the Chargers 3 quarters to get their offense going against the Titans, then how do they expect to keep up with the Colts' offense? Also, the Colts' defense is better (Bob Sanders defensive player of the year) than the Titans.
Yes, I know the Chargers beat the Colts in the regular season and Peyton Manning threw a career high 6 interceptions that game, but I truly believe Manning and Dungy are the types of people who would look over the tapes of that game and make sure that doesn't happen again. Peyton Manning is too smart of a quarterback to let that happen again and I have full faith in him. Therefore, the Colts should win over the Chargers this Sunday.
New York Giants At Dallas (4:30 p.m.) - First, some injury updates. The good news for the Cowboys was that Terry Glenn went through his most rigorous practice since coming back from two knee operations. Glenn saw limited action in the season finale against Washington, but didn't catch a pass. On Wednesday, he went through an entire team workout for the first time since training camp.
However, Terrell Owens still wasn't able to practice Wednesday because of a high ankle sprain, continuing the drama of whether the Dallas Cowboys will have their newest All-Pro receiver for the playoff game Sunday against the New York Giants. Coach Wade Phillips didn't even see Owens on Wednesday, but knew he was doing all he could to get healthy. And if T.O. says he's ready to go at game time, Phillips will let him play.
If Terrell Owens plays, the Giants are going to lose. Its that simple. Terrell Owens creates such a distraction out there and is Tony Romo's favorite target. If not Owens, Romo has Glenn, Witten, and Crayton out there to throw too. The Cowboys have too much offense for the Giants to handle. Oh yea, and they have two decent running backs handy that they could switch in and out so they both can rest. Yes, I know the Cowboys have been slacking off lately, but they didn't care about that last game of the season.
If Terrell Owens doesn't play, the Giants have a very good chance of winning and things will be radically different. If you remove Terrell Owens, you are removing the second best receiver in football and the other receivers become covered because the defenders won't have to worry about what Terrell Owens is doing. The Giants are playing on the road, where they are 8-1, and they have been playing better than the Cowboys as of late in this season. Though things are starting to shift in the Giants favor, I believe Terrell Owens will play and the Cowboys will earn this win. However, if Terrell Owens doesn't play, it wouldn't surprise me if the Giants pulled off an upset.
And the issue with Jessica Simpson is not a distraction. Actually, its such a joke that the joke is becoming a distraction. Tony Romo is a professional football player and professional football players don't blame their private lives off the field for blowing the game on the field. If anything, the thought of Jessica Simpson should push Tony Romo to do better. Think of the reward she'll give him if he wins...