A Weekend Round-up of NFL playoffs

This reaction by Tom Jackson is hilarious as two of the most decibel challenged analysts in television history debate about who's louder.

The ESPN crew led up to Sunday afternoon's round of NFL playoffs. So far, I've picked the losers at a 75% clip -- not bad, eh Vols? A recap.

Chris Henry is in the middle of a 14-day not arrested streak.

Against the Eagles, on the Saints' second play from scrimmage, Reggie Bush met Shelton Brown's revolutionary physics formula -- force + gravity = hunched over on the ground for a few minutes. I had a Michael Irvin laughing hysterically moment. Bush hasn't been driven into the ground like that since the NCAA. (video, hat tip to Bleeding Green Nation)

It refreshing to have a sideline reporter that's an image of football. Tony Siragusa played the role of Suzy Kolber (smooch!), but better. "Goose" was an extension of the broadcast -- not just a pretty face updating health and emotions on the sidelines. He chimed in on the booth's discussions and, when he had the chance, showed some basic football stuff. I hope more networks take note. There's nothing more appropriate than a huge former defensive lineman playing sideline reporter who still has that intensity (read: shouting). That's football, man!

The best way for Peyton Manning to win the big games is to let Adam Vinatieri do it for him. Just kickers, baby! Brad (Stampede Blue) said it best in regards to Peyton: "If Peyton Manning had lost this game with the kind of game he played, the press would have crucified him." Some how, I'm not convinced that Colts fans wouldn't be apart of that crucifixion. However, Brad wondered about the difference between McNair and Manning: "Where are the articles calling McNair a choker?" Choker isn't the point with Manning -- at least from me. My point is that he can't win the big games. I don't believe that's a characteristic of choking -- although, admittedly, he does clear his throat at times. However, McNair did make it to the Super Bowl, so I suppose until Manning makes it there, this "double-standard" continues.

I'm excited about a Colts/Pats match-up. Why? Because I believe this adds to the history of the game. These two teams will be talked about for years after everyone retires. Can Manning overcome? Will the Patriots defy all odds and do only what they know how to do -- win Super Bowls? Remember, New England came in as the lowest ranked division champion. Now they're about to win the AFC after beating the highly favored Ohio State Buckeyes San Diego Chargers. Andrew Perloff, favorite of Stampede Blue, says that the Patriots will stump Manning, Colts.

Some will complain about the Patriots and Colts -- always the focus of any recent NFL season.

I complain that parity dilutes the game. Two teams meeting in the post-season every season is an ESPN Classic already in production. Most people hate to see the same Champions, but I love it. I think it adds to the historical context of the game. People remember the dynasties of the Steelers (70s), the 49ers (80s), the Cowboys (70s, 90s) and the Patriots. Every so often you have those one-time champions (Bears '85, Ravens '00) that are exceptions. For the most part, the game is best when one team continually wins and the other teams are battled to unseat them. The Bengals/Steelers friendship went from common enemy (Ravens, Browns) to hated rivalry. All it took was one competitive season -- and a knee. That makes for a great storyline.

I was told that if you have a good rushing game, then you're more likely to win. Exceptions are as follows:

Player Stats Round, Team
Shaun Alexander 26 carries, 108 yards, 2 TDs Division, Bears
Brian Westbrook 13 carries, 116 yards, 2 TDs Division, Saints
LaDainian Tomlinson 23 carries, 123 yards, 2 TDs Division, Patriots
Julius Jones 22 carries, 112 yards Wild Card, Seahawks
Tiki Barber 26 carries, 137 yards Wild Card, Eagles

Number of 300-yard passers? One. First round exitee, Chad Pennington (23/40, 300 yards).

Most touchdowns thrown in a game? Two. Matt Hasselbeck against the Cowboys. Eli Manning against the Eagles. Tom Brady against the Jets and Chargers.

Tommasse (Pats Pulpit) had the best headline of the weekend, "Team beat Individuals, officials, steroids and ticket policy."

WCG (Windy City Gridiron) disagrees that the Bears are the underdogs. Gene Wojciechowski calls the Bears the softest team of the "final four". The Bears gave up 24 points to the passing challenged Seahawks. Going against a team that has two high profile running backs and a quarterback that led the NFL in yards passing, will be a challenge.

WCG continues: "I don't mind being the underdog, in fact I like it, but I don't like to see the Bears just thrown under the bus, because the Saints can throw the ball around and would make for a great heartfelt story."

Personally, I wouldn't mind if the Saints miss the Super Bowl so we don't hear 15 different versions of the same story about how New Orleans recovered -- because of the football team. I know it makes me sound bad, but I'll bet most of you feel the same.

Bleeding Green Nation concludes the season: "Any playoff loss is going to be a bitter pill to swallow. I'm not smiling right now, but I feel better about this team going forward this year than I did last year and even the year before." The fact the Eagles went from down and out with their starting quarterback suffering an ACL injury to NFC East champions with a win in the playoffs, is remarkable. I know it stinks to lose a playoff game, but let's be honest, the Eagles did more than any of us thought they would.

So the NFL battles on. The SBNation will represent three teams (Colts, Pats, Bears) left in the playoffs. Who will win?

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