PIC legend and actual sports journalist, Justin Rebello has joined me in picking them games during the post season. The following is Part Three of our email exchange.
From Nathan DeGraaf
Hey Justin, how’s tricks? Hope the weather is unseasonably warm there in Boston. It’s been great here in Tampa, but then again, that’s par for the cliché (of course I meant course, par for the course) down here. Man, what a fucking week of football. Manning self destructed like he was made of paper (fueling your theory that being a loser can actually be genetic), the officiating stunk up the whole weekend like a stopped up toilet in a small bar with no vents, and I lost a hundred bucks while managing to go 0-4 with my picks (translation: I would have done better just flipping a coin). I have no reason to think I’ll do any better this week, but I’m putting $50 on both games with the hope that I can win back what I’ve lost. On the bright side, it is Championship Week (which is almost always the best week of football because the struggle to arrive is always more interesting and more important than success after arrival, or some such shit I may or may not have read in a fortune cookie), I got a new TV with HD so I can enjoy watching myself lose money just a little more and fellow PIC writer, E. Mike Tuckerson met my Mom and sister in New Orleans (we keep it in the family here at PIC). Anyway, on to my picks. And yes, I’m rubbing rosary beads as I make them.
Panthers (+6) over SEAHAWKS
Shaun Alexander proved that he can be a non-factor when the line is stacked, and then Matt Hasselbeck proved that he can be an asset. Who’d have guessed? Anyway, the Seahawks luck can only carry them so far, and that ain’t gonna be to the Super Bowl. The way I figure it, Seattle is just too happy to be there, and the Panthers, well they want to go back. Plus, I think Steve Smith may be possessed. We’ll know soon enough.
BRONCOS (+3.5) over Steelers
I have never bet on Jake Plummer before, but I’m doing it now. How did I make this pick? Well, it pains me to say it, but I actually flipped my lucky silver dollar three times. And every time, it came up Broncos. (Note on my silver dollar: it’s a gift from my god father. I had it in my pocket three days after he gave it to me, the night I lost my virginity. It has to be good for something, right? Don’t answer that.)
Anyway, after you mash out a few picks, how about you do me a favor and go on a nice Peyton Manning tirade? I mean, with the teammate line he uttered (real fucking classy, by the way), the way he forced his spineless coach into stupid fourth down conversion calls, and the fact that the refs all but gave him the game, I mean, is it safe to say we can stop glorifying this loser? Your thoughts, please.
Stay warm, J-Reb.
From Justin Rebello
A Peyton Manning tirade? I think we might have something in our back room. Let me check. Oh yes, here it is… but first:
A word on the Patriots game and all that end of the dynasty crap. Look, argue all you want about whether three Super Bowls in four years is a dynasty. But the Pats didn't win this year so that means the dynasty (or whatever) is over? Huh? Looking ahead, the Pats have Brady, Branch, Dillon, Mankins, Seymour, Bruschi, Harrison and Vinatieri coming back. Oh, and Belichick. “End of a dynasty” implies there won't be any more Super Bowls. Does that look like a team that's gonna pull a 49ers anytime soon?
Ok, on to Peyton. I feel like Will Smith in “I, Robot.” Somehow, I told you so doesn't quite cut it. When will people learn? The past three seasons I've felt like a virgin in a horror flick who keeps finding her dead friends but nobody will believe her.
Peyton Manning is the most overrated player in pro sports. Like A-Rod, the guy's capable of putting up remarkable stats in the regular season against crappy teams. But put him in a must-win game against a tough opponent, he folds like a dumb hick accordion.
A few more points (in case) about Manning and the Ponies:
1. The RCA Dome thing has, thankfully, been put to rest. I'm tired of this myth that the Colts are unbeatable at home (as the Steelers and Chargers have since disproved). The way they reacted when they got home field advantage was extraordinary. It was like they had already won the Super Bowl. Home field is important, but come on guys, you still play in a tough conference where the number 6 team could conceivably win the Super Bowl. Act like you've been there. Oh wait, you haven't.
2. Tony Kornheiser brought up an interesting point in Monday's PTI. Manning isn't necessarily a choker (he actually played okay in Sunday's game), he's just a quarterback who has become famously successful with his Plan A. Which is all well and good and helps you go 14-2 against teams like the Titans, Texans and Niners. However, when faced with a tough team in playoff conditions, great teams have a Plan B. The Colts don't. The second the pressure is on, they look like they're being coached by Rick Moranis.
3. I believe Joey Porter. As my friend Steve said, “Oliver Stone should make a movie about this NFL season.” It's incredible what the NFL has done in the past three seasons to aid the Colts to that elusive Super Bowl. Think about it. They adjusted the passing rules because Manning's receivers didn't like getting hit (not like it's football or anything). They gave the Colts (13-3 in 2004) a cake schedule that saw them face one playoff team in eight weeks and a bye before their first tough game of the season (the Pats). Then they go ahead and turn a playoff game into a fucking X-Files episode. It's not just the interception that was called back. There were at least three instances where blatant pass interferences by the Colts weren't flagged. (Meanwhile, less than 24 hours earlier, Asante Samuel was flagged because he applied the Knoblauch tag to Ashley Lelie). I just don't get it. Everyone I know (not just Pats fans) hates Peyton Manning. Would you rather see Manning in a Super Bowl or a guy like Jerome Bettis who has busted his balls all his career and seems genuinely sorry when he screws up (you know as opposed to throwing his teammates under the proverbial bus)? And by the way, when Peyton made his career defining “teammate” line, that was the moment where the killer axed the skeptical cop. “You see? They're all dead. You should have believed me.”
One more note: to all those people who claim Brady showed his true colors on Saturday, please. Imagine trying to win a playoff game against a tough opponent on the road and the refs have no clue what's going on and every single player on your team (I counted Faulk, Troy Brown, Vinatieri, Hobbs, Samuel and McGinest) screws the pooch at the worst possible times. Brady played like crap I grant you, but he's 10-1 in the playoffs, has three rings and 2 Super Bowl MVPs. Clearly, in a nation that would rather watch a loser like Peyton than a winner like Brady, people need to watch more football.
OK on to the picks. (2-2 last week)
Panthers (+6) over SEAHAWKS
Can you say no-brainer? I still can't believe I liked Chicago over Carolina last week. And I never thought I could top picking the Padres to upset the Cards in the NLDS. I swear to God I shouldn't be allowed to drive a car.
Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by the Seattle QB last week (I call him Hasselsuck). When Alexander went down, I felt like an evil genius who knew way ahead of time that the Seahawks were overmatched. But Bald Matt held tough and the Seahawks won. Can he do it again this week? Will Alexander be effective? Is it ever fucking dry in Seattle? Seriously, watching Saturday's game was like watching the Masters Live from Edinburgh. So anyway, I like Carolina. I think Delhomme is morphing into a top-tier QB. There's Steve Smith, or NFC Chad Johnson as I call him because he's insanely talented, runs his mouth in a good way, and seems like he would be happy playing in a pile of dogshit. That defense. And my homeboy John Fox, who looks a little too much like Grady Little for everyone to anoint him a great NFL coach.
Prediction: Carolina 31, Seattle 17
BRONCOS (+3.5) over Steelers
First, hats off to Denver. They were the better team Saturday. I kept waiting and waiting for Jake Plummer to shit the bed, but nothing. Isn't Plummer out-dueling Brady in a night playoff game some sign of the apocalypse? Like Daft Punk or that Facts about Chuck Norris phenomenon going on right now? OK. I'd say both teams are suffering from hangover games. You know, a team wins an emotional game against a heavily favored opponent then the next week they look listless and flat? Like the Astros after the NLCS this year or Peyton Manning the past two years after tooling Denver. I guess the key difference is this. The Broncos forced the Pats into five turnovers and scored on four of them. They scored 24 points on 24 yards after turnovers. The Steelers thoroughly dominated the Colts for three quarters and yet there were the Colts with 26 second to play, one dipshit kicker away from tying it. Granted there were some factors outside their control (cough** horrendous officiating **cough), but you can't let a team back in the game like that. It worked against Peyton's Chokers. It won't work against Denver.
Prediction: Denver 27, Pitt 7.