The Electric Commentary

Friday, January 21, 2005

Football Friday

There is a lot of good analysis out there. Start with Sports Guy, then read Aaron Schatz and Michael David Smith.

OK, now you're ready. Normally I'm terrible at predicting football games, however, when it comes to the last three games of the year I've been stellar. In fact, I have yet to predict a Super Bowl incorrectly.

Atlanta (+5) at PHILLY

There has been a lot of Hyperbole regarding Michael Vick this week. One gets the impression that he's the greatest thing since sliced bread. He has a very minor flaw, however, that allows defenses to occasionally stop him, as far fetched as that sounds. His kryptonite, his Achilles Heal, if you will, is his complete inability to complete a pass. While this liability is not such a big deal with, say, Randy Moss, (unless you have him throwing passes which no one could possibly stupid enough to try), it is a big deal when it comes to your quarterback.

Compounding this problem is the fact that the Eagle WRs without TO, long suffering bunch that they are, will not be the worst receiving corps on the field this Sunday. In fact, the TOless Eagles and talentless Falcons may be the worst combined WR group ever to play in a league championship game. Who do you think is better, Todd Pinkston or Brian Finneran? The answer is, somewhat surprisingly, neither.

Of course, Vick can run. The thing is that Vick has problems running against fast middle linebackers. Enter Jeremiah Trotter, the fine Philly MLB, recently back from injury. Vick is not going to be able to have his way with the Eagles as he did against Mike Martz's "defense." NFL conventional wisdom holds (incorrectly) that you have to run to open up the pass. The Falcons have to run because that's all that they can do.

The Eagles will load up at the line and absolutely dare the falcons to pass against them. The Falcons will not be equal to the task. The Falcons can be run on. Look for Westbrook to have a big game. Even without TO, the Eagles are still far and away the best team in the NFC. There is no reason that this game should be close. Philly is supposed to get 2 feet of snow, which is always a wild card, but the Eagles know how to handle the elements.

Eagles, 28-10

Specific predictions - Vick will be sacked at least 5 times. He will have under 50 yards rushing and under 125 yards passing. He will throw at least 1 interception (to Dawkins) and fumble at least once.

New England (-3) at PITT

This one is a tough call because the Steelers have a superior defense, but ultimately the Patriots are just a better team. Pitt relies heavily on it's defense, and Bill Cowher's porn mustache, to hold opposing teams in check. For all of the hype surrounding him, Ben Rothlisberger (henceforth BenRo) has been very ordinary, and in recent weeks the Steelers have won in spite of their young QB. The Steelers have a productive rushing attack in the same way that Allen Iverson is a productive scorer. He'll get his 26 points, even if he has to jack up 42 shots to do it. Stopping the Steelers running attack is really as simple as not being bothered by it. If you focus on the pass, they have problems moving the ball.

Bill Belichick will have BenRo confused and frustrated very quickly if the Steeler rushing attack falters and Bill will make sure that the Steeler running attack does just that.

The Pats are also the superior offensive team. The put up points, and rarely turn the ball over. The Steelers' best chance is to get a few turnovers and get a lead, but that's a tall order against the Pats. Not impossible, but tough. When the Steelers defeated the Pats earlier this year the Pats were without Corey Dillon and BenRo's thumb was fine. That has all changed. Defenses will keep this one close, but the experienced Patriots will come out ahead.

Patriots, 24-17.

Specific predictions - BenRo will be picked off twice. Troy Brown will return a punt for a TD. The Steelers will not rush for over 100 yards.

It should be fun.


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