Sunday Playoff Picks

>> Saturday

We now move onto Sunday's games, but first, let's recap yesterday. I probably was as right as I've ever been as the Falcons didn't look good in the spotlight, Aaron Rodgers was just tremendous and played QB yesterday as good as the position can be played. Meanwhile, the Ravens once again couldn't finish a close game while Ben Roethlisberger made a play late as he always does. So what's on tap for today? Probably with me getting both games wrong since I got both right yesterday, but he's my previews anyway.

Last week, I was so down on the Seahawks and they proved me wrong. So does this mean I should go with the Seahawks this week? Not so fast, unlike the Saints, I don't believe the Bears will take Seattle lightly because they lost to them in Chicago this year. Also, back in the beginning of the season, the Bears offensive line was atrocious. Now, it's still not good, but it's better at home. I also don't think the Seahawks will travel well, and the Bears defense could use a good home performance after a few games that they've been shredded at Soldier Field. The real question, should you lay the 10 in this game? Here's the answer, when the Seahawks lose, they lose big. So if you like the Bears, lay the 10 and don't think twice about it. I have the Bears winning 31-14.

Now to the nightcap and the Jets and Pats. So much has been said all week, but that doesn't matter once kickoff happens. Here's the best case for the Jets: They win the toss and they must receive so they have the chance to establish the offense early. I know they like to defer the opening kickoff, but I won't give New England the ball to start the game. Also, LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene can control the clock, the Jets OL can outplay the Pats front seven. When that happens, Mark Sanchez needs to be accurate with his throws, even if they are short passes. Defensively, they need to attack Tom Brady, because the passive approach won't work with him. Brady would eat up the Jets secondary if he has the time. To be fair, I think Peyton Manning would have if he had Dallas Clark and Austin Collie.

So what will happen? I just don't believe Sanchez, after all the struggles in the last few weeks, plus the possibly still injured shoulder will play consistent enough and while it won't be the 45-3 thrashing that it was in December, Brady will still have success against the Jets. Pats will win 27-10.


Week 17

>> Sunday

The regular season comes to a close and it's time for the list of awards. Joel Sherman of the New York Post does a great job with his baseball award column by having his top 5 in each award and an anti-award winner for those who were terrible. So I figured to do the same for this year's NFL season. With all the credit due to Mr. Sherman, he's my awards for this season.

NFL MVP- Tom Brady - Runners up: 2. Mike Vick, 3. Troy Polamalu, 4. Maurice Jones-Drew, 5. Peyton Manning

If Vick played in every game this year, it would be a closer race, but Brady has been nearly flawless this year with 34 TD's and only 4 INT's. Polamalu is the most important defensive player in football, as the Steelers go as he does (in terms of health). MJD was the only reason the Jags are still alive as of Week 17 and ditto for Manning (who can always be in the top 5).

Anti-NFL MVP- Brett Favre - Runners up: 2. Carson Palmer, 3. Chad Henne, 4. The entire Texans secondary, 5. Albert Haynesworth

Favre in so many ways had the worst performance, as his season clearly brought down a Vikings team who should have been to the Super Bowl last year. Palmer and Henne have both helped derail talented teams, but Palmer is more established so he stays ahead of Henne. The Texans secondary was just brutal this year, the Jets game being the best example, while Haynesworth was too fat to be on the field.

Offensive Player of the Year- Arian Foster - Runners up: 2. Phil Rivers, 3. Roddy White, 4. Tom Brady, 5. Maurice Jones-Drew

I don't like to have the same MVP and Offensive Player of the Year and Foster was the best running back this year. Rivers was terrific despite no Vincent Jackson for much of the year and the Chargers not making the playoffs isn't on him. White is the most important weapon on the Falcons offense, yes, even more than Michael Turner. I already got into Brady and MJD's seasons.

Anti-Offensive POTY- Randy Moss- Runners up: 2. Donovan McNabb, 3. Any Dallas RB, 4. Derek Anderson, 5. Marshawn Lynch

Part of this award is that I don't put rookies in this category, thus no Jimmy Clausen. Randy Moss only caught two touchdowns of note this year and his teams were terrible when he played for them. McNabb started to show his age this year and the fact Rex Grossman is starting games says it all. The Cowboys had no running back who was good, while Derek Anderson was so bad, whoever still didn't have Kurt Warner as a Hall of Famer will put him in now. Lynch is officially done as he failed on both Buffalo and Seattle.

Defensive POTY- Troy Polamalu- Runners up: 2. Clay Matthews, 3. Cameron Wake.

Running out of time, so I'm going with the top 3 for the rest of the blog post. As I said earlier, Polamalu is the difference maker on the Steelers and is clearly the best defensive player, look at the Ravens and Bengals games as to why. Matthews is the best player on the Packers defense and Wake has been a revelation for the Dolphins, who also have a good defense.

Anti-Defensive POTY- Albert Haynesworth- Runners up: 2. Jason Taylor, 3. Alphonso Smith

Haynesworth won this award in training camp, just another terrible signing the annual offseason champions Washington Redskins. Taylor has been a failure with the Jets (Vernon Gholston would fit if anyone expected good things from him) and Smith won 3rd place from his Thanksgiving showing.

Coach of the Year- Bill Belichick- Runners up: 2. Todd Haley, 3. Lovie Smith

Belichick had his finest coaching job by getting this Pats team with young defenders and no Randy Moss to the best record in football. Haley led the Chiefs to the playoffs and showed he isn't afraid to be gutsy in the process. Smith gets here by default, since I had little expectation for that team. Not a lot of great coaching to be fair.

Anti-Coach of the Year- Mike Singletary- Runners up: 2. Marvin Lewis, 3. Norv Turner

Singletary was singlehandedly responsible for the 49ers not winning the awful NFC West. Could game manage well, couldn't pick a QB and gave up on games too soon. Lewis is responsible for the Bengals crashing to earth and is likely gone, while a team that's top 2 in offense and defense shouldn't be 8-7, right Norv?

Here's my Week 17 picks:

(Home team in CAPS)

Oakland (+4) over KANSAS CITY
Miami (+6) over NEW ENGLAND
Pittsburgh (-6) over CLEVELAND
BALTIMORE (-10) over Cincinnati
DETROIT (-4) over Minnesota
Buffalo (+3) over JETS
ATLANTA (-14) over Carolina
NEW ORLEANS (-7.5) over Tampa Bay
INDIANAPOLIS (-10) over Tennessee
HOUSTON (-4) over Jacksonville
Giants (-5) over WASHINGTON
Chicago (+10.5) over GREEN BAY- Packers win outright and clinch NFC berth
Dallas (-1) over PHILADELPHIA
Arizona (+6) over SAN FRANCISCO
DENVER (+4) over San Diego
St, Louis (-3) over SEATTLE

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