Wild Card weekend

Posted: Saturday, January 05, 2008 by Travis Cody in

I'm a little under the weather today, but it's Wild Card weekend and there is a level of excitement that is not to be denied.

Plus, we get kitties today!

Today's games...

First up is Washington vs Seattle. It's drizzly today with gusty winds. But I don't expect the weather to be a factor. Washington is healthy and playing well. The Redskins won their last 4 regular season games to get themselves into the playoffs behind the competent play of QB Todd Collins and RB Clinton Portis. The team has rallied together emotionally after the tragic murder of Sean Taylor. But this is also a pretty solid team that usually gets the fundamentals right. Seattle played well in the second half of the season, capitalizing on one of the easier schedules in the league. I've said that I don't think this is a good football team. Winning the weak NFC West earned the Seahawks a home playoff game. Seattle can score points if QB Matt Hasselbeck plays well. The defense relies on a good pass rush, but has had trouble stopping the run.

My pick is Washington.

Jacksonville's biggest disadvantage is that they play in the AFC South, which has been owned by the Colts over the last few seasons. The Jaguars are a team with few weaknesses. They focus heavily on running the football and controlling the clock. Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew have combined to rush for nearly 2000 yards. QB David Garrard doesn't make mistakes, throwing only 3 interceptions against 18 touchdowns. Jacksonville has a solid defense that can create turnovers. Pittsburgh has struggled down the stretch, losing 3 of its last 5 including a game at home against Jacksonville in mid-December. Weather is not expected to be a factor today, so the field should be as good as it gets. Pittsburgh's best chance is the same as Jacksonville...rely on the run to control the clock and minimize mistakes. Statistically, Pittsburgh's defense is one of the best in the league. The Steelers did play a tougher schedule down the stretch, but I think the Jaguars are the better team right now.

My pick is Jacksonville.

Sunday games...

This is a tough one for me to analyze because I haven't seen much of Tampa this season. For the Giants, the entire playoff experience rests on whether QB Eli Manning is going to be able to step up his game. Against New England in the final regular season game, he played like the All Pro his pedigree says he should be. But he's still prone to serious mistakes, like the interception he threw that gave the Patriots the opportunity to change momentum in that game and ultimately preserve the 16-0 season. So for me, that's the key to the entire game. Will Manning be The Guy? Or will Tampa's excellent defense baffle and befuddle him into making those typical bad mistakes?

My pick is Tampa Bay.

Tennessee vs San Diego. Titans QB Vince Young's health is in doubt and it's a game time decision whether or not he'll play. Even if he does, his mobility is likely to be limited due to the hamstring injury. He's got a strong arm and is a reasonably accurate passer, but he is most effective on the move. If he's not able to scramble, he'll struggle against a pretty good SD pass rush. As for the Chargers, the key to success is RB LaDainian Tomlinson. He accounts for nearly 40% of SD's offensive yards from scrimmage. QB Philip Rivers needs to avoid big mistakes and keep his cool. The Chargers have taken advantage of a pretty weak schedule to win the AFC West, winning the last 8 games in a row. I don't know that SD is good enough to advance very far through the playoffs, but the Chargers are the better team today.

My pick is San Diego.

I might be back later with some game day observations. We'll see how things go with the kitties.

Happy Saturday y'all!


  1. Jeff B says:

    It's half time and I can't believe the lack of offense Washington is showing.

    I thought I saw a big mushroom cloud up your way when the refs waffeled on the incomplete pass / fumble by Collins in the second quarter. Why do I have the feeling Pam was a bit annimated about that call? For the record I do think it was an incomplete pass, but the whole exchange between the officials was a bit strange.

    On to the second half.

  1. Jacksonville? really?

  1. Dana says:

    :starts making bets based on Trav's picks:

  1. Jeni says:

    So, how did my Redskins fare today anyway. From Jeff's comments, doesn't sound too good. Hey, I'm just happy they got into a playoff game!

  1. Travis says:

    Jeff: Yeah - Washington played for about 8 minutes. Pam was set to bring out the Super Bowl "we wuz robbed" lament, but she bit her tongue and decided to think positive instead.

    Katherine: Evidently yes.

    Dana: Good luck! Heehee!

    Jeni: They came up short.