Larry James: Pounding Offenses, Whiny Quarterbacks, Butt-stopping Defenses, & Egregious Injuries Will Define This Week’s NFL Playoff Matchups. Sistah O.F.F: And I’ll Tell You If That Even Matters

By A. Renee’ West & Lawrence (Larry J.) Robinson
Updated: January 5, 2006

Sistah OFF: Frankly, after the Fiesta, Orange, and Rose Bowls, my guts are wrenched drained. I’m not ready for more football.

Larry J: Yeah, right. Football, FootBALL, FOOTBALL!! You can’t wait to see who your ‘every season pick to go to the Super Bowl since Tony Dungy was hired’ Colts will give a royal whomping beat down to to get to the Super Bowl. Twenty-two guys. On a field.

Sistah OFF: Smacking. Crashing. Crushing. Hitting. Combat. Testosterone. Gimme the first game. Now!

Larry J: Works every time. AFC Playoffs. Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New England Patriots. This game intrigues me because the Pats are now surging and the Jags will have their quarterback, Byron ‘never say die’ Leftwich, back.

Sistah OFF: He won’t be 100%. He broke an ankle.

Larry J: So. He broke his leg at Marshall … Sistah OFF: … and his linemen carried him, literally.

Larry J: … but they didn’t throw those 4 touchdowns.

Sistah OFF: so you’re going with the Jags because they have Byron Leftwich?

Larry J: The Jags also have a proven defense. They shut down the Colts to 10 and 26 points respectively in their two games this year, which is pretty good since Indy averaged 42 ppg for most of the season. Nevertheless, in Foxboro, the Patriots are King. Forget the first part of the season. It won’t matter that the Pats Mr. Rah Rah Sis coom bah Bruschi is questionable, so he may have limited play, and Corey Dillon on offense is probable. In Foxboro, the Jaguars will not touch the Patriots now that they’re surging. New England will win.

Sistah OFF: Well, like Earth Wind & Fire says, here are the reasons I’m here. One, I dislike Boston. Two, Foxboro is an ugly stadium, too far from Boston, and in the middle of nothing. Three, I’ve never forgiven Belichick for the way he dumped the Jets and insulted Parcells. Four, Brady whining this week that his team is disrespected was so wussy. His team was barely .500 this year, so give me a break. Five, Six, Seven through Nine, the Patriots annoy me with all that … patriotism. It reminds me of how my ancestors came over to this country. I’m rooting for the Jags … Larry J: I dislike New England too, but I’m going with fact.

Sistah OFF: … oh you wanted fact? If the Pats are counting on winning because Leftwich ‘pocket passer’ is rusty, the Jags will run the ball with Fred ‘did I hear a scream’ Taylor behind the dynamic duo of Williams and Brady. And when Leftwich gets roiled and oiled, the Jag receivers, who are bigger than the Pats’ corners, will simply outmuscle their defenders, which is why they won 12, repeat 12, games. The only ‘X’ factor in this game is Tom ‘I’m second in miracles to Mother Teresa’ Brady. But he is facing the number 6 defense. I’m going with the Jags winning in Foxboro.

Larry J: New England will win and face your beloved Indy. Shovel that. Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati. Winner goes to Mile High and faces the Denver Broncos … again.

Sistah OFF: The Bengals just lost two games they should have won and foolishly believe they can turn it on now for the playoffs. Fools wish. They haven’t been to the playoffs in 15 years, and most of the players have never been on a playoff team. Their nerves will shrivel like that infamous Seinfeld episode where George ‘exposes’ himself after he has just come back from swimming. So it won’t matter that the Bengals have an amazing high-powered offense led by Chad Johnson and Carson Palmer, and a good running game led by Rudi Johnson. It will matter that when their defense is called on to stand toe to toe in mano y mano helmet to helmet combat, they wear out 2 minutes into the third quarter because that’s the kind of smash mouth blue collar game the Steelers play. So the Steelers having been there before, peaking at the right time, wanting – one of my favorite sport words – revenge for their last loss to the Bengals, and having the emotion, heart, and physicality of da Bus, da Bus, da Bus, I’m going with the Steelers. It’s all about the Steelers.

Larry J: You got this one down. The Steelers are going to play their game and pound the football into the Bengals D-Line. But my X-Factor for the Bengals is for Rudi Johnson to play, and play well, and he’s probable with a knee injury … Sistah OFF: The Steelers’ front line will pound Rudi Johnson back into Friday night to his favorite restaurant in Newport, Kentucky where he will be the menu’s surf on the turf.

Larry J: … and if this becomes a shootout, Big Ben’s thumb will have no problem throwing the long ball with a Delta O’Neal-less Bengals secondary as he is also doubtful with a knee injury. I had the Bengals making noise all the way to the AFC Championship game and enjoying plenty of Chad Johnson marriage proposals and Riverdances, but the way they dropped their last two games made me doubt their momentum, too. So I’m going with the… say it with me.

Sistah OFF & Larry J: The Steelers and Da Bus, Da Bus, Da Bus!

Sistah OFF: I like when you’re smart enough to agree with me.

Larry J: I try Sistah OFF: What’s the first NFC game?

Larry J: New York Giants vs. Carolina Panthers. Winner meets “The Great” and the Seattle Seahawks. For offense, the game hinges on some easy questions. For the Giants – Can Eli perform at home like he did earlier in the season and get the ball down the field to Plaxico Burress? Can the front line keep Eli safe from the intimidating Panther’s defensive rush? Can the Giants overcome not having Jeremy Shockey if he’s still out with an ankle injury? The Giants haven’t played well lately, but they have won four of their last five. And it’s a surety that Carolina will have no answer for Tiki ‘ the better looking’ Barber. If the Panther linebackers cover him, that leaves Toomer and Burress with one-on-one coverage, which can lead to, can we say, touchdowns!! For the Panthers, they have Steve Smith, but he can’t do it all himself, and Foster and Goings are questionable. Giants X-Factor…. Chad Morton. Very dangerous punt returner. If he breaks one for the house it will be a long day for the Panthers. Panthers X-Factor. Oops, they don’t have one. Giants win, no overtime. Okay, let’s here your logical ramble.

Sistah OFF: First, you need to acknowledge that we have the #4 offense, the Giants, meeting the #3 defense, the Panthers. That alone cracked me up because Eli was so inconsistent this year, but that just proved how consistent his receivers and Tiki were. The Giants also have some injuries on defense. Sigh. Both teams have some strange wins and losses, so honestly I think illogic works as well hear as logic. So, I like Terry Bradshaw a lot, which means I like Jake Delhomme, so I should go for the Panthers, but I don’t like Rodney Peete on Best Damn Sports Show. Bryan Cox was much better and more frank. The latter means more to me than the former, so even though I think Coughlin is one antenna short of a Favorite Martian, and Plaxico is so not cute, and Shockey is no longer in for dating Paris Hilton, Strahan cracks me up despite the ‘yeah we bought that Farve’ sack record and Eli you just want to hug, unlike Peyton, and I still love Parcells, despite the blond hair debacle … I pick the Giants.

Larry J: Thank you. The Washington Redskins vs. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Winner goes to Soldier Field and my beloved Chicago Bears. The Skins and Bucs had a classic game back in Week 10 with the Bucs coming out on top 36-35 … Sistah OFF: … after the refs blew an obvious call and gave a touchdown to the Bucs at the end of the game. Larry J: This will probably be the best game to watch over the weekend.

Sistah OFF: For you.

Larry J: For the Bucs, the questions are can Chris ‘my father will always have my back’ Simms keep it up? Can Joey Galloway get thru the secondary with Shawn Springs’ hurt groin? Does the Cadillac ‘who should have been drafted by the Bears’ have a 2.0 Liter Engine or a Hemi? We know Washington has the better offense, but the Bucs have the better defense.

Sistah OFF: That’s it? No questions for Washington?

Larry J: Not really. Mark Brunell has the experience to lead the team. Clinton Portis will do his job at running the ball. Santana Moss is the bomb at receiving, and Chris Cooley has made a name for himself as a tight end. All Washington has to do is keep Tampa Bay from goal line situations so Alstott can’t punch it in.

Sistah OFF: So you pick the Redskins?

Larry J: Nah, Tampa Bay Bucs. I think they can pull it out again. Without questionable ref calls.

Sistah OFF: Huh?? Never mind, I’m going with the RedSkins. I love NASCAR. I love Joe Gibbs. End of story. Now for four months I’ve said the Colts will win the Super Bowl, put your ‘balls to the walls’ and predict? By the way, that’s a nautical term. Did you know that?

Larry J: No, I didn’t Sistah OFF: It’s from that movie with Lauren Holly and that Frasier guy.

Larry J: It will be a Midwest matchup.

Sistah OFF: Wuss, say the names. Bears and Indy. Indy takes it all.

Larry J: So, to recap, my picks go to the Patriots, Steelers, Giants, and Buccaneers. You went with the Jags, Steelers, Giants, and Skins. And we’ll be back next week to run thru the Divisional Games. Say bye bye puppet.

Sistah OFF: Bye Biscuit. Although I have no clue what you’re talking about.

Larry J: That’s why we love you.