By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Scouting the Divisional Playoffs: LJ & Sistah OFF Tangle Out of Their Tie
What a wild-card weekend!! LJ:
SISTAH OFF: Hold on, let’s get the accolades out of the way first. We both called ‘Coach of the Year,’ but you called the MVP, so from henceforth until I get tired, which is right now, I’ll call you ‘Lawrence, The Great.’
LJ: Thank you. Thank you. I am great, aren’t I? Maybe one day you’ll think twice before going against ‘The Great, I am’ – me.
SISTAH OFF: Let me … yank … my finger … out of my … throat. Whew. So, the games this past weekend were …
LJ: … dominating blowout, two teams overmatched, and Cincy lost their chance when Palmer went down.
SISTAH OFF: … pretty exciting, even the games that were pure domination because that was so unexpected. You got two: the Patriots and Steelers, and I got two: the Steelers and Redskins, so ‘Great is Me too,’ Mini Me. So, let’s look at this weekend’s match-ups.
LJ: With the 1 and 2 seeds thrown into the mix, we’ll now see who’s ready to step up and compete for ‘Top Dawg’ in their respective conference and a chance at Super Bowl glory.
SISTAH OFF: The first game Saturday is Washington at Seattle. They’ve played before with Seattle coming up short.
LJ: I would like to say that history will repeat itself, but if the Redskins play no offense football against the Seahawks like they did against Tampa Bay, and it’s likely they will, then Holmgren will finally win his first playoff game in Seattle. Also you have the fatigue factor, which kicks in when teams travel from the East to West Coast.
Meanwhile, Seattle has a potent offense, led by Shaun Alexander, my namesake, and their defense. Even with Dyson and Trufant listed as out and doubtful respectively, they should still be okay, depending on how many times the Skins go with the big pass to Santana Moss.
SISTAH OFF: So, you’re picking …
LJ: Seahawks have the offensive edge; I’m going with Holmgren and the Seahawks.
SISTAH OFF: Well, you’re right. Seattle will win this game. Even though their strength of schedule was 32nd in the league compared to Washington, who had the 2nd toughest, Seattle has Alexander, great receivers like Jerramy Stevens, and this really fine disciplined defensive end, Bryce Fisher. So Seattle wins. But I’m picking Washington because I love Joe Gibbs and, under physical duress, he let me wear his Super Bowl ring. Well, we’re done here. New England vs. Denver, and you know I’m picking …
LJ: Are you going with Belichick?
SISTAH OFF: Denver. John Elway and Mike Shanahan have the worst set of enamels money can buy, they just look way too fake, even for Hollywood. And I don’t like Tom Jackson as an analyst either. Way too pro management. And I was upset when Neil Smith left the Chiefs for the Broncos, and … well, I could give a slew of other reasons, but it really doesn’t matter. Nor does it matter that the Patriots are surging right now. The Broncos will win, and then will lose to Indy in Indy.
LJ: I’m taking the Broncos too. Offensively and defensively, both teams match up evenly and both have great coaches, but Denver has played excellent mistake-free football all year and I don’t see why they will stop now. Mike Anderson is out, but they still have Tatum Bell and Ron Dayne, and a defense, led by John Lynch, that likes to get physical. I’ll give the Patriots a fighter’s chance in hades because, hey, they’re the Patriots. Go Broncos.
SISTAH OFF: Go Colts, who I’m a little less worried about than I have been. David Fleming had a really good interview with Colt’s middle linebacker Gary Brackett in this week’s ESPN the Magazine. I now believe they’ve come back together as a team. Their mental toughness is headed back in the right direction. The death of James Dungy is on their minds but not the focal point of their mind, which is again the Super Bowl. And they’re going to win the Super Bowl, starting with the defeat of the Steelers. Bus Line #36 ends in Indy this Sunday. Colts by 17.
LJ: I’m actually going with the Steelers on this one.
SISTAH OFF: Excuse me?!? Are you turning in your family card?
LJ: If any team has a chance to knock off a #1 seed, it’s the Steelers. And I just feel Big Ben is ready to step up and take out a big contender like Indy. I also feel the Steelers defense will step up and make Manning run out of the pocket, which he hates to do, and force bad throws. Also, Troy Polamalu is an exciting Safety and has a strong presence on the field. Steelers by 5. Da Bus, Da Bus, DA BUS!
SISTAH OFF: You better pray, if you want to keep your place in this family, that you are wrong.
Some folks don’t know when they need to stop talking. Let’s move on, Mr. ‘I Know You’ve Lost Your Daggum Mind Up in Here.’ Bears and. Panthers. Bears win, and I’m not discussing it.
LJ: You know my mother, your sister, thinks you’re weird.
SISTAH OFF: Spawn child …
LJ: Be quiet. Grown ups are talking now. But I agree with your pick. On the downside is the Bears offense, which has been absent for most of the season. But we now have Rex Grossman, who has shown promise. And having played a little over one game, the Panthers have no film to study to see what he can do or his tendencies. So each team will try their best to establish the running game and switch up with play action plays down field. For defense, with both teams ranked #2 and 3 overall, the pressure will come from both ends so the game plan is the same from both teams and it’s just who can execute better. The game is in Chicago, 30 degrees with wind blowing. Bears win.
SISTAH OFF: So we only disagree on the Steelers/Indy game, which you’ll lose.
LJ: We disagree on the ‘Skins/Seahawks game too, and we’ll be back next week to go over the Conference Championship. Say bye puppet.
SISTAH OFF: I’m not speaking to you. Bye Biscuit.