By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
BASN NFL Picks: Wild Card Weekend
By Tony McClean
Updated: January 5, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — And now, the second act begins.
TNT likes to build up the NBA Playoffs with their “Win Or Go Home” mantra. No disrespect, but that’s really what the NFL postseason is all about. No seven game series. Except for the Super Bowl, there’s no real loooooooong layoff between games.
You win, enjoy it for a few hours and a day, and it’s back to practice. You lick your wounds and get ready for the next opponent. And with the exception of a few teams, most clubs are coming in on a hot streak.
San Diego has won 10 in a row — the third team since 2000 to begin the playoffs with that lengthy a streak (2003, New England, 12; 2004, Pittsburgh, 14). Baltimore has won nine of its last 10, New England six of its last seven, the New York Jets five of their last six, and Philadelphia five in a row.
In fact, the cumulative winning percentage for all 12 clubs is .672 (129-63). Eight of the 12 teams won at least 10 games. But all of that goes out of the window for now. What’s past is past. What happens the next month will last a lifetime.
FACTOID OF THE WEEK
The NFL set a regular-season attendance record for the fourth year in a row, averaging more than 67,000 fans per game for the first time. Total paid attendance for the 2006 regular season averaged 67,738 per game and increased to 17,340,879, topping last year’s all-time mark of 17,012,453 and marking the third consecutive year that NFL teams sold more than 17 million tickets.
Tom Brady has thrown a touchdown pass in nine straight playoff games. Which quarterback holds the NFL record for most consecutive playoff games with at least one TD pass?
A. Brett Favre
B. Ken Stabler
C. Dan Marino
D. Joe Montana
(The answer comes at the end of the column).
LAST WEEK: 11-5 (157-95 overall)
Hey, hey, another double digit win week. Not a bad way to end the season. Considering all the upsets, this turned out pretty well. We tried to warn you about Frisco and the Chiefs. However, I truly didn’t see the boys from Motown going into Big D to pimp slap the Tuna Helpers. Hopefully, this is a good omen for us as we head into the postseason with all eyes and ears wide open.
CHIEFS at COLTS
Just over three years ago this very weekend, Herm Edwards and Tony Dungy met each other in an AFC Wild Card match up at the Meadowlands. While the first time that two black head coaches met in a playoff game was historic, the game itself was a runaway as Edwards’ Jets thumped Dungy’s Colts 41-0. Now Reverend Herm invades the RCA Dome with a K.C. team that needed a Joe Nedney OT field goal in Denver to put them in the postseason. Knowing how the Indy defense is susceptible to the run, look for Larry Johnson to be the workhorse for the Chiefs. But will it be enough? Indy completed their first perfect season at home since 1958 when the Baltimore Colts won the NFL championship. This will be a “last team with the ball wins it” game. I’ll stick my neck out and go with the road dog.
COWBOYS at SEAHAWKS
While it seemed like it took forever for Seattle to finally win a game late in the year, it appears the Tuna Helpers’ best days of the season are behind them. After beating the Falcons to clinch a playoff berth, Dallas has been thumped at home in successive weeks by the surging Eagles and the Lions (Yes, those Lions!!!). The Seahawks haven’t been that much better either. They lost three straight before Sunday’s win. Considering how banged up the Seattle D is you would think that this should be somewhat easy for RomoCop and his buddies. But if they struggled with Detroit, how the hell are they going to regroup against Seattle. I just don’t see it.
JETS at PATRIOTS
The Manginis of the Meadowlands return to the scene of one of their greatest triumphs this season when they visit the Pats. Everyone in the New York press has made such a big deal about Coach Belichick’s cold fish handshake at the end of their last meeting. News flash! Bill Belichick has the personality of a doorknob. And even the doorknobs are pissed at him as well. One thing Mr. Bill is a great postseason coach. To me, that’s going to be the difference in this game. Yes, Mangini has done a great job bringing this Jet squad to the playoffs. But this is so “been there, won that” with Belichick. Hopefully, “Mangenius” will take good notes on Sunday because he’s about to get a good lesson from his ex-boss.
GIANTS at EAGLES
This is a good news-bad news scenario for fans and players of Big Blue. Congratulations for making this year’s playoffs. Your mission, if you decide to accept it, is to take on one of the league’s hottest teams. You beat them waaaay back in Week Two up here, but they beat you with an ugly stick just a few weeks back. Realistically, the Giants will keep this game close behind the running of Tiki Barber. But where Philly will take control is their offense behind Jeff Garcia, Brian Westbrook, and others. The Iggles D has also stepped it up as well during this stretch as well. Oh well, at least the ride home won’t be that long and the fights in the stands should be entertaining.
TRIVIA ANSWER: A. Brett Favre has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 16 straight playoff games dating back to 1995. Dan Marino did it 13 straight from 1983 to 1995