1.21.2005
 
Friday Juice

I've got Vick's face on the front because I think this is going to be the last weekend we will get to see him this season. He'll be only 25 years old by the time the Falcons kick off summer camp later this year. 25....

  • Falcons -5 at Eagles - I published notes on this game Thursday, but I'd also like to add something from Bill Simmons that I usually do in my head before I make a pick:
    Here's a good rule of thumb for Championship Sunday: Pretend you wagered on each team, then pick the worst-case scenario for each side. For instance, a worst-case scenario for that Rams-Falcons game last week would have been Vick scrambling around early, followed by Dunn breaking a long run, then the Falcons making their obligatory special teams play, then Bulger getting hurt, then Mike Martz staring out onto the field like an American tourist trying to read a train station schedule in Chinese. And that's pretty much what happened.

    For the Falcons this Sunday, here's the worst-case scenario: The Eagles shut down their running game, forcing Vick to throw the ball. When none of his receivers can get open (and isn't that the biggest mismatch in this game -- that motley crew of Atlanta receivers against Philly's superb secondary?), he'll try to create something with his scrambling ... only the Eagles have the horses up front to chase him down, much like the way Tampa Bay's D always handles Vick (as Collinsworth pointed out this week on HBO). And the Falcons offense will keep sputtering, and the Eagles will grind out a few drives, and that will be that.

    Here's the worst-case scenario for the Eagles: Even though they're controlling the game, for whatever reason, the Falcons keep hanging around ... and hanging around ... and suddenly it's early in the fourth quarter, and the score is tied ... and that's when the fans start to get nervous (the baggage thing) ... and then Vick breaks a big play to take the lead ... and everyone in Philly is thinking, "Oh my God, please tell me it's not happening again" ... and then McNabb plays the rest of the game with both hands wrapped around his neck. See you next year.
    Consider all the crap he's put out this past week, I'm glad to see that something useful has fallen out of his Shark Jumping word processor. I never thought the Eagles would suffer too much from the loss of TO until the Super Bowl. The Falcons are by far their toughest test in over two months (loss to Pitt on 11/7) but I think the Eagles match up well enough against them to win. The Falcons can be run on and their defense is based around their pass rush. Philly should be able to neutralize that and take advantages down the field. Philadelphia -5

  • Patriots -3 at Steelers - What Coach Belichek meant earlier this week when he said that his team would get killed if his defense plays against the Steelers like they did against the Colts, was how the Pats were just daring the Colts to run up the middle of the field and then take some chances deep. Since Indy didn't do either of those two things, they are home this week and next week and so on. This Sunday, the Pats will try to take away the Pittsburgh run and force Ben Burger to beat them. QBs who can move around the pocket do better against NE, but this one rookie won't be able to do enough to win. One can't stress enough that Corey Dillon did not play when these teams met earlier this season. The Patriots offense is much more versitile than Pittsburgh's. And NE's defense is just as good as the Steelers. Matchup that in the snow of western Pennsylvania, and I'm taking New England -3.
Current 2005 Beach NFL Playoff Record ATS: 7-4. 2004 NFL Regular Season Record ATS: 44-37.
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ODDS- YAHOO



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