January 13, 2006

Frinklin Playoff Preview: Saturday

Washington Redskins at Seattle Seahawks

I was 11 –just turned actually- the last time the Seattle Seahawks won a playoff game. Chuck Knox was the coach, they played in the Kingdome and their uniforms were the proper blue, silver and green. Since then the NFL has added four teams, four teams have moved and the Seahawks have switched leagues. They’ve also wandered in the desert of 8-8 for 20 years.

That’s over on Saturday.

The Redskins are tough. Gregg Williams’ defense –despite no pro bowl selections- is really, really good. Santana Moss in the open field scares me against an injury-plagued Seahawk secondary. Joe Gibbs is a Hall of Fame coach, and the last six games have proved it. The Seahawks have choked more times in the last few years than I care to count. The defense is young and maybe a bit on the small side. Marcus Trufant, Kelly Herndon and Andre Dyson might not have enough healthy body parts to make up one corner, let alone three.

None of it matters.

Seattle is the better team –markedly so- in this matchup. They’re at home, in the most difficult place to play in the NFL. Matt Hasselbeck is the best QB in the NFC. Shaun Alexander the best running back and the NFL MVP. Jones, Hutchison, Tobeck, Gray and Locklear are the best offensive line. The defense is better than it has been in years. Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill are the best set of rookie linebackers in the league. The smallish D-line of Bryce Fisher, Marcus Tubbs, Chuck Darby and Grant Wistrom is quick and unrelenting on the pass rush.

21 years of mediocrity end on Saturday. The Seahawks will win this game, and find themselves one step away from Detroit. It might not be close.

The Pick: Seattle 24, Washington 10

New England Patriots at Denver Broncos

The Pats were really, really rooting for Cincinnati last week; since they match up with the Colts far better than they do Denver. The Broncos will try to use brute force against the Patriots front seven, throwing Tatum Bell, Ron Dayne and Mike Anderson at them, then hope they Pats mediocre safeties creep up. If Jake Plummer can take advantage of New England’s young corners, Denver will score with the same ease it did during their regular season win in Invesco.

There are a lot of reasons to like Denver in this game. The Broncos have the home field. Their running game is clicking and Plummer is having his best season ever. The Bronco defense, led by stud linebackers Al Wilson and Ian Gold and a pair of youngsters in the secondary, is aggressive and fast. And despite their easy win over Jacksonville, the Patriots didn’t look all that great. Tom Brady was awful the first half. Corey Dillon ran with the authority of a church mouse and Tedy Bruschi may still be hurt. Despite the improvement on defense (getting Richard Seymour will do that), the back seven is still rickety and I can’t even name their nickel or dime backs. Aside from Troy Brown, and that’s only because he plays both ways.

So why do keep thinking that the Patriots win this?

The Pick: New England 27, Denver 24

Posted by Frinklin at January 13, 2006 11:15 PM | TrackBack

I was thinking of challenging you to a wager on the Hawks-Skins game, but I realized that I was certain that the Skins were going to lose and lose big. Despite our utter incompetence, though, we only lost by 10. If I were you, I'd be concerned for next week.

Posted by: Mediocre Fred at January 14, 2006 06:25 PM

On a day when the MVP goes out in the first quarter and Seattle commits three turnovers to the opposition's one, I can live with 20-10.

Posted by: frinklin at January 14, 2006 09:57 PM
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