Playoffs First Round
by Tony Medley
The NFL has
changed the game so much that predicting who will win and lose has
become much less reliable. The rules-makers emphasis on offense by
prohibiting defensive backs from even breathing on a wide receiver and
prohibiting defensive players from even touching a quarterback has made
the passing game inviolate. Rogers and Brady and Brees aren't better
than van Brocklin and Namath and Unitas through skill. Their numbers are
better because of the rules and the way they are enforced. The league
has turned the game into a replica of the old pre-merger AFL, all
offense and no defense, and that's not for the better.
Ergo, I'm no
longer writing my predictions of playoffs because it's just a coin flip.
However, just for the record, here's how I'd pick this weekend's games
if it were the old world:
New Orleans over
Detroit. At the beginning of the year I thought Detroit would be in the
NFC title game. But they are undisciplined, lost their only running
back, and commit too many stupid penalties.
Cincinnati. Cincy has come a remarkable way with a rookie quarterback,
and Houston lost its first two quarterbacks, but I still think Houston
should win, although I haven't seen either team play very much, so this
is really a coin toss.
Atlanta. I think the Giants are close to being the best team in football
right now, with Eli Manning throwing some truly amazing touch passes and
they have a good defense. I've never been that impressed by Atlanta or
Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh really disappointed me in last year's Super Bowl
and their two best players are injured. This is my big upset.
In the past I've
been very confident and in the last three years I've only missed on
three games. This year, with the way the game has changed, I wouldn't
risk a farthing on any of the games.
January 7, 2012