For the record, I suck at picking these games. If you ignore my "rooting interest" in the Jaguars, I'm still at 4 of 8, with last week completely kicking my tail. A huge thank you to my friend Roman who insisted that the Giants were the real deal. The Giants game being the only one in the divisional round that I picked correctly. Hell, I even picked the Colts, which I never do, just so I could hedge my bets against a New England Cake Walk into the Super Bowl. Even the Colts burnt me, which should come as no surprise. With that said, it's time to try again at picking these damn games.
San Diego Chargers @ New England Patriots -- Um. Right. Phillip Rivers versus Tom Brady. And that's IF he can play with half a knee. Norv Turner versus Bill Belichick. Wow. Does it get more obvious? Clearly the Chargers are going to come into Foxboro, whack around an undefeated team, and then do their part in giving us an unhyped Super Bowl.
Am I really picking the Chargers? Hell Yeah! After the New England Debacle last week and the oh so kind treatment of Jaguars Fans at the Stadium, I am having nothing to do with the New England Patriots. They could be playing Daytona Beach Community College for all I care, I'd still pick the underdog. I don't care about any logic here, all I want is a Patriot Defeat. I've been a proud Patriot Hater for awhile now, especially after living with some of their fanbase, so it's no problem for me to make an absurd pick, as long as I can look at myself in the mirror and say "Chris, you've done the right thing".
Dignity and class, that's what Big Cat Country is all about. That and irrational biases toward teams that result in us knowingly picking the wrong team.
CHARGERS -- 73 - 17
Let's take an second here to look at all the terrible outcomes of this week's games.
1. Patriots and Packers win: We get two weeks of slurping over the two quarterbacks, Brett Favre on what could be his Elway moment, and the impending perfection of Tom Brady and the Patriots. Peter King would explode in his own juices at the thought of this. The hype would be unbearable, and might result in me not watching the game. I'm human, I have my limits.
2. Patriots and Giants win: Hype goes down a bit, thankfully, but we'd get all Patriots all the time. The only upside to this one is that someone, somewhere would ask if Eli Manning is better than Peyton, and that would make me smile. Of course, the Patriots would probably walk all over the Giants. I'd be happy with the attention on Tom Coughlin, he deserves a little hype. Besides, it could be one hell of a game, you know that the Giants don't leave anything on the field when they play the Patriots.
3. Chargers and Packers win: Here we'd have the "gunslinger's final ride" angle shoved down our throats. The will he retire or will he stay talk would start two weeks early this season, and we'd get all sorts of Elway comparisons. So many, in fact, that my deeply repressed hatred toward the Denver Broncos (Thank's Marc!) would emerge and I would become, for the second consecutive game, the biggest Chargers fan ever.
4. Chargers and Giants win: The outcome that results in the least hype. Hell, this game might not even sell out. You know the NFL, FOX, and everyone paying $90,000.00 a second to advertise is praying that we don't get an Eli Manning and Phillip Rivers Super Bowl. Of course, I'm of the opinion that seeing these two top draft picks from the same draft (and with just a little bit of drama involved) go face to face in a Super Bowl would be tremendously exciting. Seriously, we'd see the 2004 draft craziness validated. Also, the G-men would have showed some serious resiliency in winning three games on the road just to get there. The least likely and least hyped outcome is the one I'm hoping for. Sort of a big ef-you to the whole season.
@ New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers -- Do you really think I'm going to stick with sound football logic after picking the Chargers to put up seventy points on the Patriots. I'm rolling my dice with the team that got me my only win last week. Yup, I'm all in on the Giants. I don't care how cold it is, the Giants have the tools to win in their running game, and they've got a hot hand. Is it hotter than the Packers, of course not, but it's enough to give them a good shot at winning. It's not about Eli Manning this week, it's about sound running, not making mistakes, no turnovers, etc. Tom Coughlin is all about preparing a team for the big game, he'll have his Giants ready to play. I'm unabashed in my rooting for Tom, unless he's playing the Jagaurs, so you can't be surprised with my picks here.
Giants - 21 - 17
As usual, Big Cat Country advises you to make your picks using the opposite of mine. The likelyhood of both visitors winning on Sunday is slim to none, especially for the Chargers. But I must do the right thing and root for the good guys. Even if my definion of "good" is as subjective as you can get.