Jan 21, 2008
First of all, mad props to the San Diego Chargers for hanging tough with the Patriots on Sunday. If the Pats aren’t blowing a team out, they’re playing just well enough to win, and the latter was definitely the case on Sunday. I don’t know about you, but I feel the Patriots won that game because of their defense, not because of “Tom Terrific.” If anything, Brady was “Tom Lethargic” yesterday. If the Chargers had a healthy LT, Gates, and also Rivers, they might have won that game. But it matters little; the Pats dodged a bullet.
Take that notion and how the Giants gave the Pats all they could handle less than a month ago, and I believe the Giants have a puncher’s chance in the Super Bowl.
You really have to tip your cap to the G-Men and their coaching staff. They have played incredibly impressive football. Offense, defense, special teams, forcing turnovers, limiting mistakes; you name it, they’ve done it well. Football is the ultimate team sport, and the Giants have played very well as a team – and that’s why they’re still playing.
That’s an important point because, to beat the Pats, they’ll have to play a perfect game, on all levels, because you just know if the Giants come out and play very well early in the game, the Pats likely will too.
Here are some things I learned after watching the AFC and NFC title games.
- It’s kind of a shame he’s done well for the most part on the national stage, so the cat may be out of the bad, but Giant RB Ahmad Bradshaw’s a damn good player. He’s got a little Marion Barber to him, and like Barber he may have some serious fantasy value for the long-term despite not being the “starter.”
- While my preseason affinity for QB Philip Rivers and WR Vincent Jackson may have been off-base this year, these guys are far from stiffs, as we all saw. Rivers just needs to settle down, because he can make all the throws, and with accuracy. Jackson caught the ball really well, and he can definitely run for a big guy.
- I also feel good about endorsing Eli Manning the last few years. Like Rivers he’s a little frustrating and it’s easy to jump off his bandwagon, but there’s no denying that he’s a quality player, and for him to maintain such a high level of play on the biggest of stages is proof that we can probably expect more consistency from him from here on out.
- I like Michael Turner, but I’m not sure if he’ll be anything special. He’s got some speed to the corner, and he can run away from people, but I’m not sure he has enough quickness to be a big-time difference-maker. Still, I think he’ll be very solid if he gets a starting gig elsewhere.
- I felt it in my gut for most of the second half of the season, and I don’t know why I didn’t mention it for the playoff draft strategy, but I just knew the Patriots would dust Laurence Maroney off for the playoffs. It’s it just like the Pats to stay one step ahead of everyone else by passing it all year, and now in the post-season becoming much more of a running team. Typical.
- I really feel bad for LT. I never forget about when I asked him if he was miffed at the Manning’s for snubbing the Chargers, and how honest he was with his reply (he was very disappointed in the whole situation). Not that I think he’s particularly perturbed about Manning being in the Super Bowl now, but it had to be hard for him not to play against the Pats. Let’s face it; he’s not a big fan of that organization.
- Giant WR Plaxico Burress is basically the bane of my fantasy expert existence. I used to be ripped hard for my love of Burress in like 2002, 2003, etc. He did disappoint, but now at least people can see why I was enamored with him. Of course, I couldn’t stomach endorsing him heavily this summer given his injury problems, and while he did hit a major rough patch, the guy’s been unbelievable. I had to move him down this past week given his lack of production and more importantly the weather – and of course he goes off. A word to the wise in case I forget: if I’m loving Burress this August, you may want to avoid him.