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January 2007

The night of Tuesday January 30th, 2007 the Buffalo Sabres squared off against the Boston Bruins at home coming off of a three game losing streak, which tied their season long. Martin Biron, the Sabre’s backup goaltender, minded Buffalo’s net, giving a slumping Ryan Miller a rest.

The Sabres simply outclassed the Bruins from the start of the game. Buffalo left winger Thomas Vanek started off the scoring on the power play two minutes and fifteen seconds into the game, with assists from Jason Pominville and Maxim Afinogenov, and Buffalo didn’t look back.

Buffalo center and the NHL All-Star Game MVP, Daniel Briere, in his first home game since the All-Star Game, scored his second career hat trick in the win. Biron put in a 25 save effort, while winning his first game since January 6th. This was Buffalo’s sixth straight home win against Boston.

Earlier this month, the NFL announced that six teams were being considered as the team that gives up a home game during the 2007 season with the site to be either Great Britain or Germany. The teams being considered were the Buffalo Bills, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Miami Dolphins, the New Orleans Saints, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Seattle Seahawks. This angered me as a NFL fan, a Buffalo Bills fan, and most importantly as a Buffalo region resident. Each NFL team only gets 8 home games, and many locales, stadium ushers, parking lot attendants, concession vendors, security guards, and local businesses rely on the employment and business generated from their corresponding team’s home games.

The Dolphin’s have been choosen to be the team to lose their home game this year. Their opponent will be either the NY Giants or the Buffalo Bills. I would assume the NFL would choose the Giants as their opponent since it would be a non-conference game and not have as much importance for the final AFC East standings (not like either the Bills or the Dolphins will be much of a factor come next December/January). But then again it seems the NFL has no rhyme or reason behind most of the things it does.

Over the next 16 seasons, each of the league’s 32 teams will participate in a regular season game outside the United States. At least that is what the plan is. What are they going to do when a riot breaks out because the stadium is packed full and they realize that this game is American Football and not soccer which they were expecting (I’m joking here, no angry emails please)! We shall see what happens and see if the NFL can successfully market itself overseas.

Due to increased traffic looking for BCS ranking information, I’ve decided to post 2007 final poll information. Before we get into the actual final rankings, I will describe each poll, just in case you’re not sure what each really is.

The AP Poll, or Associated Press Poll, is compiled by polling sportswriters across the nation. Each voter provides his/her own ranking of the top 25 teams in the nation. Each of the individual rankings are then combined to produce the national ranking by giving a team 25 points for a first place vote, 24 points for a second place vote and so forth down to one point for a twenty-fifth place vote. Ballots of the voting members in the AP Poll are made public. The following 65 sportswriters and broadcasters (and their corresponding affiliate) voted in the AP Poll for NCAA football for the 2006-2007 season.

  • Greg Archuleta, Albuquerque Journal
  • Steve Batterson, Quad City Times
  • Harold Bechard, Hutchinson News
  • David Birkett, The Oakland Press
  • Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman
  • B.G. Brooks, Rocky Mountain News
  • Jimmy Burch, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
  • Angelique Chengelis, The Detroit News
  • Fred Cowgill, WLKY-TV
  • Brian Curtis, College Sports Television
  • Barker Davis, Washington Times
  • Susan Miller Degnan, Miami Herald
  • Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle
  • Aaron Fentress, The Oregonian
  • Ray Fittipaldo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • Chris Fowler, ESPN
  • Jason Franchuk, Provo Daily Herald
  • Robert Gagliardi, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle
  • Joe Giglio, The News & Observer
  • Joey Goodman, The Lawton Constitution
  • Herb Gould, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Jeff Gravley, WRAL-TV
  • Tim Griffin, San Antonio Express-News
  • Joe Hawk, Las Vegas Review-Journal
  • Kirk Herbstreit, WBNS-AM/ESPN
  • Bob Holt, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
  • John Hoover, Tulsa World
  • Craig James, ABC
  • David Jones, Florida Today
  • Aditi Kinkhabwala, The Bergen Record
  • Jim Kleinpeter, New Orleans Times-Picayune (removed 11/15/06)
  • Doug Lesmerises, The Plain Dealer
  • Ferd Lewis, Honolulu Advertiser
  • Chris Low, The Tennessean
  • Stewart Mandel,
  • Matt McCoy, WTVN-AM
  • Joe Medley, Anniston Star
  • Jeff Metcalfe, Arizona Republic
  • Tom Mulhern, Wisconsin State Journal
  • Robbie Neiswanger, The Jackson Clarion-Ledger
  • Neill Ostrout, Connecticut Post
  • Kevin Pearson, Riverside Press-Enterprise
  • Joe Person, The State
  • Steve Phillips, WBIR-TV
  • Michael Pointer, The Indianapolis Star
  • Mike Prater, Idaho Statesman
  • Scott Rabalais, The Baton Rouge Advocate
  • Mike Radano, Courier-Post
  • Dave Rahme, Syracuse Post-Standard
  • Ray Ratto, San Francisco Chronicle
  • Chip Scroggins, Star Tribune of Minneapolis
  • Steven Sipple, Lincoln Journal Star
  • Jon Solomon, The Birmingham News
  • Bob Thomas, Florida Times-Union
  • Mark Tupper, Decatur Herald and Review
  • Ken Tysiac, The Charlotte Observer
  • Adam Van Brimmer, Savannah Morning News-Augusta
  • Mitch Vingle, Charleston Gazette
  • Michael Vega, The Boston Globe
  • Steve Warden, The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
  • Jeff White, Richmond Times-Dispatch
  • Jason Whitlock, Kansas City Star
  • Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury News
  • Bud Withers, Seattle Times
  • Scott Wolf, Los Angeles Daily News

The coaches poll, or the USA Today Coaches Poll, are compiled by the USA Today Board of Coaches, which is made up of 63 head coaches at Division I-A institutions. All coaches are members of the American Football Coaches Association. The following made up the 2006 Board of Coaches (and their corresponding school). those coaches who have been dismissed from position are noted with an asterisk.

  • Chuck Amato, N.C. State*
  • Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech
  • Mike Bellotti, Oregon
  • Jack Bicknell, Jr., Louisiana Tech
  • Larry Blakeney, Troy
  • Bobby Bowden, Florida State
  • Tommy Bowden, Clemson
  • Jeff Bower, Southern Miss
  • Gregg Brandon, Bowling Green
  • Art Briles, Houston
  • Mack Brown, Texas
  • Watson Brown, UAB
  • John Bunting, North Carolina*
  • Bill Callahan, Nebraska
  • Lloyd Carr, Michigan
  • Larry Coker, Miami (Fla.)*
  • Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State
  • Darrell Dickey, North Texas*
  • Bill Doba, Washington State
  • Randy Edsall, Connecticut
  • Dennis Franchione, Texas A&M
  • Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee
  • Joe Glenn, Wyoming
  • Walt Harris, Stanford*
  • Dan Hawkins, Colorado
  • Pat Hill, Fresno State
  • Terry Hoeppner, Indiana
  • Brady Hoke, Ball State
  • Brian Kelly, Central Michigan
  • Steve Kragthorpe, Tulsa
  • Mike Leach, Texas Tech
  • Rocky Long, New Mexico
  • Sonny Lubick, Colorado State
  • Dan McCarney, Iowa State
  • Les Miles, LSU
  • Shane Montgomery, Miami (Ohio)
  • Joe Novak, Northern Illinois
  • Houston Nutt, Arkansas
  • Tom O’Brien, Boston College
  • George O’Leary, Central Florida
  • Gary Patterson, TCU
  • Chris Petersen, Boise State
  • Bobby Petrino, Louisville
  • Mark Richt, Georgia
  • Mike Riley, Oregon State
  • Rich Rodriguez, West Virginia
  • Bobby Ross, Army
  • Greg Schiano, Rutgers
  • Howard Schnellenberger, Florida Atlantic
  • John L. Smith, Michigan State*
  • Mark Snyder, Marshall
  • Frank Solich, Ohio
  • Steve Spurrier, South Carolina
  • Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee
  • Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
  • Jeff Tedford, California
  • Joe Tiller, Purdue
  • Dick Tomey, San Jose State
  • Jim Tressel, Ohio State
  • Tommy Tuberville, Auburn
  • Charlie Weis, Notre Dame
  • Tyrone Willingham, Washington
  • Ron Zook, Illinois

The Harris Poll, or the Harris Interactive College Football Poll, is used to rank the top 25 college football teams each week from September all the way to the end of the regular football season. First, Division I-Bowl Subdivision college football conferences and independent institutions nominate prospective panelists. Then Harris randomly selects 114 members from the nominees to participate in the actual panel. From each week in September to the end of the regular college football season these 114 panelists vote on the particular ranking of teams. These rankings are then published and are used to determine 1/3 of the BCS standings.

The current BCS formula uses an average of the Coaches Poll, the Harris Poll, and the average of 6 computer calculated ranking systems. For the 2004-2005 season, which was the first season of the 3 poll average determining the BCS rank, the Associated Press Poll was used instead of the Harris Poll.
Well, this year’s rankings are as follows:

Rk. AP Poll Coaches Poll Harris Poll BCS Standing
1 Florida (64) Florida (63) Ohio State (112) Ohio State
2 Ohio State Ohio State Florida (1) Florida
3 LSU LSU Michigan Michigan
5 Boise State (1) Wisconsin Louisville USC
6 Louisville Boise State Wisconsin Louisville
7 Wisconsin Louisville USC Wisconsin
8 Michigan Auburn Oklahoma Boise State
9 Auburn Michigan Boise State Auburn
10 West Virginia West Virginia Auburn Oklahoma
11 Oklahoma Oklahoma Notre Dame (T-10) Notre Dame
12 Rutgers Rutgers West Virginia Arkansas
13 Texas Texas Arkansas West Virginia
14 California California Wake Forest Wake Forest
15 Arkansas Brigham Young Virginia Tech Virginia Tech
16 Brigham Young Arkansas Rutgers Rutgers
17 Notre Dame Wake Forest Texas Tennessee
18 Wake Forest Virginia Tech Tennessee California
19 Virginia Tech Notre Dame Brigham Young Texas
20 Boston College Boston College California Brigham Young
21 Oregon State TCU Texas A&M Texas A&M
22 TCU Oregon State Nebraska Oregon State
23 Georgia Tennessee Boston College Nebraska
24 Penn State Hawaii TCU Boston College
25 Tennessee Penn State Georgia Tech UCLA

I admittedly didn’t watch much of the NHL All-Star Game, I missed the 1st period because I was at the Buffalo Bulls basketball game against the Mid-American Conference leader, the Toledo Rockets, and I had the remainder of the game on in the background while I worked. I found it interesting that throughout the 3rd period of the game the announcers were constantly talking to Dallas Stars’ goaltender, Marty Turco, while he minded the Western Conference’s net. It was pretty humorous to hear him in mid-conversation when a sudden offensive rush quickly ended his talkative nature or when he told Ottawa Senator winger, Dany Heatley, to go somewhere else to celebrate after scoring and being congratulated by his teammates in front of the net about two minutes into the period.

After the conclusion of the game, I was surprised to hear Buffalo Sabres center, Daniel Briere, being announced the Most Valuable Player of the game after scoring 1 goal and 4 assists (for 5 points) in a losing effort as the Eastern Conference All-Stars lost to the Western Conference All-Stars, 12-9.

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have quite a history against each other. In their first 5 meetings, 2 of which were playoff games, Brady and the Patriots prevailed. In their final 2 meetings, both regular season games, Manning and the Colts were the victors. Those 7 games meant nothing tonight, as the two teams faced off to determine who would be the AFC representative at Super Bowl XLI in Miami.

Peyton Manning and the Colts had something to prove, having bad playoff experience after bad playoff experience. In last years playoff, the previously most accurate kicker in the NFL, Mike Vanderjagt, missed a pretty easy kick in the AFC Championship game last year against the Pittsburgh Steelers as time expired which would have given the Colts the nod onto Super Bowl XL. This year they replaced Vanderjagt with ex-Patriot Adam Vinatieri, who is widely considered the most clutch kicker currently in the NFL, if not in NFL history.

brady-vs-manningI didn’t expect how poorly Indianapolis would come out of the gates, quickly falling to a 21-3 margin. The scoring began when New England offensive lineman Logan Mankins recovered running back Lawrence Maroney’s fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. The Colts responded with a field goal, but the Patriots piled up their early scoring with a 7 yard Corey Dillon touchdown and a Peyton Manning interception returned 39 yards for a touchdown by New England cornerback Asante Samuel. Adam Vinatieri tacked on one more field goal before half-time, leaving Indy down 21-6.

That marked the low point in the game for Indianapolis who came out fired up in the second half. Manning drove his team down the field for 2 consecutive 76 yard drives capped by touchdowns of a 1-yard rush by Manning and a 1-yard touchdown reception by offensive lineman Dan Klecko, who was lined up and declared as an eligible receiver on the play.

The Patriots and the Colts then traded touchdowns, the first a controversial catch in the back of the end zone by New England receiver Jabar Gaffney, the next a recovery by Colt’s center, Jeff Saturday, of the fumble by running back Dominic Rhodes. Saturday’s touchdown was the third touchdown of the game by an offensive lineman and in the words of John Madden from the Keanu Reeves movie, The Replacements, “I love to see a fat guy score.” Pat Summerall: “Why?” Madden: “Because look, first you get to see a fat guy spike and then you get to see a fat guy dance!”

After a few more field goals, the Colts trailed 34-31 and Manning got his opportunity to prove how great of a quarterback he is with a 4th quarter comeback with only 2 minutes and 17 seconds left on the clock. Indianapolis wasted little time and crossed mid-field before the 2 minute warning. A completion to wide receiver Reggie Wayne brought the Colts to the 11-yard line and after three straight runs by Colt’s running back Joseph Addai, the last of which was a 3-yard touchdown run, the Colts had a 38-34 point lead.

Their defense then needed their defense to come up big and stop Tom Brady and the Patriots from a final season saving drive. Marlin Jackson did just that when he intercepted a pass from Brady intended for tight end, Brandon Watson, and clinching the win for Colts and thus giving Peyton Manning the victory in the latest chapter of the Brady vs. Manning saga.
This win makes history for the NFL as it means that not only is the first (and second) African American head coach leading their team to a Super Bowl, but one of these coaches will win, which will make either Indianapolis coach, Tony Dungy, or Chicago Bear’s coach, Lovie Smith, the first African American head coach to lead their team to a Super Bowl victory. I wish the best of luck to both of them, though because of my general disgust in Rex Grossman as a quarterback, I feel it necessary to root for Tony Dungy to achieve this feat.

Congratulations to Brian Urlacher, Rex Grossman, Lovie Smith, and the rest of the Chicago Bears as the proved me wrong, defeating the New Orleans Saints to advance to Super Bowl XLI in Miami. This game was won by the better coach, despite having Rex Grossman, who I consider the worst starting quarterback in the NFL, behind center. Lovie Smith just coached a far more superior game than Saint’s coach Sean Payton.

For a team which has perhaps the best running back tandem in the NFL, in Deuce McAllister & Reggie Bush, how do you only run the ball a total of 12 times? How do you let your quarterback throw the ball 49 times??? Lovie Smith understands how you win football games, by running the football & stopping the run. The Bears defense certainly takes care of the latter and Thomas Jones & Cedric Benson combined for 43 carries, 183 yards rushing, and 3 rushing touchdowns. Meanwhile, McAllister and Bush combined for only 10 carries, totaling 37 yards. Granted Bush is a much bigger threat than simply running the ball, he is also a threat lining up as a receiver. Bush totaled 7 receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown, but the Saints needed to control the clock and keep Chicago’s superior defense on the field, hence tiring them out. New Orleans did neither and despite a below average quarterback effort from Grossman, the Bears are headed to Super Bowl XLI. The best of luck to them!

Ok, ok, so I didn’t do so hot in my predictions for the divisional playoff round. Indy beat Baltimore in a very defensive game with zero touchdowns. If you were to tell me that nobody was going to score a touchdown in this game, my money would have been firmly on the Ravens. Instead, Indy showed up to play, holding Jamal Lewis to only 53 yard rushing and picked off 2 passes from quarterback Steve McNair. Honestly, I didn’t see this one coming, I didn’t think Indianapolis’s defense could hold up this well on the road. The Colts’ offense did just enough to win this game, giving Adam Vinatieri 5 field goal opportunities, which he converted on all of them.

In my only correct prediction of the week, New Orleans held off the Philadelphia Eagles to win 27-24. Reggie Bush & Deuce McAllister combined for 195 rushing yards and 3 total touchdowns, one rushing from each of them and a touchdown reception by McAllister. Two John Carney field goals gave the Saints just what they needed to advance to the conference championship game.

A game that was played out exactly as I thought, turned out with different results as the Chicago Bears held off the Seattle Seahawks in overtime. The Bears, quarterbacked by perhaps the worst starting quarterback in the league, Rex Grossman, is a grossly overrated team. They win games because of their defense, but can only go so far with such an inept quarterback. The Seahawks, a team with a depleted secondary, only making it to the divisional playoff game because of a botched Tony Romo field goal hold (sorry Tony, I’m going to keep bringing that up), was hardly in a position to run the table in the NFC, let alone the NFL. Despite these facts, they were in a position to beat the “mighty” Chicago Bears in overtime. This shouldn’t have happened and I simply don’t see the Bears beating the Saints in the conference finals.

Prediction: I said it before the season and I’ll say it again now, The Saints will win the Super Bowl (once again, I won’t get into why just yet, let’s wait for my prediction to come true first). The Bears will do very little to slow them down this week, Saints are going to Miami after a 31-9 win over the Bears.

How do you lose a game where you intercept 3 passes and hold the opposing team’s leading rusher to only 25 yards? This is a question I cannot answer, especially when your running back rushes for 123 yards. I thought football, especially playoff football, was won by running the football and stopping the run. Somebody should tell this to Marty Schottenheimer, whose gross incompetence as a playoff football coach is notorious. Somebody should tell him that when you have the best running back in the league, you shouldn’t allow your first year starting quarterback, Phillip Rivers, to get into a shootout with Tom Brady, perhaps the greatest playoff quarterback since Joe Montana. You don’t let your quarterback throw the ball 32 times (with a completion ratio of only 43%) when you have a running back averaging nearly 6 yards a carry, it’s just stupid football. San Diego has a great team, LaDainian Tomlinson is the best running back in the game, and Phillip Rivers has a bright career in front of him, but Schottenheimer can only get you so far and a Super Bowl just isn’t in the cards for him. I think a coaching change is in San Diego’s best interest.

In the AFC Conference Championship we have a great matchup. The question, “Who is the best quarterback in the NFL?” announces another chapter as the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts play in a rematch of the 2003 AFC Championship game, this time in Indianapolis. Manning vs. Brady has become one of the most debated quarterback rivalries in recent history. Both of the two having a large following touting each as the best quarterback in the game. This game will write another chapter to this rivalry.

Prediction: Peyton Manning wins this chapter of the Manning vs. Brady rivalry by quarterbacking a flawless game. Colts win with a Adam Vinatieri field goal as time expires, 34-33. How’s it feel to be on the other end Tom?

On January 9th, 2007, results were announced for 2007’s Baseball Hall of Fame balloting. A record 545 ballots, including two blank ballots, were cast by Baseball Writers Association of America members with 10 or more consecutive years’ service, eclipsing by 25 the previous mark of 2006 when Bruce Sutter was elected. Players must be named on 75 percent of ballots submitted to gain election. This year, 409 votes were needed.

Voters were instructed to cast votes for up to 10 candidates; any candidate who received votes on at least 75% of the ballots would be honored with induction to the Hall. Those candidates who received less than 5% of the vote will not appear on future BBWAA ballots, but may eventually be considered by the Veterans Committee. The ballot consisted of 32 players, 17 of which were eligible for the first time.

For the first time in history, performance-enhancing substances became a factor in voting. Two former MVP winners who each admitted to steroid use, Jose Canseco and the late Ken Caminiti, were both among newly eligible candidates. Even more importantly, Mark McGuire appeared on the ballot for the first time. McGuire was once considered a certain first-ballot selection following his record setting 1998 season, when he finished with 70 home runs, and his career total of 583 home runs. More recently his candidacy was questioned as baseball observers considered both his admitted use of legal dietary supplements and the suspicions that he had also used steroids.

After all the ballots were totalled, the only two players I would have voted on (had I been eligible to vote, everybody should know that I am not), Cal Ripken Jr. & Tony Gwynn, were the two players who received the necessary 75% of the vote to gain election into the Hall of Fame. They will be inducted on July 29, 2007 in Cooperstown, NY during the induction ceremonies with Commissioner Bud Selig presiding.

Cal Ripken Jr. is best known as baseball’s “Iron Man”, playing in a record 2,632 consecutive games, spanning 16 seasons, from May 30, 1982 to September 20, 1998. He played his 2,131st straight game on September 6, 1995, against the California Angels, breaking the 56-year-old record set by the “Iron Horse” Lou Gehrig, the legendary New York Yankees first baseman who ended his playing streak after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). Along with the record, Ripken’s accomplishments included 1982 American League Rookie of the Year, 1983 & 1991 American League Most Valuable Player Awards, 8 American League Silver Slugger Awards, 2 American League Golden Glove Awards, 19 consecutive All Star Game appearances, and 2 All-Star Game MVP Awards.

Tony Gwynn played his entire 20 year career for the San Diego Padres and is widely considered one of the best hitters in baseball history. Despite playing much of his career in right field, which is known as a power position, during an era when home runs were at an all-time high, he was not a home run threat, never hitting more than 17 in any season in his major league career. Instead, Gwynn made a name for himself by being one of the most consistent hitters for contact in the game’s history. He struck out only 434 times in his 9,288 career at-bats, and his batting average was never below .309 in any full season.

Well, Florida defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes in the BCS National Championship Game. This leaves the only undefeated team in the nation, the Boise State Broncos, left out in the dark when deciding this year’s national champion. In the BCS poll, Ohio State still finished number 1 in the country. Does this make any sense? Can you believe that the computer rankings that are used to evaluate all the teams in the nation to determine who plays in bowl games and who doesn’t ranked Ohio State, who lost to Florida in their final game ahead of Florida? This same computer poll left Boise State, the only undefeated team in the nation, as low as 8th. Let me give you a moment to let this set in … 8th!!!

Of course neither the associated press or the coaches polls gave Florida the unjustice of not winning the national title after beating the number one school in the country, but they still left Boise State out in the cold. In the Coaches Poll, the Florida Gators received all 63 votes for the number one school in the country, Ohio State finished number 2, and Boise State was left with in a measily 6th place.

In the Associated Press Poll, Boise State faired the best, where they received 1 of 65 total votes as the number one school in the country and finished in 5th. Florida of course received the other 64 votes and took home National Championship honors.

Is anybody else outraged that the only undefeated school in the nation (can you hear me beating that dead horse) couldn’t finish higher than 5th in the nation? This is a complete outrage and the BCS must instate at the very minimum a 4 team tournament to determine the national championship. In what other sport does a team, no matter how good they fair, have an impossability of winning the championship? What is the point of the lesser known conferences (i.e. Western Athletic Conference, Mid-American Conference, Conference USA, etc) of the world even competing?

Even in NCAA basketball these teams have a chance of competing. Just last year George Mason University, of the Colonial Athletic Conference, made it to the Final Four in the NCAA BAsketball Tournament, ultimately losing to Florida who wen on to win the National Title. But at least they were given the chance to play until they lost or won it all. It’s this win or go home format that all sports fans can appreciate. Leave it all on the court/field/etc or why are you playing! Well, that’s exactly what Boise State did this year and they should be rewarded with an opportunity to play Florida for the “real” championship game.

After this weekend’s NFL Wild Card games, only 8 teams remain in the bid for a trip to Miami for Super Bowl XLI. My predictions for the opening playoff week were nearly perfect, flawed by a failed botched hold by Tony Romo on a 19-yard field goal attempt by Martin Gramatica which would have given the Dallas Cowboys a 23-21 lead over the Seattle Seahawks, the defending NFC champions with about a minute remaining.

Though Romo took full responsibility for the loss following the game, he was a big reason that the Cowboys even made it this far, having turned their season around by winning five of his first six starts after replacing Drew Bledsoe and blossoming into a Pro Bowl selection. Romo certainly wasn’t the only player to deserve a piece of the loss. The Dallas defense made an impressive stand in the shadow of their own end zone to hold onto a 20-13 lead with less than 7 minutes remaining in the game. On the subsequent series, the first play from scrimmage resulted in a safety and nearly a Seattle touchdown. A quick screen pass to wide receiver Terry Glenn was fumbled into the end zone after weak Kelly Jennings tackle. This play led to the Seahawks taking a 21-20 lead after a Jerramy Stevens touchdown reception and a failed 2-point conversion. The Seahawks will head to Chicago next week to take on the Bears.

Prediction: Bears roll … over, even Rex Grossman should be able to throw against the depleted Seattle secondary, right? Wrong, the only chance the Bears have is to replace Grossman with Brian Griese, which I think they will do by the second half. Too little, too late, the Bears fall 27-23.

The Indianapolis Colts, despite early struggles by quarterback Peyton Manning, defeat the Kansas City Chiefs, with a strong defensive effort led by defensive end Dwight Freeney who had two sacks on the game, after finishing with only 5.5 on the season. The Colts will play the Baltimore Ravens next week on the road.

Prediction: The highly physical Ravens will beat up on a soft Colts team. 31-17, Ravens.

Unfortunately I have put off the remainder of this post for two long and I have other much more important things to get too, like the BCS National Championship and the vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame. So here are my predictions for the remainder of this coming weekend’s Divisional Playoff Games.

Tom Brady, with an impressive 11-1 post-season record, and the New England Patriots travel to San Diego to play LaDainian Tomlinson and the Chargers.

Prediction: San Diego shows New England why they are the number one seed in the AFC as Tomlinson rushes for 170 yards. San Diego handles the Pats, 37-24.

Jeff Garcia and the hot Philadelphia Eagles go to the Big Easy to face Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, and company.

Prediction: No hurricanes this year, clearly the NFL would love to see the Saints win it all in a bounce back season after Hurricane Katrina took out their home stadium, the Lousiana Superdome. Seems like nothing should get in their way this postseason (more on that another time). Saints pull off a close one, 27-23.

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