Friday, November 21, 2008
Devo's Picks (10-12)
ARIZONA (+3) over Giants
Will the Arizona passing attack exploit the only (alleged) weakness on the Giants team, their secondary? Will the Giants pass rush, clearly capable but quiet the last few weeks, return to its midseason form against a quarterback who moves slower than White Boy?
I don't know, but the fact is, the Giants are crossing the country for a game that means MUCH more to the Cardinals than the Giants. If the Cards win, they have the inside track on the #2 seed in the NFC, assuming Carolina loses a few more games, as they are definitely capable of doing. If the Giants win this game, it really doesn't do much for them; they already have the NFC East won. They can further their claim for the #1 seed, but can't lock it up until Carolina loses a few more games, including to the Giants next month.
Look, the arrogant hometown bias in me thinks that this Giants secondary will finally get its due this week, as Kurt Warner busts out a 2 fumble, 3 interception game. I'm sorry, but nothing about Kurt Warner makes me think he's anything but a fluke. (I also thought the same thing about '08 Mike Mussina, even up to and including the 7th inning of his 20th win.) The Cardinals have two all-pro wide receivers, but this team lost to the Jets back when the Jets were awful earlier this season, so clearly they are beatable. Sure, the Giants are traveling cross country, but if you play this game in Omaha, the Giants win by 10.
And still, something about this game doesn't sit right. The truth is that nothing would surprise me short of an Arizona win by more than 20 points. The Giants have been crowned as NFC Champions by most of the media, including yours truly. When a team gets crowned, by Dennis Miller or the media, said crowned teams usually lose the following week. (See Giants/Browns.) Plus, as if that's not bad enough, I'm dealing a death blow to the Giants: for selfish travel reasons, I'm not only not watching the game at Blondie's, but I'm watching the game in Jersey with my boy Chris. Last time I watched the game with Chris? Giants/Browns.
Final score on January 18, 2009, live from the Meadowlands:
Philly (+1) over BALTIMORE
Philly has a helluva tendency to play to the level of their opponents. Whether it's taking down the best in the AFC (Steelers) or trying but failing to lose to the worst in the AFC (Bengals), the Eagles have a ton of talent and occasionally like to bring it all out.
So is Baltimore the team that went 6-3 against a relatively soft schedule? Or are they the team that is 1-4 against the only decent teams they've faced this year (Pitt, Indy, Giants, Titans, 'Fins). The problem with Baltimore is that they are a tale of two different teams: their offense, with Flacco, and RU Legend Ray Rice is built for a year or two from now, especially if they can bring in wide receivers sooner than later. But their defense is built for now, as Ray Lewis is in decline, Ed Reed at 30 is about ready to start his decline, and Terrell Suggs is the only very good young guy on this defense. All of this is to say that Baltimore will end up no better than 9-7 this year, poised (at least on offense) to have a big '09 season.
Look for the Eagles to bust out with an offensive explosion in a Palin-as-VP type last gasp before they fade away into McCain-like irrelevance.