Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The NFC I'd Like To See

It's not a prediction. It's not an analysis. It's simply a list of how I'd like to see the NFC playoffs pan out. Take a little bit of homerism, a little bit of drama queen, a dash of story line, and a bunch of unabashed opinionism, and you get the following playoff runs as your Must See NFC:

Wild Card Saturday features the Eagles returning to the scene of their latest debacle, Dallas. With a #2 seed on the line, the Iggs pissed down their leg to the tune of a 24-0 shutout and a #6 seed. Nice job, kids.

This is, by its own rights, a great game to have on the docket--the NFC East, above all others, specializes in grudge match divisional hatred. Mix that in with the fact that everyone in the US outside of Dallas hates Dallas and you've got a game to watch.

No team over the last decade exhibits the nature of Jekyll and Hyde as do the Eagles and their playoff runs. Capable of beating anyone on any given day, they can also lose to anyone when they feel like it. So, by that account, they should rebound nicely this week against the Cowboys, and the thought of seeing the image of Jerry Jones doing a slow burn on the 60 yard Jumbotron would be too precious for words.

But I told you, this isn't an analysis, and the best story lines down the road come from a Dallas win now, so I have to say, let the Cowboys win and let the Phans in Philly start their offseason whining a little early this year.

Wild Card Sunday features another do-over from last week, as the Packers whomped the Arizona Leinarts by a score of... I dunno, it was something like a billion vs. a late game pity TD. But no matter... Warner is back, and the real Cardinals show up this week.

It won't matter. The Packers have one goal in life right now, and the Cardinals are merely a speed bump along the road to Favregeddon. There will be about a mile and a half of passing yards in this game but the Packers move on to the next round.

The Divisonal Round would then send the Packers on the road to the Big Easy, where Darren Sharper will intercept 2 balls (returning 1 for a TD) against his old team, while also giving up 4 TD passes to the guy he's "covering." Never before has a 13-3 team looked like such a pack of trembling Pomeranians going into the playoffs, and of late, teams with byes haven't necessarily done too well in their first game back. The Packers send the Aints to an early golf date and an offseason of Who Dat anonymity.

This also means Dallas returns once again to the scene of one of the biggest crimes on NFL playoff history. Drew Pearson pushed off, we all know it, the Cowboys know it, the league knows it, the refs know it, Tom Landry's corpse knows it, Drew Pearson knows it, and even Drew Pearson's mom knows it. A thousand playoff deaths are not enough for the Cowboys, and who better than the Vikings to administer it to them? All that is right and holy triumphs against evil as the Cowboys to back to playing Madden 2010 on the big screen.

That brings us to the NFC Championship Game with the Minnesota Ex-Packers against the Green Bay Future Vikings. Favre has had the last laugh against the Pack twice this year, and the Packers were all but dead after the last one. But they've finished the second half of the season on a 7-1 run and they want to get to the Super Bowl less than they want to get even with their former hero.

Admit it. This is the game we all want to see. Not because of the Favre/Packer drama--well, a little bit, I guess--but because we're all looking forward to joining betting pools over which FOX broadcaster will have a stroke from overhyping the drama. We'll all play drinking games, taking a swig every time one of the crew says the word "Favre" and then have to finish the whole drink whenever one of them talks about how the only reason he came back was because of his love of the game. This will be so over the top with coverage, there will not only be coverage about how over the top the coverage is, but there will be coverage of the coverage about the coverage.

I've secretly harbored a dream that the Packers will go up early in this game, and then in the 3rd quarter, Favre the Ironman will leave with an injury. leaving the team to have to turn to emotionally abused scapegoat Tavaris Jackson to rally them in their crucial hour. And rally them he does, to a narrow lead. With minutes left and protecting that slim lead, Favre returns to the game by stealing Jackson's helmet, throws an interception, and the Packers drive down the field, only to come up short as time expires. The Vikings return to the Super Bowl after over 3 decades of absence.

OK, I'm a Viking homer. I admit it--I'd like to see them go to the Super Bowl. But there is also one more really good reason for everyone to want to see them there--chaos.

See, the NFL has a dandy plan this year to make you think that the Pro Bowl is actually relevant--they're holding it in the week between the conference title games and the Super Bowl. Apparently putting everyone to sleep in the middle of a two week hype fest is a new strategy.

This means the players in the Super Bowl will not actually be in the Pro Bowl, leaving them to find substitute players out of the pool of runners-up to the backups to the starters. The Vikings lead the way with a whopping 9 Pro Bowlers on the team, leaving the league to fill out a quarter of the roster after most guys have already gone to the Bahamas for some clubbing. This would be such a mockery of the new Pro Bowl plan that it would be a shame if it didn't happen.

There it is: High drama, fun matchups, a Viking Bowl appearance, and disruption of the Pro Bowl. What else better way for the NFC playoffs to unfold?


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