The Office Pool: Wildcard Weekend

by Rick Rockwell

Back in the groove last week, this blog finished the regular season strong, but still limped into the playoff round. Last year at this time, your puzzled prognosticator was picking at a .700 clip, but not this season.

Last Week: .688
This Season: .594

Game of the Week: Giants at Eagles

These past few weeks, I can't help but watch the Giants. Will they choke in some spectacular fashion? They certainly are aggravating. And when you have three games against a team in a season, anything can happen in the rubber match. Although everyone has been discussing the resurrection of Eagles quarterback Jeff Garcia (and rightly so) this game boils down to the running backs. Eagles running back Brian Westbrook has put the Eagles on his shoulders for most of the stretch run. Giants running back Tiki Barber did the same last week to push his team into the playoffs. This will be a great scrap. Eagles win by a field goal.

Saturday Night: Cowboys at Seahawks

Both of these teams have been disappointing, although here they are facing off in the first round of the playoffs. Can the Cowboys fix their defensive problems? Can Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo avoid the Seattle blitz? Will Coach Bill "The Tuna" Parcells turn up the notch on the running game and wear out the Seahawks? Or will last year's Most Valuable Player Shaun Alexander take the ball and romp for the Seahawks? Plenty of questions. The Romo to Terrell Owens connection will be the edge: Cowboys win by a touchdown.

Saturday: Chiefs at Colts

This matchup is a nightmare for the Colts who can't seem to stop even mediocre running backs. And the Chiefs have Larry Johnson in the backfield revving up like a four-wheeler headed to a monster truck rally. For some reason, Vegas has the Colts as a favorite, as if their thin defense learned to tackle in the past few weeks. The Chiefs will give the Colts a real surprise: one and out for quarterback Peyton Manning and his crew in this playoff tournament.

Jets at Patriots

Here's another grudge match between two conference rivals, just like the Giants-Eagles bash. But there's more intrigue here. Eric "Man-Genius" Mangini who coaches the Jets must face off against his mentor Bill Belichick, who turned down the Jets head coaching job long ago to trundle off to New England and three championships. This will be a tight battle for a half, but the Patriots should blow this open after halftime for a big win.

It's playoff time ba-beeeeee! Enjoy!

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