Welcome to the best weekend of the NFL year. It doesn't get any better than seeing the top 8 teams in the league square off in a 12 hour weekend orgy of quality football. This is what it's all about. Let's look at today's games.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS AT GREEN BAY PACKERS
SEAHAWKS O V. PACKERS D
This is a bad matchup for the Seahawks. They rely almost exclusively on their ability to throw the ball, and against a Packers defense that ranks second in the league against the pass, that's going to be a problem. It's not helping that DJ Hackett, who is great on the rare occasions he plays, including having over 100 yards and a TD in last week's win over the Redskins, is questionable with a sore ankle.
PACKERS O V. SEAHAWKS D
The Packers offense is a mirror image of the Seahawks. All pass, no run. It takes a very athletic defense to keep up with their speedy receivers. The Seahawks though, have a defense soaking with Pro Bowlers, and they fit the bill. Seattle's defense is one of the fastest and most athletic in the league. The only team the Packers have played this year that comes close is the Bears, and they lost to them, twice.
VARIOUS AND SUNDRY
It's hard to get around the fact that the Seahawks are 8-1 at home this year, but only 3-5 on the road. I can't think of a team in the league for whom it matters more whether they are at home or not. The year they went to the Super Bowl, they had home field advantage through out the playoffs. If they had that this year, I think they'd be in the Super Bowl again. But they don't.
Expect this to be a long game, because the clock stops on incomplete passes, which there will be plenty of in this game. Both teams love to throw the ball, and have defenses that can keep the opposition from doing the same. I think this is going to be a great game, maybe even going into OT. I pick the Packers, because they're at home
PACKERS 20, SEAHAWKS 17
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
JAGS O V. PATRIOTS D
I'll just come out and say that New England's defense is bad right now. They rank 26th in the league in rushing yards per attempt against. They gave up 35 points to a Giants team that is heavily reliant on the run, much like the Jaguars are. Jacksonville's going to able to score in this game. The question is, will they be able to score more points than the Patriots, which, as NFL rules dictate, is a condition for them winning the game?
PATRIOTS O V. JAGS D
Did you see the way the Jags defense just melted as soon as Pittsburgh was down enough points to abandon the run last week? As soon as the Steelers went into chuck it up mode, the Jaguars could do nothing to stop them. And this was the Steelers. Imagine what the Patriots, who undoubtedly have the greatest offense the NFL has ever seen, are going to do to them.
ADVANTAGE- PATRIOTS x2
VARIOUS AND SUNDRY
16-0 is 16-0. The Patriots intimidate everyone they play.
I told Patrick a couple of weeks ago that I thought the Patriots would be one and out in the playoffs. If the Jaguars would have put the boot to the throat last week and cruised to a 31-17 victory or something like that after building a 28-10 lead, I might still feel that way. Now, I just think that the Patriots are going to run circles around Jacksonville's defense all night long, and the Patriots are going to at least get to 17-0.
PATRIOTS 49, JAGUARS 27