Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Fab Four

The best weekend in the NFL gets underway today, meaning it's almost time to put a stop to the overanalysis paralysis and just watch some football. It kills me how many fans, bloggers, etc., think they're experts in the area of X's and O's these days. For those keeping score at home, yours truly went a spectacular 4-0 last week and nearly predicted each game on the button. For this week's picks, thought we'd have a little fun with the boys from Liverpool.

The Ringo Starr Game
Seattle (+9) @ Chicago
Sunday, FOX, 1 p.m.

Ringo was always the odd duck in the group, the one who was there by accident. Great drummer, don't get me wrong, but he was the odd duck of the group and he should be sending a portion of his lifelong gratuities to Pete Best and George Martin. Like Rodney Dangerfield, Ringo never got any respect.

The Bears and Seahawks shouldn't be here either, for reasons too numerous to count. But because NFL rules stipulate that an NFC team must take part in the Super Bowl, these two mediocre teams are still alive. For the Bears, has there ever been a least respected 14-2 team in NFL history? Rex Grossman is Ringo Starr (actually, that's a huge insult to Ringo - I take it back) and the world is just waiting for another implosion, this time on a bigger stage. For Seattle, they wouldn't even be here this weekend if Tony Romo could've executed a simple field goal snap. The Bears will find a way to win this game - on the backs of their defense, of course - but I think Seattle keeps it close. Too bad they can't both lose. Bears 23, Seahawks 19

The George Harrison Game
@New Orleans (-5) vs. Philadelphia
Saturday, FOX, 8 p.m.

If anyone in the Beatles could be underrated and underappreciated, I always felt it was George. Dark, brooding, quiet - but when he branched out and wrote his own stuff, it was pretty damn good. No one's really talking about this game - the Colts/Ravens and Pats/Chargers are getting most of the air time - but this one could be awfully entertaining.

We all know about the great story of the Saints. The flooding from Katrina put the city of New Orleans on its backside, and it's still having trouble getting up. The emotional connection to the Saints has been played from every angle, and to have a team on the rise and going in the right direction has done wonders for New Orleans' psyche. On the field, I just feel like the Saints have too much talent not to beat Philly. They need to find a way to duplicate what they did against Dallas earlier in the year in that awesome Sunday night performance. The Eagles have been on an amazing run since Donovan McNabb went down, and they will put points on the board against the average Saints defense. But I think the run comes to a screeching halt in N'Awlins. Saints 34, Eagles 24

The Paul McCartney Game
New England (+5) @ San Diego
Sunday, CBS, 4:30 p.m.

Alright, stick with me here - the links to the Beatles are getting a little harder. I'm tying Paul to the Pats/Chargers game simply because when I think of McCartney, I think he was the flashiest of all the Beatles in terms of his singing and bass-playing skills. He and Lennon both had their own talents, of course, but Paul was never shy about showcasing his.

When you look at all four games this weekend, the one with the most obvious talent on the field - on both sides of the ball - is this game. In fact, this game could be the Super Bowl and I think NFL fans across the world wouldn't be disappointed. The Chargers have an all-world running back, an efficient QB, and a stout defense. The Pats have an all-world QB, a good RB tandem, and an even stouter defense. This one has been dissected and picked apart like that frog you had to maim in junior high biology class. In the end, and call me a homer, I think the Pats find a way to get it done.

Tom Brady is one of the biggest reasons why. The guy is a born leader, and one of the least discussed angles to this game is how the Pats' offensive line will need to submit its best performance of the year against the likes of Shawne Merriman, Shawn Phillips, etc. You just know Brady will have these guys fired up. I'm not saying the Chargers won't give Brady & Co. fits - they'll certainly have their moments - but I think the offense will do enough to win the game. When you look at the Chargers' dynamic offense, it really revolves around two guys - Tomlinson and Gates. Philip Rivers does a fine job, but the Chargers don't have the diversification of plays that the Pats have at their disposal. We've got two running backs capable of making big plays, and three tight ends who can hurt you at any time. It just seems to me that the Pats have more options on the table. I do have recurring nightmares of Vrabel and Bruschi chasing LT, but I'm taking the Pats to emerge victorious in one of the best games of the Brady/Belichick era. Patriots 30, Chargers 24

The John Lennon Game
@Baltimore (-4) vs. Indianapolis
Saturday, CBS, 4:30 p.m.

Again, maybe a stretch - but Lennon to me was the conflicted, brilliant one in the group. There were always forces colliding from within, and what greater two forces colliding on this NFL weekend than the Colts offense versus the Ravens' sick defense?

I haven't seen the Ravens play at all this year, so I can only go by what I've read and heard. The defense is probably the best we've seen in Baltimore, and that's saying something as we all know. But it's the offense - resurrected by Steve McNair - that makes the Ravens that much tougher. If the pathetic Chiefs were able to baffle Peyton Manning last week, what do you think the Ravens are capable of doing to the hayseed? By the end of this one, Peyton could be throwing the ball to anyone and may join his younger brother on the All-Color Blind team. It's not hard to Imagine a Ravens win. Ravens 22, Colts 14

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