Tuesday, January 13, 2009
In general I don't really preview games. I'm really not that informed and am usually completely off base so I like to wait til after the fact and make comments based on 20/20 hindsight vision. It means that I am wrong much less often and I like that. Who doesn't? But I'm going to go out on a limb here and make some general observations about this week's playoff games. Yes, I am going to spend a words discussing the NFC even. This might be shocking for any regular readers. But since there are very few of you, well let me explain, usually I like to pretend the NFC does not exist unless a team in playing the Ravens, but since it's possible that the Ravens could be in the Super Bowl and have to play one of these teams I guess I should say something about the Eagles and the Cardinals. Oh yeah, and I live in Philly, so I guess how the Eagles do tangentially effects my life.
But first off, let's get this out of the way. The Ravens weren't supposed to be good this year. I have said this again and again. And that we have made it this far is still shocking to me. I spent most of the weekend in shock. Only now am I really starting to accept that the Ravens are playing the Steelers this weekend. And if I woke up tomorrow and it was all a dream, I'd be sad, but it might be easier to grasp than what is actually happening.
The Ravens were 11-5 this season and only lost to playoff teams. So it's natural to think that they might not be able to actually play against other playoff teams. But here they are. About to face the Steelers for the third time this season. And I am scared. Yes, it's hard to beat a team three times in one season, and these teams are pretty closely matched with one big drive being the difference in each game. But the Ravens are banged up after an ugly yet surprising win over Tennessee. Pittsburgh is mostly healthy and even Roethlisburger with his spinal concussion played great last week. Big Ben is playing in his third AFC championship game. He's won a Super Bowl. This is a team to be feared. Plus home field advantage for Pittsburgh and they're well rested. The Ravens are going to have to fight hard. But I don't care, this team wasn't supposed to be in the post season. I'm going to be happy regardless because, well, this team has already defied so many odds that I can't expect any more from them. I can hope and dream but they've already done so much for me.
Nothing about this playoff picture makes sense. Pittsburgh is the only high seed left. And somehow two 9 win teams, the Eagles and the Cardinals are in the NFC playoff games. The Eagles who were left for dead by most fans after they tied the Bengals. But they started their amazing comeback agianst the Cardinals on Thanksgiving. I think the Cardinals will be out for blood. But I also counted the Cardinals out all season. I mean its the NFC West, similar to the AFC West in its crappiness. But they stomped the Panthers last week in a win even Cardinals fans didn't see coming. I think Cardinals fans feel similar to the way I feel about the Ravens right now. I hope you win but you've already exceeded every expectation I've had. Three playoff games, two wins, two home games. Really we can't ask for much more. That's ok.
As for Eagles fans, well I'm going to blatently steal this blurb from DJ Gallo's NFL Hangover because he is way funnier than me. And it's the best explaination of how the city of Philadelphia feels right now.
With the Phillies fresh off a World Series title and the Eagles now improbably one win from the Super Bowl, Donovan McNabb says "The city of Philadelphia is buzzing." That shows how different the perspective is on the field compared to how it is in the stands. Philadelphia is not buzzing. It's well past buzzing. The fans of Philadelphia are full-on drunk. They know there is a massive hangover coming. They know they could throw up at any moment. They know they just inappropriately touched the complete stranger in front of them. They know they just spouted a string of profanity in front of a 6-year-old. They know they're eventually going to black out and wake up in the morning beside the Sixers. And who knows, they might even have to hold McNabb's hair while he vomits. But for now they'll have another drink and see what happens.
Overall, I have no idea who is going to win either game. I'm guessing the Eagles over the Cardinals. But last week if I had to pick a lock I would have said the Panthers over the Cardinals. So you can see why I don't tend to predict these things. And I think the Ravens could win, maybe, or Pittsburgh could do what Tennessee did and lose. That would be cool too. At least it's something to hope for.