Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Week nine wrap

It might be election day, but it's also the midpoint for the NFL season. While the blogs beg for the embargoed exit poll results, anyone who's been following football knows who the clear Super Bowl favorite is.

Just like it is difficult for most politicos -- Democrat or Republican -- to completely believe the Democrats are going to finish strong and do what they are supposed to do, history is also against the undefeated Indianapolis Colts.

But it is only history against them. To keep this analogy going a little longer, there are legitimate questions about the Colt's ground game, but Manning is playing better than ever, and the Colts are right off back-to-back wins against New England and Denver -- the second and third best teams in the NFL. The Colts are 24 and 2 in their last 26.

The Ravens have the pedigree, although too much of it may be aged (and football players are decidedly not like fine wines.) The Chargers have a solid defense and a touchdown machine named LT. Consider them both legitimate threats, a step below the top three teams in the AFC. The rest of the AFC, led by the Super-Bowl-and-bust Steelers, pose no bother.

Speaking of a feckless bunch, you have the NFC. The Saints are a great story, no doubt. But of the teams that were supposed to be contenders, the Giants are the only one that can even feel not-bad about themselves at the midway point, and they barely beat the AFC whipping boy Houston Texans in Giant stadium last week.

The Bears might be 7 and 1, yet does anyone think they will go deep into the playoffs after getting crushed by an awful Dolphin team at home and stumbling to victory against the pathetic Cardinals a few weeks ago? I wouldn't be surprised if the Bears finish with nine wins and sneak into playoffs via their lousy division.

The Seahawks are injured and not as good as they were last year, and The Falcons are completely strapped to the entertaining, but thoroughly unreliable, roller coaster that is Michael Vick. The Eagles, Cowboys and Panthers have all suffered -- more than once -- the kind of loses that will shell-shock a team for a season.

So it looks like it will be the Colts in '07, and their biggest challenge will come in the AFC championship game.

Picks -- While I expect to nail all of my Senate picks, I'm just happy to get back to 500 with my football picks: 7 and 7 for the week. Still on the wrong side of even, 49-59-4, for the year.

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