From The Cheap Seats
Wild Card Playoff Picks:
Buffalo 20, Miami 17 -- A tough game to pick, the Dolphins won seven of eight at home, beating the Bills 13-7 back in September, losing at Buffalo 30-24 in November. The September win was against Rob Johnson and this is a much better team with Flutie calling signals.
Dallas 27, Arizona 23 -- I'd love to pick the Cards, I really would. The Cowboys have no defense without Deion, and I'm suspicious of their offense, too. Still, the Cards had zero, count 'em, zero wins against teams with winning records and a hostile stadium in the playoffs doesn't seem like the place to get their first. I do think it'll be close, though, and I expect the Snake to be lobbing them into the end zone as the game ends.
Jacksonville 27, New England 13 -- Brunell is playing, Bledsoe isn't. This would've probably been a terrific game with Bledsoe, but New England's offense lacks the ability to shift into a ball control mode without him.
Green Bay 31, San Francisco 24 -- The Packers own the Niners, it's as simple as that. Vegas has made the Niners a 3 point favorite, but I don't buy it. Some are shocked at this being a wild card game, but the fact is these teams are a cut below the elites. The Niners were 2-4 vs. playoff teams, no wins since September. The Pack was only 1-2 against playoff teams, but that one was against the Niners. Those games were the only ones these teams played against teams with winning records, which explains their gaudy over-all records.
Review of the NFL Year
This was a year of comebacks and bad calls, here are my awards.
AFC MVP: Terrell Davis -- since the league has no official MVP award, I'm picking one for each conference. Terrell was the horse the Broncos rode to the best record, he covers up the fact that Elway is only mediocre at this point. Vinny Testaverde would make a great choice as well.
NFC MVP: Jamal Anderson -- speaking of horses, I've never seen anyone run harder than the Falcons fullback. The Falcons are a team that needs to control the ball and he's the reason they can. He gives them ball control and his toughness gives them their fight. Randall Cunningham would be a good choice, but so would Randy Moss, so I'll go with Jamal.
Play of the Year: This is a tough choice, but I lean toward the bad touchdown call at the end of the Jets-Seahawks game. It gave the Jets control of the AFC East, virtually eliminated the Seahawks from the playoffs, and got Dennis Erickson fired. It also added greatly to the Jets confidence and the aura they enter the playoffs with. Runnerup: no pass interference in the endzone of the Cowboys-Cards game. If that call is made properly, the Cowboys would be playing at Arizona today and things would look a lot different.
Coach of the Year: Dan Reeves -- The Falcons finished 14-2. I'll repeat, the Falcons finished 14-2. Wade Phillips did a heck of a job, too. Not many people thought the Bills would be anywhere but battling the Colts for the AFC East basement.
Comeback Player of the Year: Tie, Vinny Testaverde and Doug Flutie. I am not required by law to choose between them and I won't. Amazing season for these two and they made the year fun, more than that I can't say about anyone.
AFC Rookie of the Year: Fred Taylor -- kept the Jags going when Brunell went down. This kid was a marvelous addition and makes the Jags future very bright. Would've gotten tremendous publicity except for the NFC Rookie of the Year.
NFC Rookie of the Year: Randy Moss -- made the Vikings the best team in the league and Cunningham an MVP candidate. Exciting, brilliant, unstoppable, you choose the adjective, they all apply. I never thought I'd say this, having seen Jerry Rice play, but he may be the best ever. There will always be a question of his stability, so time will tell, but I look forward to seeing him play a lot over the next decade.
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