The best weekend of the year as far as playoff football is concerned is now over. I went 3-1 on my picks only losing on the Eagles. It was a shaky pick, but one I was willing to make. It was not as bad as the so-called “experts” from across the country picking the Indianapolis Colts to knock off the New England Patriots.
As we all know by now, the Patriots ran roughshod over the Colts, 20-3, taking the game in dominant fashion. It appeared the trendy pick was to choose the Colts after their dismantling of the Denver Broncos, 49-20 in the Wild Card round. But one point must be made. It is difficult to base a pick on the previous week’s game. The reason: what happened the previous week has no bearing on the current game and that is exactly what occured on Sunday in Foxboro.
The Colts had few chances to score. When they did, they could not get the ball into the end zone and had to settle for a field goal or get intercepted.
Coach Bill Belichick and Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel have to be given credit for devising a scheme that confused Quarterback Peyton Manning and prevented his receivers from making big plays. Seeing Marvin Harrison, Dallas Clark, Reggie Wayne and Brandon Stokley drop passes that they would normally catch shows you that they were intimidated by the Patriots secondary. Yes, that secondary that without Ty Law and Tyrone Poole were supposed to lay down in front of the Colts.
Offensively, you could not have asked for a better plan of attack by Offensive Coordinator and soon-to-be Notre Dame Head Coach Charlie Weis. Scoring drives of 9:07, 8:16 and 7:24 prevented Manning from establishing a rythym and sometimes, the best defense is a ball control offense.
But the thing that amazes me some 25 hours after the final gun is the fact that so many so-called experts and prognosticators got this game wrong. So many of ESPN’s alleged experts picked the Colts as did the writers for the Sporting News, SI.com, USA Today and so many other publications. Didn’t they realize that the Colts have not fared well against the Patriots in their recent history. Didn’t they know that Peyton Manning has trouble in cold weather games? Didn’t they think that the Patriots, who are the defending Super Bowl champs, might have some pride and try to make a statement even though they were allegedly “outmanned”?
While the Patriots were hurting coming into Sunday’s game, one has to realize that they won last year despite so many nagging injuries to their key players. And that they have a system that allows players such as Troy Brown, Mike Vrabel, Willie McGinest and others to play other positions and play them well?
When you read these so-called experts, take them with a grain of salt. Now, the Patriots based on their domination of the Colts are favored over the Steelers despite the fact Pittsburgh is 16-1 and beat the Pats back on Halloween. But the experts may annoint the Pats as the best team since sliced bread. I’m not saying the Steelers are better, but be careful when reading their “analysis.”