- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 6, 2007

The next three weeks could be wilder than Monday night’s Boise State-Oklahoma game. The NFL playoff fields are that wide open, the top seeds that vulnerable and unproven. And so many teams are playing well (AFC) or struggling (NFC).

Boise State went for broke in upsetting the Sooners in overtime. Redskins owner Dan Snyder should fly his jet to Idaho, pick up coach Chris Peterson and deliver him to Joe Gibbs’ office for a tutorial: “How To Be Aggressive As A Head Coach Instead Of Punting Every Single Time On Fourth And Short And Never Calling Anything Surprising.”

While Gibbs has seven months to contemplate the disaster that was a 5-11 record, 12 other teams continue playing. My Super Bowl pick is Philadelphia vs. San Diego. I like New England, but I don’t think they can stop Tomlinson and the Chargers will advance so long as Marty doesn’t put on the headset and butt in with Cam Cameron’s play calling.

Meanwhile, in my contest with Jim Ducibella of the Virginian-Pilot of the Virginian-Pilot, the old codger defeated the young stud by a healthy margin. We’ll have to settle on dinner somewhere between Reston and Williamsburg this spring. Just as long as the eatery takes The Times’ American Express card.

Saturday’s games

Kansas City at Indianapolis: This could be a last-team-with-the-football wins type of game. The Chiefs excel at running it; Indy can’t stop the run. The Colts excel at passing it; KC won’t be able to stop the pass. As long as the Chiefs stay close, they can use Larry Johnson. But as soon as they punt and the Colts drive down the field to make it a 14-point game, they’ll have to rely on Trent Green, who has struggled since his return from getting his brain scrambled in Week 1. Colts 41-28.

Dallas at Seattle: Both teams are 1-3 in their last four games. Both teams’ secondaries are healthy/struggling (Dallas) or hurting/struggling (Seattle). Digressing for a second, so what if Roy Wiliams struggles in coverage? He still knows how to take the football away — 5 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries. And he’s a sure tackler. That means he’s a ton better than Sean Taylor. Back to the game at hand. The Cowboys will do enough to edge the Seahawks and earn a trip to Chicago. Cowboys 27-23.

Sunday’s games

Jets at New England: As impressive as the Jets have been in the last half of the season to finish 10-6 and reach the playoffs under rookie coach Eric Mangini and as impressive as their win at New England was earlier in the season … I can’t see Tom Brady losing a home playoff game to a team like the Jets. This sets up — assuming the Colts win — a New England-at-San Diego matchup. And despite the Chargers’ 10-game win streak and L.T. and Merriman and Rivers, we all know Marty hasn’t had the greatest luck in home playoff games. Patriots 24-17.

Giants at Philadelphia: Everybody who thinks the Giants got things turned around against the Redskins last week are mistaken. The Giants were playing a Redskins team who: a) couldn’t tackle; b) couldn’t cover; c) couldn’t avoid big penalties; d) couldn’t get to the quarterback; e) couldn’t force a turnover; and, a) REALLY couldn’t tackle. Tiki’s 234 yards masked a horrid game by Eli Manning. The Eagles are my pick to reach the Super Bowl because they’re the only NFC team with any kind of mojo. Eagles 31-17.

Last week: 8-8

Season record: 144-104

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