Importance, Injuries and Penalties - Playoff Football Rocks!
By David Lane Predictem.com writer
As the 2007 NFL season is nearing the end and the games remaining can be counted one hand, any football fan realizes how important these games are to all parties involved. During this time of year every games importance is magnified, injuries are much more critical, and one penalty at the most crucial time can literally make or break a teams season. When an organization is so ecstatic about being victorious that they look like they just won the Super Bowl and instead it was their first regular win in about 14 tries, you know that not only does this game and league still mean a lot, but that it also means a lot for the right reasons.
Although the obvious interception, stupid penalty, and even lost challenges not only hurt your team in the present, they also take any and all momentum away in the future. Each athlete on every team simply has put in just way too much time and effort for an unforced error to cost them the season. When guys are throwing themselves around with no concern for their future, teammates are playing with the realization that off season surgery awaits them, and some have been numbed up by long acting Novocain just to make it on to the playing field, there is no room for mishaps.
Each game becomes greater as the playoffs wear on and the pressure rises for each player. How the player handles this pressure helps make them who they are. Coaches are being dispatched at a record pace even after a 14-2 season- see Marty Schottenheimer. Since lives hang in the balance depending on success or failure- each games importance grows as teams are pared down from 16 to two. When each game is this important, the NFL smiles as their cash registers ring up sale after sale. Winning means everything and losing nothing- perhaps the way it should be.
Injuries to any of the teams playing deep into the playoffs are always a big factor. Ask any San Diego Charger fan if they’re not worried about going into New England with a slew of injuries- Ladainian Tomlinson- knee, Antonio Gates- toe, and Phillip Rivers-knee among them- and youll see how important it is for them to play. During the regular season, theres time to heal or for others to take over in most cases. Its not everyday a team draws a team as great as the Patriots. The Patriots are facing problems of their own as quarterback Tom Brady-shoulder and Donte Stallworth- knee have failed to be able to participate in practice thus far.
In the NFC Championship game- the Green Bay Packers seem to have the worst of the injury bug. They could be playing without Tight End Bubba Franks-knee, WR Koren Robinson-knee, and Charles Woodson-knee who are not participating in practice thus far. The New York Giants have listed CB Sam Madison-ankle and WR Plaxico Burress- abdomen on the injury list among others. Regardless of the injury, this is the game of their lives in most cases and these guys WILL play if at all humanly possible.
Penalties always seem to hit teams at just the wrong time as well. As a gambler, nothing is worse than losing a game due to a screwed up call or non-call. No one ever said that being a referee was an easy job. Just last year (in January- the 2005 playoffs), as you may recall, the Pittsburgh Steelers were robbed in a game against the Indianapolis Colts by a call when safety Troy Polamalu apparently intercepted a Peyton Manning pass and, instead of just laying down, tried to get up and run. As he did so, the ball came out giving the refs an opportunity to call the pass incomplete, which they did when the call on the field was overturned by the replay booth. Since the turn over would have basically given the Steelers the game, it was crucial. As Joey Porter said later, The whole world loves Peyton Manning, but come on man, dont take the game away from us. Try getting up for anything after that has happened to you several times, it just takes the life out of anyone who plays this game to win.
So, as you’re watching these terrific games this weekend, have some compassion for what these guys do to be in the games and perhaps the next time one of them finds themselves in trouble, you’ll find it within yourselves to try and understand what they go through. Every job out there looks great until you actually take it, and I believe in my heart that football is like any other. Writing about it is much safer than actually playing it, this I know in my heart.
If a team manages to last through this pressure cooker that is playoff football and succeeds through any number of injuries or bad calls, theyll be able to call themselves champions forever. Whether its the New England Patriots at 19-0 or the New York Giants at 14-6, whichever wins will always be called historic. The way this game is so super magnified by its fans, a championship, whoever wins it, is one thing that no one can ever take away from the eventual winner. Enjoy!
Games this weekend:
San Diego Chargers vs. New England Patriots 14, total is 46.5
I m taking the Patriots and over 46.5 in this one despite the Chargers seeking revenge over what happened last year in San Diego. Give the 14 points in what will be a high scoring blow out. Randy Moss will cruise to two touchdown receptions despite the allegations against him in the media.
Bet this game at reduced odds at 5dimes Sportsbook
New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers 7, total is 40
This one reeks of a Green Bay victory however, taking the Giants isn’t in vogue and I like receiving the 7 points in this one. Being a wise guy instead of a square is important when one lives in Vegas, and early money is coming in on the Packers. Ill take the 7 points and go with under the total of 40 on this one.