Do You Realize What Eli Could Do On Sunday?

I'm not sure you understand what could happen on Sunday if Eli Manning and the Giants win one more game and move on to the Super Bowl. I know, I'm as surprised as you are that Eli's one win from the Super Bowl, especially considering the way this season began. But here we are. And if the Giants win Sunday, the following happens:

-Eli Manning has taken a team the Super Bowl. (Read that again.)

-Eli and the Giants will have won three straight road playoff games.

-Eli and the Giants will have knocked off the top two seeds in the NFC.

-Eli and the Giants will have won a playoff game at Green Bay, where it's supposedly so mythical and Brett Favre is such a legend, that the ghost of Vince Lombardi decided to change television programming to disrupt Eli.

-Eli will have beaten Saint Favre, the patron saint of ill-advised, forced passes that turn into interceptions.

-Eli will have taken his team to a Super Bowl four years sooner than his brother Peyton did.

So, seriously, would you have believed any of those things were possible at the start of the season? Let alone all of them being possible at once with one more victory?

This all probably means the Giants will flop spectacularly. But if we're going to take cosmic forces out of it, I think the Giants have a really good chance.

The Giants are playing well right now. Not "on fire" as a lot of media types would have you believe... just "well." They aren't doing anything brilliantly -- rather, they're just doing a lot of things well and they're not making mistakes and giving the game away. Eli isn't throwing picks. They aren't fumbling. They aren't missing opportunities to score when they should score. Nobody's playing out of their minds, though, and that's a good thing because it means getting here hasn't been a fluke. The Giants are just solid enough and with a talented enough defense to sneak past one more team.

The Packers, by the way, are not as good as everyone seems to want to believe. I know it's a fun storybook season for Favre and seeing him go back to the Super Bowl would be neat-o. But, remember, then we'd be subjected to endless stories about aw-shucks Brett Favre and how he's such a "gamer" and how he's so down-home and how he's from Mississippi and how he's able to eat lightning and crap thunder. Please. Spare me.

He's a great QB who belongs in the Hall of Fame. BUT -- Brett Favre has thrown a lot of terrible picks in his career and made many bad decisions. Sure he has the all-time lead in passing yards and TDs but this is as much a product of his impressive (and some might say, detrimentally stubborn) longevity as anything else. He's a QB who passes a lot and who has played every game since 1992. 60,000 passing yards happens that way. So does more than 200 picks.

But I don't mean to rail on Brett Favre. Brett Favre is indeed awesome. I, like many, just get tired of the not-so-concealed mancrushes that every sportswriter and broadcaster has on him. But if Brett went back to the Super Bowl against golden boy Tom Brady, I admit that would be pretty nifty, and a whole hell of a lot better than Rex Grossman being led to slaughter against the Colts last year, for example. I admit, even a cynic like me would enjoy the Brady-Favre matchup.

That said, I don't want it to happen because I like the Giants. They're my team. And these kinds of opportunities don't come along often. And it would be so great to see Eli continue to shut people up by giving them nothing to criticize. And if you want a good Super Bowl, you really should be rooting for the Giants. They threw everything they had at the Patriots and lost 38-35. And Eli had a devastating interception in the second half in that game. What if he plays mistake-free against them? Can we at least agree that it's possible that the Giants can play the Pats tough? Good.

And since we're all about transitive properties around here (huh?), remember what happened to Green Bay when they played Dallas? They got smoked. And how did Dallas fair against the Pats? They got super-smoked. And who has beaten Dallas and played the Pats tough? The Giants.

I forget the original point here. But I know that all year I've felt the Packers were overrated. They played a marginal schedule and lost three games -- once they were trounced by the Cowboys and twice they were beaten up by the Bears. Sure, they beat the Giants in Week 2, but those first two games don't count because the Giants defense still thought it was training camp, I think.

Point is, I feel good about this game. The cold doesn't worry me. Lambeau doesn't bother me. I think the Giants defense will get after Favre and if he starts making dumb decisions, the Giants defense will make him pay far more than Seattle's. And speaking of Seattle, did anyone notice that they were up 14-0 on the Pack last weekend? If they Giants get a 14-0 lead, Green Bay will be in a world of trouble.

I know you don't care, but here's what I think:

Giants 24, Packers 21

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There's another game this weekend and it's in the AFC. I know I was talking about the Giants-Pack game at length and I kept making comments that made it sound like the Patriots have a bye into the Super Bowl. And the reason it seemed like I felt that way is because I do feel that way. Sure, I gave the Chargers no chance against the Colts but, really, is it so hard to fathom the Colts losing a home playoff game with ticky-tack mistakes (like Peyton's picks and Marvin's fumble)? If you take out last season, the Colts lose in the playoffs a lot. And just two years ago, they lose the divisional weekend to the Steelers at home. So a team can gameplan for them and beat them and, to their credit, that's what the Chargers did. It certainly didn't hurt SD that in their two wins over Indy this year, Peyton had eight interceptions. Hey, it's football, it happens.

But the Patriots at home are not the Colts at home. At least not this season. The Patriots are fully healthy and have been for most of the season. They've taken everybody's best shots and fended them off. Most people -- myself included -- thought that the Jags last weekend might have been one of the few teams that could have been good enough to a) catch the Pats napping and b) actually hang with them for four quarters. We were all wrong. As good as the Jags are -- and losing to them by 11 in Foxboro isn't bad -- they clearly weren't enough. And I said it last week -- I thought all along that the Colts would be the team with the best chance to beat the Pats and more because of their lack of fear of the Pats than any sort of talent advantage. But now they're off the board, too. Seriously, does anyone look like they could even give the Pats a game? I know I argued in favor of the Giants but the last game of the regular season in Giants Stadium is one thing... the Super Bowl is another.

And the Chargers? Well, they hate the Pats. New England has de-pantsed the Chargers twice in the last calendar year. Once in the playoffs last year and once to kick off this season. LaDanian Tomlinson famously got all pissy at the Pats last year for "disrespecting" the Chargers a-hole, steroid-abusing, preening prick, Shawne Merriman, by doing his "sack dance" after knocking off the Chargers last year. I don't have any love for the Patriots but that was hellishly funny -- both them mocking that stupid dance and the reaction by the Chargers. LT accused the Pats of having no class and he lumped their head coach in with that. Which is really, just, so funny. And I hope when the Pats are done thumping the Bolts that they all put on dark visor helmets and watch a Vizio TV to be creative in mocking LT. Because he deserves it.


Has any game had so many reasons to root against both teams? I mean, the Chargers have always been likable in my memory. Dan Fouts back in the '80s, Flipper Anderson catching passes, warm weather, cool unis, etc. What's not to like? Then in the '90s they had a mini-resurgence, reaching the Super Bowl in 1994 with Stan the man Humphries at quarterback and Natrone Means rushing. It was a likable team and always has been. Now they've got the aforementioned jackass Merriman, the frat boy-level obnoxious Rivers and LT, who I used to kind of like but now I realize is a whiner. When things don't go his way he yells at teammates and coaches and, as I said, got pissed at the Pats last year.

Then of course there are the Patriots. I don't dislike Tom Brady, actually. And as I've said before, it's cool to witness history. And the way that offense churns through games is simply amazing to watch, whether you like them or not. But as I've said before, if they go 19-0, we will all have to hear about it... forevah!

So yes, I'm pulling hard for the Chargers. Not just because it would be cool to see Rivers against Eli in the Super Bowl (the guys traded for each other on draft day) but because it would screw up everything that ESPN is practically already having an orgasm over -- Brady versus Favre.

Alas, there's no way any sentient human being can truly think the Pats aren't going to win and win big. Rivers might not even play and LT has been marginally effective and was hurt for a lot of the Indy game last week. So unless Rivers unleashes a particularly effective Laserface (thanks to KSK for that frickin' hilarious reference, towards the bottom of this post) or LT brings a weapon in like Billy Blanks in Friday Night Lights, I think we're looking at the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

If the Chargers win, I will take a dare from our readers and do whatever they can come up with, within reason, and it will be worth it because the Pats and their fans will be down for the count. And that would be wonderful.

But the pick from me is as follows:

Patriots 33, Chahjuhs 6

You're Welcome, Purdue.

Reminder IU fan: The NCAA is still investigating your crooked coach.

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