We heard you missed us, we’re back! We brought our pencil.  Give us something to write on, man.

The NFL playoffs enter their second weekend, and although we have no interest in talking about what happened last week (where have you gone Thomas Edward Brady, Jr?  Pats’ nation turns its lonely eyes to you.  Oooh, Oooh, Oooh), we feel it is our duty to report that in three of the four Wild Card round games, evil won out over good (The Cowboys and Jets are unequivocally evil, while the Ravens took out our beloved Patriots.  We really had no feelings either way about the Cardinals and Packers, but at least those teams were able to put on an entertaining show).  Now, this weekend’s Divisional Round is upon us, and we really have no one to root for.  But since we are a full service operation, we will nonetheless fill you in on what is on tap for this weekend, no matter how much it stings us that inferior New York Jets team is still alive while the Patriots have already packed in until next fall. Here’s your weekend preview.

Here it is a nutshell, non-sports fans.  If you want to make plans for this weekend, we suggest that you get them all out of the way before 4 p.m on Saturday.

On Saturday afternoon at 4:30, the New Orleans Saints will host the Arizona Cardinals in the first divisional playoff match-up.  The Saints, who started the season 13-0 before stumbling down the stretch and losing their last three contests, will be facing an Arizona Cardinals offense, led by quarterback Kurt Warner (pictured), which put up 45 points in their opening round triumph over the Green Bay Packers. We haven’t made a practice of making predictions on games, but since the Patriots are now out of it, we can say that the Cardinals are the only team left in the playoffs that we don’t find distasteful, so we will openly be rooting for them on Saturday to advance to the NFC Championship game for the second straight year.

In the other NFC playoff game, to be played on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m., the Dallas Cowboys will travel to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Vikings.  Now we hate the Cowboys like we hate death and Duke basketball.  But we also hate Brett Favre.  What do you do with a match-up like this?  We’re our holding our nose and picking the Vikings because our hate of an entire franchise outweighs our contempt for just one man. (more…)

Well, we’re getting down to brass tacks in the NFL.  Save for tonight’s mega-clash between the New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints (more on that below), Week 12 of the NFL season is in the books.  And much like this past baseball season, there aren’t that many division races left to be decided.  The Bengals have joined the Colts, Vikings, and Saints as mortal locks to win their divisions, while the Patriots, Chargers, and Cardinals all have commanding leads in their divisions.  That, once again, only leaves the NFC East, where Philadelphia and Dallas continue to do battle.

But much like in baseball, the wild card races are beginning to heat up as the calendar gets set to switch over to December, and the charge is being led by a team that had been left for dead just five weeks ago.  Here is our recap of what you may have missed, and our preview of tonight’s marquee Monday Night match-up.

1. The Tennessee Titans started the season 0-6 and were humbled by the New England Patriots 59-0 just six weeks ago.  Since that defeat, and the insertion of quarterback Vince Young (pictured) into the starting line-up, the Titans have won five in a row and amazingly are back in the playoff hunt.  Last night’s win over the Arizona Cardinals was straight out of a fairy tale.  Trailing by four points with a little over two minutes remaining in the contest, Young and the Titans drove 99 yards in 17 plays, scoring on the last play of the game on 4th and goal on the nine yard line.  Young completed a touchdown pass to Kenny Britt as time expired to keep the Titans unlikely run going and their playoff hopes alive.  Not bad for a guy who was benched for most of last season and the first six games of this year.

2. The Indianapolis Colts are still undefeated after defeating the Houston Texans yesterday 35-27.  The Texans scored the game’s first 20 points before choking away the lead and the game to Peyton Manning and the Colts in the second half.  Indianapolis will next face those streaking Tennessee Titans in Indy next week.

3. Finally, all the action that took place yesterday was mere prelude to tonight’s Monday Night game between the undefeated Saints and the New England Patriots.  Some say that the Patriots are the only thing standing between the Saints and an undefeated season.  We doubt that.  We believe that the Patriots will win tonight because their defense is better than that of the Saints and they have the offense to beat New Orleans in a shootout.  But how amazing is it that a match-up between the New Orleans Saints and the New England Patriots is all of a sudden the Game of the Year.  (more…)

images-2images-1The National Football League wants, no demands, that its stadiums be full on Sundays.  For most NFL cities across the country, this is not a problem.  But Jacksonville is not your average NFL city.  It is one of the smallest markets in the league, and the economy in northern Florida was hit particularly hard by the recent housing crunch.  The team’s season ticket base fell from 42,000 just last year to 25,000 for this season.  But the NFL’s long standing policy states that games are to be blacked out on local television if all the non-premium tickets aren’t sold 72 hours before Sunday’s kickoff. The league usually will grant a time extension to franchises that are close to selling all of their tickets, but the Jaguars did not even ask for one.  Reports are that the team would need to sell 18,000 tickets in the next three days to prevent the black out, an impossibility in a town the size of Jacksonville, and as a result the team announced that its home-opener against the Arizona Cardinals will not be available on local television. Earlier this summer, Jacksonville owner Wayne Weaver predicted that all eight of the Jags home games would be blacked out locally, a worst case scenario for a team that has been struggling financially for years.

But help may be on the way for the Jaguars, in the person of University of Florida golden-boy quarterback Tim Tebow (above right).  Weaver suggested yesterday that his team may be open to selecting Tebow, who many scouts feel would not be a competent NFL quarterback, in the first round of next year’s NFL draft in an effort to re-ignite fan interest.  Tebow, who is from Jacksonville orginially, is arguably the most popular person in the entire state, having led the Gators to a national title in his junior season after becoming the first sophomore ever to win the Heisman Trophy the year before. But would Tebow’s arrival make the Jaguars, who suffered through a 5-11 campaign last year and lost their first game of the season last week against the Indianapolis Colts, any better on the field?

We have mixed feelings on this.  An NFL franchise cannot have all of its  games blacked out locally, and although the economy is being cited as the reason for the drop in ticket sales, the Jaguars have always played second-fiddle to the Gators in northern Florida.  Getting Tebow may be the only way to perhaps keep the team in Jacksonville.  But would that be a good thing?  The jury’s still out on that, but Jacksonville’s NFL fans, all 22 of them, will be left out in the cold on Sunday, and maybe all year long.