Trash Talk: It Comes Out Of The Swamp Cool and Slow….

Comes out of the Virginia swamps

Cool and slow with plenty of precision

With a back beat narrow and hard to master

Some call it heavenly in it’s brilliance

Others, mean and ruthful of the Western dream….

I love the friends I have gathered together on this thin raft

We have constructed pyramids in honor of our escaping

Yes, it is the Texas Radio and the Big Beat. But, more importantly, it is this week’s Trash Talk …. and Sharktopus! Before we get down to this week’s slate of sporting festivities, we here at the incomparable Emptywheel blog have a truly special announcement! In one short week, on Saturday night September 25, 2010, we will be proudly going where no blog has gone before (thankfully probably). Yes, we will be liveblogging, FDL Mystery Theater 3000 style, the grand world premier of the movie of the century, Sharktopus!

As a special taser – er, teaser – I have attached the amazing trailer from this certain Oscar winning celluloid classic. And, thanks to the miracle that is cable TeeVee, you too will be able to watch and participate from the comfort of yer own abodes (i.e. For those scoring at home, and even those alone). This event will, MST3K style, be hosted by me, Eli from FDL and, if we can get her likkered up enough, Marcy (she needs some encouragement!). The event will go off next Saturday night at 9:00 pm EST, 6:00 pm PST/FDL time. The bar here will be open 20-30 minutes before the curtains go up. Bring your bikinis and shark repellant!

Student Athaletes: Okay, I’m going homer this week. And I ain’t talking Simpson. The game of the week is Iowa at Arizona. The 9th ranked Hawks fly into the 24th ranked Cat lair. Both teams are 2-0, and this is an always intense and entertaining Pac-10/Big-10 matchup – and not even in the Rose Bowl (that never happened except in the Rose Bowl when I was growing up; else Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes would have lost a lot more games). Two very top tier quarterbacks, Ricky Stanzi for the Hawks and Nick Foles for the Cats. Both teams have potent offenses and tough defenses to date in the still young season. You have to give the coaching edge to Iowa’s Kirk Farentz over the Benny Stulwiz like Bob Stoops for Arizona. But the contest is a night game on Bear Down Field in Tucson and that is special; Cats win in an upset.

Sticking with the homer routine, the other game of the day (I hope; cross my fingers, otherwise it could be a rout), is ASU at Camp Randall Stadium to visit the Wisconsin Badgers. Another Pac-10/Big-10 hookup. Just doesn’t seem right, but there you have it. I actually have friends with more dollars than sense who have travelled up to the Land ‘O Cheese to get a brat and see the game. Suckers. The Badgers are 11th ranked and always solid, if rarely exciting. The Badgers have a superior ground game, with the Devils having the slight edge at quarterback with Michigan transfer Steve Threet. ASU has also gone to the popular spread offense this year and they often run it hurry up style.. ASU is better tha people think, but the Big Bad Badgers are to much for them at Camp Randall.

Florida at Rocky Top to visit the Vols might be interesting if Florida keeps playing like a run of the mill team; but they should be able to get by the rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Kiffin Vols. Number 8 Nebraska goes to Seattle to take on Jake Locker and the Washington Huskies. This has got upset written all over it; Huskies remind the Cornfuskers they are just an average team – like Notre Dame – now. Lastly we got the Texas-Texas Tech tilt. With no Mike Leach on the sidelines, no way the Red Raiders keep up with the Whorens. Both schools are down a little, but Texas at least has a continuity facto and that is enough. Special mention for Pirates of the Gulf Coast, the Cougs of Houston and Casey Keenum travel to Rodeo Drive 90210 to visit UCLA. The Bruins are terribly disappointing and Keenum and the Cougs should win easy.

Professional Athaletes: Thunder Island is the talk of the town this weekend. Randy Moss promises to bring the old time Brady to Moss thunder and Darrelle Revis swears he is still an island. But that would be an island with a tight hamstring per the latest hard knock pre-excuse from the running mouth Jets. Sorry, Pats go 2-0 and put themselves in the division catbird seat while the still lost Mark Sanchez and the Jets fall to 0-2.

The remaining slate of games is not all that exciting, but there are a couple to note. Cardinals at Atlanta will tell us a lot about both teams. Cards won a squeaker last week but looked crappy on offense; Dirty Birds lost their opener to teh Stillers and do not want to go down to 0-2 in what was supposed to be a promising season. This game is a toss up. Same analysis holds for the Ravens at Bengals, but the strong wind is with Ray Lewis and the Ravens as Cinci bungles to 0-2. Sea Squawks at Doncos looks interesting; I may regret this, but I will take the Squawks. Lastly, the Manning Bowl. Dunno why, but I just cannot get as excited about this as I should. There seems to be some air let out of the Peytons these days and the Giants have been pretty blase ever since their improbable SuperBowl run a couple of years ago. But the Colts have the better Manning and better receivers for him to throw to, so I will take the Colts.

In the also ran category, I got the Saints over the Niners, Bolts over Jags, Raiders rout the Rams, Texans trample the Skins (could be good game though), Eagles and Mike Vick run wild on the Matt Stafford-less Lions, Vikings rebound over the Fish, Chiefs go to 2-0 over the Brownies, Panthers over Bucs, Packers obliterate the Bills at Lambeau, Cowboys and Bears and Stillers and Titans are both pick-ems. There is your schedule, get to talking about it folks

Might as well trash this joint, because after the Sharktopus rapture weekend a week from now, there will be no turning back. Let er rip. For the children.

Trash Talk: Big Blue v. Golden Domers, Other Football & F1

Okay, as promised, here is the real Trash Talk for the weekend. Not sure what other football games and sports there are after the Geezer’s debut Thursday night, but I will try to find some to talk about……

Hey, turns out there is a game in South Bend today! That’s right Wheelers and Wheelettes, it’s the Wolvereenies versus the Flighting Irish. Emptywheel versus Masaccio. Just like when they had the battle of the unvictorious and untieds in 2007 – except better! Both teams appear to be resurgent this year and, all joking aside, that is good for college football. Bothe teams come in at 1-0 and are desperate to get to 2-0 to make a run at a prime bowl spot. Michigan is keyed by Denard Robinson, the super soph quarterback. Last week against UConn, Robinson threw for 186 yards and ran for another 197 as the Wolverines rolled to a 30-10 victory. Thankfully, after last year’s fiasco, Rich Rod seems to have seen the light and made Tate Forcier permanent number two.

Notre Dame seems already to be much more disciplined and cohesive under new coach Brian Kelly. Look for QB Dayne Crist to go deep to Michael floyd, maybe the best receiver in the country, especially considering Big Blue’s defensive secondary is beat up. The real test in this game will be whether Notre Dames defensive front and linebackers can stop Robinson and Michigan’s running game. If they do that, Notre Dame wins, and that is what I expect, although it should be a pretty good game. If Robinson gets loose again like last week, however, the Wolverines will win easy.

There are a lot of other really good games on the bill too. First and foremost is The U at the Ohio State Sweatervests. We will see if Jacory Harris and the Canes are back enough to nip the Buckeyes in the Horseshoe. Also, Georgia at South Carolina, the newly Bowdenless Florida State Seminoles at Oklahoma, Penn State at Bama, Oregon at Tennessee and in an unusually early Pac-10 matchup, Stanford at UCLA. That is a hell of a lot of really good games.

PROS: The big tilt is of course on Monday night when Ray Lewis and the Ravens travel to the Jets Jets Jets and their loud coach and new stadium. That ought to be really something; two nasty defenses, both coached up at one point by Rex Ryan. Revis Island, Bart Scott and Jim Leohnard along with a solid line provide the Dee in the Jets’ fence. They will show up. So will Ray Lewis, although the other superstar ball hawk for the Ravens, Ed Reed, is out. Really, this game will come down to how the two offenses perform. In that category, you have to take the Ravens all the way with Flacco and Ray Rice over Mark Sanchez and a worn out LaDanian Tomlinson. Ravens get the job done

In other key games, the Boys and Romeo visit McNabb and the Skins. Everybody is high on the Boys this year, but I dunno. Still McNabb is banged up, so I will take the Boys this week; later maybe not so much. Pack at Iggles could be interesting. If Kevin Kolb is what he has looked to be in preseason and a couple of games last year, this might be interesting. Might, but won’t; Pack easy. Bengals at Pats; if the Bill Bels can muster any defense at all, they win – I think they will. I think the Lions at Bears may actually be pretty interesting just to see what happens. Lions should be MUCH improved, and who knows what the hell is up with the Bears, they could be good or horrible – who knows? I’ll take the Lions in what I guess is an upset. I saw some cluck on MSNBC website predict the Texans will beat the Peyton Mannings; nuh uh, Peyton scores too much for the Texans. Broncos beat the Jags, Stillers eke out a win over the Dirty Birds, Fish beat the Bills, Browns over the Bucs, Raiders upset the Titans, Eli and the Gents take the Panthers, Cards beat the Rams, SeaSquawks somehow over the Niners, and the Bolts kill the Chiefs.

US Open: Federer pulls one last major win over Nadal and Kim Clijsters wins another Open over Vera Zvonareva.

F1 Circus: This weekend the Circus sets down at the Autodroma Nationale de Monza for the one and only Italian Grand Prix. Monza is the fastest circuit on the tour and is a great track that always provides great racing. Not surprisingly, fast, good teams go fast at Monza, and so they did at practice. Sebastian Vettel led the way for Red Bull followed closely by the two home town heroes in red, the Ferraris of Alonso and Massa. The two Mclarens of Hamilton and Jenson Button followed with Mark Webber trailing with mechanical difficulties. This is another critical race with only three points separating Webber from Hamilton for the driver’s crown and only one point between Red Bull and McLaren for the Constructor’s Championship. The big chattering for the weekend has been over the use of team orders. FIA hit Feerrari with a $100,000 fine for the incident at Hockenheim. I have no clue why this is always so shocking in today’s F1, team orders have been a part of the Circus for over six decades; that is just the way it is and the way it is going to be. Ecclestone should give up the ghost on this one. The race goes off at 7:30 am EST and 4:30 PST Sunday morning on SpeedTV.

It’s Geezer Time! The NFL Season Takes Flight Tonight

No more preseason watered down bunk. Boise State versus Virginia Tech was nice and all that. But those false fronts are behind us now because it is time for some real football. That’s right folks, Trash Talk is back for real!!!

Now all I got to worry about is a near 41 year old grandfather trying to keep himself and his walker upright out on a field with the most bulked up, fast and vicious young professionals the NFL has to offer. Marcy, on the other hand, had quite a fright this morning when Tom Brady was involved in a terrible car accident. Had to use the jaws of life to get the people out of the other car (a minivan), but Tom is as almost always, unscathed. Back on the field with the team later and, apparently, just fine. Jeebus, the dude must have stolen a four leaf clover from the Boston Garden or something.

But the real news of course is the rematch of the NFC Championship game from last season. Vikings at the Saints. As you may recall, it was a blood bath and one hell of a game. All your favorite characters are back. The Geezer, Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen, Drew Fookin Brees, Reggie Bush and Jeremy Shockey.

Mardi Gras is long over, but the party from Lombardi Gras is still rolling in the Big Easy. New Orleans is wired like it is the Super Bowl all over again. You gotta love it. The teams are both pretty healthy with two exceptions. Safety and defensive general Darren Sharper is still out rehabbing a knee and Sidney Rice is out for six to eight weeks with a bad hip. Both are key to their units, but these are two solid teams and they will make do just fine.

No reason not to believe it won’t be another outstanding game with these two teams on the field. If it is lopsided, it will almost certainly be in the Saints’ favor, as it is possible it takes a few games for the Geezer to get untracked. But it isn’t like he has never been to this rodeo before, so I expect a good game. Problem is, once again the game is in the Superdome in New Orleans, and that is tough. The edge has to be solidly with the Saints tonight.

So take out yer false teeth mama, it is time for the hard hitting to begin again; it’s the season opener in the NFL, Saints and Vikings! Trash it up!

EW’s World Famous Trash Talk: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Can you feel it? It is almost here. Real football is just over the horizon. The excruciatingly long preseason slate of games has thankfully ended with the obligatory fourth game of scrubs on scrubs, and now all that is left is the mandatory roster cutdowns which always serves up some interesting big names hitting the street. I’ll get back to that in a minute, but first there is the rather large issue of…..

Helen of Troy Palamalu has insured his hair for one million large. Holy flowing locks Batman! Actually, hair products company Haead & Shoulders, who Polamalu shills for, took out the policy from Lloyds of London. Pretty smart PR ploy actually. But the extreme value of Polamalu’s mop does raise the question of the relative value of Tom Brady’s new Justin Bieber look. Seriously, what’s up with that? Man, if the head Patsy gets any closer to his feminine side, he is gonna be strutting down the Victoria’s Secret catwalk with his wife.

Now, back to some of the comings and goings. Of local note here, it seems pretty clear that the Cardinals are going to cut bait with Matt Leinart. The guy has been given every opportunity, but has just never come to grips with the speed of the pro defenses and has been often aloof as a teammate and leader. Oh well, no loss, and the Cardinals have a rather impressive history of wasting high first round picks on quarterbacks that go bust (one of them, Kelly Stouffer, who in spite of being a complete bust in the NFL, nevertheless is forever known for refusing to play for the Cardinals after they used the number six overall pick on him).

T.J. Houshmandzadeh has been cut by Seattle after signing a big free agent contract last year. The Cowboys have dumped former fan favorite Patrick Crayton on the Bolts (who need a receiver because they seem unable to deal with Vincent Jackson). It may well be that Byron Leftwich’s knee injury last night earns him being dumped by the Steelers. Pittsburgh really only wanted Leftwich for the period of Big Ben’s suspension anyway and that has now been reduced to four games, which is how long Leftwich looks to be laid up. Hard to believe Pittsburgh will pay the money to keep him on the opening day roster under those circumstances.

In other news and notes, the student athletes have already started play. Sort of. USC ran up the score on Hawaii; the Trojans offense looked decent, but their defense looked very un-Trojan like. And not very Monte Kiffin like either. I dunno, could be a long year in for the scarlet and gold in Watts. However, there was one pretty good game last night, Utah and Pitt, with the Utes pulling out an overtime win. It will be pretty interesting to see coach Kyle Whittinham and Utah in the Pac-12 next year; the guy is a very good coach and Utah always seems to have solid players. They may make some waves.

But, hands down, the game of the week is Monday night between Boise State and the Virginia Tech Hokies. Boise is rated number 3 preseason and VaTech number 10. That is a good game any time, but this is simply huge in that if Boise State gets by the Hokies, they are primed for a run at playing for the National Championship in the BCS title game, which would be yet another perfect black eye for the hated BCS assholes. And boy would that be sweet. Boise State is my favorite team right now; Go Broncos!!

There is also MLB baseball as the season winds up and October looms and a few other things sporting out there, so get yer trash on people!

Special Trash: Lungs For The Long Run

As you may recall, one of our own here at Emptywheel, John Gundrum (known here as “Gunner”) received a lung transplant about a year and a half ago>. Well, things have progressed quite nicely for John, and this weekend he has travelled from Ann Arbor to Wisconsin to participate in the National Transplant Games:

“You appreciate life like you wouldn’t believe,” Gundrum said. “A lot of stuff just isn’t important anymore, but little stuff is important like seeing my little nephews.”

At the end of the month, Gundrum plans to join about 1,500 other organ transplant recipients from around the country in Wisconsin for the U.S. Transplant Games.

Sponsored by the National Kidney Foundation, the weeklong event features athletic competitions between organ transplant recipients. In the last games held in 2008, more than 1,300 athletes and more than 5,700 families of organ donors or other supporters attended.

“The big draw is a lot of participants want to show the success of organ donation and that, after going through something like that, it’s possible to perform successfully and live healthy productive lives,” said Michael Steigmeyer, spokesman for the National Kidney Foundation.

John will be competing in bowling, golfing and table tennis, and that is just way cool. Go Gunner!

Find out how to become an organ donor in your state.

Okay, there are actually a lot of things going on out there in sports land, including NFL training camp starting to crank up. Probably the most important news so far is that Childress went down to Kiln Mississippi to visit his once and future Geezer Quarterback and ended up on a nocturnal armadillo hunt. That is some kind of fun. Kind of like coon huntin, which is explained fully by Jerry Clower in the attached video.

Baseball is starting to hit the compelling part of the season and the trading deadline is at hand. And, more importantly, the lads in the Circus are ripping up Hungary this weekend with Sebastian Vettel looking very fast again.

So let loose and trash it up!

The Last Days Of May Trash

Now that the Top Hat is back in BP style, I constantly think of this when I hear the term “Top Hat“. Oh well, whatta ya gonna do? Beer Thirty, that’s what!

Lots of junk to blather about, only a few of which are Los Suns hosting the pinche Lakers, baseball (look out, here come the amazing Mets and Sawx), college baseball is in the playoff run, something called the Stanley Cup is supposedly being played, although you would hardly know it here, and early tomorrow morning the Turkish Grand Prix goes off. Crappy cookie cutter track that makes for forgettable racing. Don’t know why the Circus stops in Turkey.

Hoop it up, and I will be along with a couple of real posts in a bit.

Mummies And Bunnies Trash

It has been a while since we have taken in the Trash and the natives are restless. So, for yer Easter pleasure, we have a special Mummies and Bunnies edition of Trash. The bunnies, well, they are the official mascot of the holiday weekend of course, and they are absolutely necessary to go down the rabbit holes we have been lately in search of some semblance of our Constitutional rule of law. The Mummies, well, they are a relatively new discovery to me and they kind of fit in with the whole buried alive torture thing. Actually, they are officially known as Here Come The Mummies, and they are one kick ass live act. I have included two songs for your listening pleasure, one live and the other from a live set in a Chicago studio for a radio/TeeVee simulcast show. Enjoy.

Now, for the action, we start off with March April Madness Final Four. The first semifinal game pits the Butler Bulldogs against the Mighty Michigan State Spartans. This seems like a mismatch, but don’t sell Butler short, they are a perennial tournament team, well coached by Brad Stevens, who looks baby faced enough to be one of the players, but has put his team in the tournament all three years he has been head coach. The Bulldogs have some stud players too, led by Gordon Hayward and they play tenacious and disciplined team defense. On the other side stands Tom Izzo and the Spartans who were in the Final Four Championship Game last year, losing to Carolina, and are in the Final Four for the sixth time in the last twelve years. Izzo knows how to coach em up and the Spartans have really gelled in the tournament. It is telling that when their star guard, Kalin Lucas, went down with an achilles in the second round, you would think they were done. Nuh uh, and they win close games consistently. This is in Butler’s hometown, Indianapolis, so they have that going for them (Butler plays their home games just down the road in Hinkle Fieldhouse, a National Historic Register listed building and literally the home of Hoosiers, the real life team the movie is based on and the filming location for the movie). The Spartans are favored by a point; I call it a tossup. Thankfully, there is no riot in Michigan yet!

The second game has Huggy Bear’s West Virginia Mountaineers taking on the Dookies. Coach K and Duke are not newbies, although this particular team has never smelled the rarified air of the Final Four. West Virginia has been a top flite program for several years too, dating back to when they had a different coach that those Wolvereenies in Ann Arbor stole (Big Blue takes all of the Mountaineers’ coaches sooner or later apparently). Another solid and close matchup with the Dookies favored by two. I can see that, Duke looks to have too much speed and shooting and should prevail.

Formula One: As Petro noted, this weekend is the Malaysian Grand Prix. Malaysia is famous for the wet, there is always rain during GP week, and this year looks no different. That’s okay as the wet makes for great Grand Prix racing, and they do not wimp out and stop like those overhyped sissies that drive in circles. Actually rain is good, because otherwise Kuala Lumpur is a fast track with a lot of straights and not great overtaking opportunities. Hamilton, Vettel, Button and Schumacher were fast in practice. The first two races were won by former World Champions, Bahrain by Fernando Alonso and Down Under by Jenson Button. Is it time for Schumi to round into winning form? Nobody roots for Lewis Hamilton anymore, in fact the Aussies actually literally called him a dickhead! Gotta love the Oz. Qualifying is Saturday morning at 4 am Eastern and the race goes off Sunday morning 4 am Eastern; both on Speed TV.

Championship Sunday Trash

There are two faces to Championship Sunday, the four best teams battling for the two slots in the SuperBowl, back to back games making for one great day of football. But it also means that football is nearly done for the year, and that is depressing. It was already a tough Saturday here with no football save for an uninteresting East West Shrine game. But today is huge, so lets get to it:

On tap first is the J E T S Jets Jets Jets visiting the lay down artists formerly known as the Colts. In my opinion, Indianapolis should have been disqualified from the playoffs for conduct detrimental to the integrity of the league. Instead, after defrauding paying fans for the last two games of the regular season, they will likely earn their way to the Super Bowl.

Peyton Manning is going to score points; as good as the Chargers were supposed to be, Manning simply cannot be shut down like the Jets did to San Diego. The question then becomes can the Jets score enough to keep up and pull out another win over the Colts now that the real Colts will be on the field? It is hard to see how, although with Bob Sanders out for the season, the Colts can be run on and the Jets do that well. The Jets are game, but the Colts win. Renaming Manhattan “Revis Island” may have been a bit premature.

The late game is the much awaited Vikings at the home of the N’awlins Saints. Grizzly Old Man River and Drew Fookin Brees. Reggie Bush and Adrian Peterson. Darren Sharper and Jared Allen. The edge has to go to the Saints because of the home dome noise factor and their more solid across the board defense. But if the Vikes play with the same intensity and composure they exhibited last week against the Cowboys, all bets are off. Percy Harvin is a game time decision due to debilitating migraines. Sharper and Shockey for the Saints have minor issues, but should both be good to go.

If The Vikes defense plays to their potential, like last week, and Favre and the offense can overcome the crowd noise and play in synch, the Vikes win the game; if either factor comes up short in any degree, they lose. That is a lot to ask against a Saints team that just seems a little more solid and consistent on both sides of the ball. This pains me greatly, but the Saints make their first Super Bowl.

Hope y’all enjoy the nice little video attached hereto; it was Marcy’s idea!

Divisional Playoffs Weekend Trash Talk

Last weekend was supposed to be the big great weekend of exciting and wacky wildcard playoff games. With the exception of the Cardinals Packers Roaster in the Toaster game, they were all duds. This Saturday and Sunday we have another full slate of games, let’s hope they are better games that last weekend; I think they will be. Let em roll!

First up is the winner of that last, great, shootout last Sunday the Arizona Cardinals versus Drew Fookin Brees and da Who Dats. Both Kurt Warner and Captain Creole are gunslingers of the highest order. Honestly, Warner has had a better run in the last few games; but that shouldn’t mean much in this game, they will both come to play. The game is going to boil down to Arizona’s offensive line and defensive backfield; if both come up big, they can and will win. If not, the Saints win. The Cards will suck and the Saints will Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez.

The late game Saturday is the Colts and Ravens. After all these years, it is still Ray Lewis versus Peyton Manning and both are among the very best who ever have or ever will play their position. The Ravens look pretty fierce lately and are the sexy pick among many to knock off the well rested Colts. Peyton Manning is going to score some points, you just know that. But without Bob Sanders on the Colts playoff roster, the Ravens should be able to get at least a little scoring done too. It is going to come down to Terrel Suggs getting at Peyton Manning. My heart wants the Ravens to win and take out the the lay down artists; my wallet will go with the dive artists formerly known as the Colts.

The early game Sunday is ‘Boys at Vikes. Tony Romo and the Old Man River Geezer. This game is totally dependent on the ability of the Vikings defense to match the intensity and performance of the Dallas D. If the Vikes come up big on D, they will win in the dome; if not, they won’t. The other factor is the Minnesota offensive line, which was great at the start of the year, but has really fallen off. As quick a release as Favre has, he needs time for the vertical passes they have been relying on lately. This one kills me, but I think the ‘Boys come out with the win.

Last game is the J E T S Jets Jets Jets at the Bolts. You have to take Phil Rivers over Mark Sanchez, and quite frankly the San Diego receivers are better too. LT has been resurgent and Sroules can cause havoc. The Jets defense is better than the Chargers defense by a wide margin though. Even if the Gang Green can keep it close, it just seems like Rivers and the boys can score enough to win. That is if the Jets can even keep it close. Plus RanDiego has been on a roll. Bolts win.

There is your lineup folks, time to work up a Number Six!

Wildcard Weekend Trash

It is here. Yep Elvis Presley’s 75th birthday was yesterday, and that means we are all getting old. So, in honor of The King, lets all have Fools Gold sandwich, a pint or two of beer and watch some football.

Football you say? That’s right, Wildcard Weekend is here and that means some of the best pro football of the year is on tap. First up is the New York Football Jets Jets Jets versus the Lurking Bungles from WKRP in Cincinnati. The game will be in Cinci so, like last week, it will be cold. However, unlike the Meadowlands, Paul Brown Field has a heating system under it so the turf should be much better. That should benefit the Jets, who have the best running game in the league. But it should benefit the Bungles even more as it will allow their passing game to open up. Coupled with the return of Cedric Benson, this could be too much for the Jets, even with their ferocious defense and tough running game. Lots of people are picking the Jets; I dunno, Bengals look like a better bet to me.

Tonight we have the Iggles visiting Jerry Jones’ crib. I hear Jerry has a nice big screen. The ‘Boys have not won a playoff game since 1996. The Eagles have a history of winning early playoff games; in fact, Andy Reid has never lost one. Dallas seems strangely more stable and solid than they have in a long, long time. Romo is playing well, has found Miles Austin to make big plays downfield while still relying on Jason Whitman for the bread and butter. Marion Barber and Felix Jones are a complete running package. The Iggles have Donovan McNabb and Desean Jackson, if Jackson can manage to free himself up from the Cowboys secondary, which he had a problem with last week. This is pretty hard, but I will take the ‘Boys.

Sunday starts off with the Ravens at Pats. One thing we know is Wes Welker is out, and that really hurts Tom Brady’s underneath game and third down efficiency. However, Bill Bel is world famous for cultivating extremely smart adaptable players, and the thinking here is that Julian Edelman is one of those and don’t forget the Pats still have Kevin Faulk. With any running production at all, New England figures to beat the Ravens in the Big Razor.

The final game is really the most interesting and comes from the Big Toaster, which is exactly what the University of Phoenix stadium looks like from the air. The Cards host the Cheesers. Both teams have outstanding passing games with superb quarterbacks and big play receivers. Both teams have decent, but sometimes spotty running games. This game is going to be won or lost on defense. Green Bay was the best team in the NFC over the second half of the year, going 7-1 down the stretch, with the only loss via a Big Ben miracle on the last play of the game. The Packers killed the Cards right here last week, 33-7; but the Cards played base packages the entire game and Matt Leinart is no Kurt Warner. The real Cards will show up this time, problem is, you never fully know who the real Cards are. Also Anquan Boldin looks doubtful, though he usually is and yet manages to suit up and play. Certainly he is hobbled, and that hurts the Cards. That brings us back to the D. And the Pack has statistically the best D in the NFC, and with Boildin out, Charles Woodson can lock up on Spidey Fitzgerald. That spells a win for the Cheesers, but it will be a lot better game than last week.

BREAKING NEWS FOR MARCY: Peyton Manning has won his record fourth MVP award in a landslide, beating out Drew Fookin Brees, Phil Rivers and Brett Favre, in that order. The Peyton now has more MVPs than Brady does SuperBowls. No Giselle though.