Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011
Updated at 7:03 PM
By John Mullin
If the Green Bay Packers defeat the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday night, which I expect them to, the Bears will be playing the new Americas Team.
Americans love a no-chance underdog and there never has been an underdog given less of a chance than the Seattle Seahawks a 10-12 point dog in their own building, one of the most difficult venues for a visitor in the entire NFL.
The team that was being given short shrift to the point of calls starting for an overhaul of the playoff seeding drilled the defending Super Bowl champions by a 41-36 count. Perfect.
And anyone who thinks the Bears would prefer to play the Seattle Seahawks from among the remaining playoff teams needs to take a long, hard look. The Bears likely wouldnt give the Seahawks the kind of play-calling gifts that Mike Martz gave them in Seattles regular-season win (45 pass plays, 12 running plays) but there are no byes in the playoffs once you get past the actual bye week.
The Bears would draw Philadelphia next Sunday if the Eagles get past the Packers. That will not be any more difficult than the Seattle Seahawks would be.
How could this be happening to New Orleans? By the Seattle Seahawks?
The Saints may come back with a Drew Brees rally from a two-touchdown deficit, but understand why this sort of thing can happen.
Some years ago I worked covering Arlington Park Racetrack and that included the Arlington Million. What I noticed at one point was the number of winners and high finishers that were odds longshots. I asked a prominent trainer why this happened so frequently.
His answer applied to this years NFL playoffs. He told me that there were no bad horses in the field. There were very good ones, even some great ones, but you werent in this field if you were a gluepot.
The Seattle Seahawks may have suffered each of their nine losses by at least 15 points. But they also defeated the Bears and San Diego Chargers, two teams with winning records. In other words, they were not and arent, as the New Orleans Saints found out as Seattle was outscoring them 27-3 after the early Saints lead, gluepots.
Seattle doesnt appear to be in the spirit of this whole playoff thing, dontcha think? The Seahawks dont deserve a home playoff game, for one thing.ooops.
And special teams that handed New Orleans a gift with an out-of-bounds kickoff to start the game has nailed Saints kickoff returners three times inside the New Orleans 20. And suddenly New Orleans is close to taking a standing eight count.
In a game that is so influenced by turnovers, Seattle kicking off out of bounds to give the Saints a short field at the New Orleans 40 was a virtual turnover to start the game. Then the Seahawks gave New Orleans another gift on an interception that started the Saints offense at the Seattle 35.
The Seahawks holding New Orleans to a field goal after the OB kickoff was a stop. But New Orleans turned the mishandled passinterception into a touchdown, meaning the Saints basically have 10 points off turnovers in less than 9 minutes.