Head-to-Head: Road to the Super Bowl
by Jordan Adams and Drew Mangione - 01/17/2007
Each week two of Doc's Sports gambling aficionados will give their alternating perspectives on the key games and interesting issues in the game at both the college and professional levels. You may not agree, they may not agree, but it should be interesting!
Here are this week's topics:
New Orleans at Chicago (-1) (3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 21)
Drew: The two top teams in the NFC played four common opponents this year (GB, TB, NYG, SF) and went 9-1 against them, with the only loss in the last week of the season when Rexy apparently had New Year's Eve-not the Packers-on his mind. Well, Grossman played reasonably well, but still looked shaky under pressure. The last time the Bears saw Brees he was a sophomore starter for the Chargers and played so poorly he lost his job. But he's on a miracle run now.
Prediction: New Orleans 24, Chicago 21
Jordan: Since last year I've been saying I wanted to see the league's best defense against the best offensive team. Well, one more week and that could become a reality. My hometown Bears must knock off destiny, because truthfully I feel like the Saints didn't come here just to lose. Certainly the Bears can advance and I'd love to see it, however my gut says these Saints have two more victories in them.
Prediction: New Orleans 24, Chicago 23
New England at Indianapolis (-3) (6:30 p.m., Sunday Jan. 21)
Drew: The question came after Indy knocked off the Ravens: Would you rather play an untested team with a stud running back on the road, or face your nemesis at home? It's the nemesis at home and can you really bet against Tom Brady? I really don't even want to touch this game. If this is to be the year of the improbable runs, the porous Colts may just sneak in.
Prediction: Indianapolis 29, New England 26, with Adam V driving the nail into the Patriots' coffin.
Jordan: I despise the Patriots, I really do. I don't mind Tom Brady -- he's awfully good -- but the rest of the team is a bunch of bums. They aren't the team of three years ago so they should be demanding respect. As if these younger cats expect to be treated like the vets that won those titles with class. Randall Gay, Rosevelt Colvin, Ellis Hobbs - you guys are a bunch of freeloaders and it wouldn't hurt the team if you just disappeared. And know that Peyton Manning is going to run you fools up and down the field come Sunday.
Prediction: Indianapolis 31, New England 23
In order, how do you rank each team's chances at winning the Super Bowl?
Drew: Fairly even, with New England the slight favorite and Chicago the biggest underdog. Forget the picks I just made, I think Chicago is better than N.O., but the Bears do not match up well against either AFC team. Their offense isn't good enough to build a lead of more than seven going into the last few minutes against Brady, nor can they put up more points than Indy. The Saints would beat Indy with Deuce and Reggie B., but lose to Belichick's schemes.
Prediction: The Saints are canonized before the NFL faithful, but then moved to San Antonio, where they'll fall back to long-term mediocrity.
Jordan: I have: 1) Indianapolis, 2) Chicago, 3) New Orleans, 4) New England.
Obviously, the two home teams this Championship Sunday should be looked at the favorites, and they are. New Orleans had a more convincing win than the Pats last week, even though both were close. And I put them at the three spot because I think the Colts are ready to break through to the Big Game and have no shot to choke against 'The Sweatshirt.'
Prediction: The Colts run through New England while the Saints upset Chicago. New Orleans worked all year and this magical run ends with one thing: a Super Bowl title.
No. 12 Arizona at No. 2 UCLA (Saturday, Jan. 20)
Drew: I'm a big fan of Lute Olson's match up zones and this team can score-all five starters in double figures-but his bench is weak. UCLA is deeper, but they're young and all this early success may have their heads inflated for this Walton Family Rivalry game. This one should be close, in which case the senior leadership on 'Zona will come into play, while overtime would benefit the deeper Bruins. I like UCLA now, but Arizona in March if that bench steps up.
Prediction: Bruins 63, Wildcats 59
Jordan: So far I'd have to say it's the Pac-10 that gets my nod as the best conference in college hoops this year. Oregon is sick, USC is emerging, and you have Washington, Wazzou, Cal and these top two programs squaring off on Saturday. I've gone out and said this Arizona squad is their best team since they won a title back with Mike Bibby and Miles Simon, and that includes the team with Arenas and Walton that lost to Duke in the finals back in the late 90s.
Prediction: Arizona 78, UCLA 73
Orlando at Cleveland (Monday, Jan. 22)
Drew: In this battle of potential division leaders, the Cavs have two things going for them: 1) the team has played well against quality frontlines, beating the Spurs twice and even taking out Orlando in the Quicken Loans Arena before Christmas, and 2) LeBron. Sure the Man-child hasn't dominated in the manner I expected, but 27, 6 and 6 is nothing to sneeze at. Look for big games again from the stars, as Hedu and Ilgauskas don't have the quickness to keep up with LeBron and Dwight Howard, respectively.
Prediction: Cavaliers 96, Magic 93
Jordan: LaBron's Cavs have the best record in the Eastern Conference and I think it's a joke. This team is flawed and even in the weak sister conference they will get exposed sooner or later. Orlando has handed Washington the Southeast division lead, and frankly it's because they are scoring at a rate of a top college team, 93 points per game, which is second worst in the East. I think the Magic have the better team, however the Cavs have one of the best home records in the NBA. I'll go with that factor.
Prediction: Cleveland 92, Orlando 85
Jordan and Drew will be going Head-to-Head every week. If you have any comments or questions for them, or any topics that you'd like discussed, email us at email@example.com.