Welcome to another installment of RCS Tackles, where us experts discuss a particular "hot topic" in sports, and whatever else happens to come up. Think of it as "Around the Horn," but hopefully not as painful. In Part II here, we take a look at the match-ups this weekend and look to see if the Chargers have a chance against the Patriots (click here if you missed Part I).
Robbie: Looks like everyone wants to see Brady vs. Favre. Do the Chargers have any chance of beating the Pats?
Jeff: Everyone has a chance.
Ryan: But the Chargers have the smallest chance of any team to win this weekend by a lot.
David: I'm Ryan. I'm a Patriots fan. Patriots are the greatest. blah blah.
Ryan: But, they ARE the greatest!
Jeff: I don't know, the Redskins are pretty great too.
Robbie: You talk about the Patriots as if they’re undefeated, have the NFL MVP, coach of the year, and set all sorts of records…oh right.
David: Well, some of the teams that have done the best against the Pats have done it with backup SLASH inept quarterbacks (read Kyle “I can throw from one knee” Boller and AJ “Career Back-Up” Feeley”). So I say go get em Billy “I’ve thrown 14 passes this season and now I’m their savior” Volek
Jeff: Undefeated in the playoffs!
David: All I'm saying is Volek had a 75% completion rate...that's damn impressive
Ryan: OK, sure. But the Chargers are traveling all the way across the country (the stats against the team making that trip alone are huge), and their three best offensive players are hurt.
Jeff: My biggest concern, if I was a Chargers fan (other than the fact that my QB is a d**che), is all the talk coming from San Diego. Here’s what Igor Olshansky had to say:
Robbie: Do you think that REALLY has any impact? It's the playoffs, you don't think the Chargers are going to be amped? They have motivation of their own from last season.
Jeff: I guess not. That only really seems to matter for Steve Smith.
Ryan: Yeah...I don't think the Patriots have forgotten that either.
David: The Chargers need Nate Kaeding to remember to kick the ball in between the yellow poles. And not have a surprisingly fat face. Tell Gamblor the Chargers will cover.
Jeff: Gamblor, a Redskin fan himself, is scared of a team coached by Norv Turner.
Ryan: I don’t think the game will be close. Dave, you surprise me the most on this. Just a few weeks ago you were complaining about how you wanted people to stop saying that teams can beat the Patriots. Now you're talking up a team going to New England in the playoffs with a back-up QB and banged-up starting RB AND TE?
David: They weren't saying the Jags 'can' beat the Pats. They were saying the Jags 'WILL' beat the Patriots. Big difference. Now, you’re saying the Chargers "CANNOT" beat the Patriots. Which is wrong. A week ago, the specifics were different, but the argument the same: Everyone was saying they could not beat Indianapolis and look what happened.
Ryan: But the Colts are not the Patriots.
David: Agreed. If it were the Pats, they would have scored two touchdowns with two minutes left in the 4th quarter. No doubt about that. The point is, somehow, despite LT not playing most of the game and despite a Billy Volek cameo, the Chargers won on the road in the playoffs... that makes them worthy of at least covering two touchdowns this week.
Ryan: Sure, the Colts lost to the Chargers. But that doesn't mean THAT much, because the Patriots are still better than the Colts.
Jeff: But how much better?
Ryan: Enough to go to Indy and beat them.
Robbie: But, they were without Harrison and Tony Ugoh, and they lost Anthony Gonzalez in the first half.
Jeff: Well, none of that really matters now. I say Pats win by around 13 points.
Ryan: That's about what I'm thinking, too.
David: Brady will need to have a better game than he did last week.
Ryan: He DID miss two passes…and one of them was dropped.
David: The passes were quite Mark Brunell-esque.
Jeff: Brunell did have 22 straight completions last year against the Texans.
Robbie: So, we’re all in agreement - Tom Brady is as good as Mark Brunell?
David: Favre would have done it better.
Ryan: Probably all underhanded.
David: And with a smile on his face.
Jeff: Favre would have "had more fun" doing it. He would’ve thrown three picks “just for fun” too.
Robbie: Alright, well it looks like it will be the Patriots from the AFC, but will the Packers emerge from the NFC?
Jeff: They’re favored by seven.
Ryan: Really?? Does it matter that the Giants have won nine in a row on the road?
David: It matters that its going to be zero degrees.
Ryan: True, but, at this point, the Giants HAVE to think they can win anywhere, right?
Jeff: The Giants are good on the road, but Lambeau in January isn’t an ordinary road game.
Robbie: Does anyone buy that Eli Manning has turned the corner to become an elite QB?
Jeff: No, he is a game manager now. He just throws 18 passes a game now.
Robbie: But he looks like Brett Favre…at age 15!
David: Man, even in pictures he looks like he's having fun out there.
Ryan: But that's exactly what the Giants need - someone who won't make mistakes and just hands it off to their 18 different running backs.
Robbie: One of whom is NOT Ryan Grant. The Packers had no trouble running the ball last week and will probably look to do that again this week.
David: I've just about despised Ryan Grant since he popped up. He and Earnest Graham are the worst thing that happened in fantasy football this year. Some crappy team picks up Ryan Grant and all of sudden they start winning weeks and taking out the guys who drafted well. So I've been rooting against him for weeks. But now, I’m pretty happy he exists. Ryan Grant makes the Packers legit.
Jeff: I hate to talk about things like destiny. But it seems like Favre is destined to be in the Super Bowl.
Robbie: Thanks every sports columnist ever. I think the biggest battle is the Giants defense against the Packers offensive line. The Packers allowed the third least amount of sacks and the Giants led the league in sacks. Can they get pressure on Favre? They will need to because their secondary was already weak to begin with and now has injury issues.
Jeff: I think the Packers will win because they will be able to pressure Eli. As long as the Packers can score, in bad conditions, which they proved they can do last week, then Eli will be forced to pass more than the Giants would like, and the Packers will be able to get pressure with their front four.
Ryan: As much as Eli has improved, that's still his biggest weakness – pressure. Going back to the Pats-Giants game, as soon as they started getting in Eli's face, the game changed.
Jeff: The Giants just aren’t good enough to beat Favre. Favre will be on a mission and put the team on his shoulders, which used to be a bad thing, but not this season.
Robbie: Will he literally put the team on his shoulders?
(ed. note: The caption for that picture, taken from the NY Daily News, was "Favre is like a kid again this season.")
Robbie: Well, looks like everyone thinks it will be Packers vs. Patriots. But, let’s listen to what Herm Edwards has to say about that: