Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Sports Illustrated Prediction

Once again, here's what SI said in the preseason.
But down in Miami, Belichick Two, Nick Saban, who once coordinated Bill's defenses in Cleveland, is building a solid machine. I'm not going to play the IF game, because when you get into that you make all predictions meaningless, but let's just say that a certain 260-pound QB has to stay healthy. I say he will. I say the Dolphins close out the season with wins over the Jets at home and then a roadie over the Colts, who have clinched early, as they always do. And Miami, at 11-5, gets the division title via formula.

The big upset in the divisionals will be Miami over the Steelers in Pittsburgh. The Steelers will rush Daunte Culpepper hard, he'll beat the rush with his legs, sprinting away from it, buying time, finding his receivers. Zach Thomas will intercept Ben Roethlisberger to end Pittsburgh's hopes.

Dolphins upset Colts in AFC Championship in Indy. I might be reaching here. Last year severe inside blitz pressure undid Indy in the postseason. The Colts will be expecting more of the same. They'll be double-crossed. Miami will drop back and play coverages and force Peyton to throw underneath. Meanwhile, their huge O-line will wear down the smaller Indy defenders. The game will not be high-scoring.

You want more? Well, for the first time in history, a team will be playing a Super Bowl game on its home field. Will this push the Dolphins over the top? It will not. Pressure during the week will be intense. Saban, of the Belichick School of "I Hate Distractions," will be visibly disturbed. Pigeons and pelicans will be barred from Dolphins practices. Cooler heads will prevail, in this case the Panthers, who will win 24-20, because that's the score I read in the magazine.

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