RANDOM, SEMI-COHERENT, WEE-HOURS NOTES ABOUT SATURDAY'S NFL GAMES . . .
Nothing tells me it's playoff season like a Ty Law interception of a Peyton Manning pass. Or two. Man, I do wish sly ol' No. 24 was still a Patriot . . . I give Manning credit for saying afterward that he told Law he'd gladly introduce him at his Hall of Fame speech (and make no mistake, Law belongs in Canton), but Archie's Doofus Spawn has never had a hard time being a gracious winner. It's when he loses that he's all too eager to help identify the other culprits . . . He could kick for them for the next decade, and I will never get used to seeing Adam Vinatieri in a Colts uniform . . . Jets fans had to be snickering at Herm Edwards's completely inept coaching job in the Chiefs' shameful 23-8 loss to Indy. Must have looked pretty familiar, right down to the botched clock management at the end of the first half. Going from Herm to Eric Mangini is like going from Rosie O'Donnell to, well, just about any other female mammal on earth. The upgrade is off the charts . . . When it was clear Indy had made the necessary tactical adjustments to at least contain the Chiefs' running game - as Pats fans learned earlier this season, Bob Sanders is a run-stopping defense all by himself - Edwards's Plan B was to stare blankly and scratch his head . . . What should he have done? For starters, he should have benched Trent Green for Damon Huard once it was apparent that Green couldn't find an open receiver with a GPS system . . . Huard is one of the best backups in football, he has the reputation as always being prepared, he was terrific when Green was injured early in the season, and besides, he could not have been worse . . . Of course, it wasn't all Green's fault: How many catches did Eddie Kennison and the Chiefs' receivers collect: Try zero-zip-nada. Maybe Reche Caldwell and his merry band of misfits isn't the worst receiving crew in the playoffs after all . . . As for that other game today: Holy *#$ . . . Tony Romo, meet Leon Lett. Leon Lett, say hello to Tony Romo . . . You have to feel bad for the kid, his fairy tale season ending with his pumpkin smashed to bits, though I think it became apparent a few weeks ago that he's much more similar to Jake Plummer than he is to Tom Brady or Peyton Manning . . . For what it's worth, Terry Glenn barely budged as Romo's hail mary fell five feet in front of him. Friggin' she. Phelan would've had it . . . Boy, Bill Parcells looks like a tired old man. I think he'll come back - coaches coach, he might say - but I can't imagine he's looking forward to another year of T.O. and Jerry Jones . . . Was it wrong of me to root for some Seahawk to roll up Romo's leg, just so we could find out once and for all if Drew Bledsoe does indeed still attend the games? Until I see definitive proof that he was on the sideline today, I'm convinced he watched this one from the barcalounger at his Montana compound . . . Guess Martin Gramatica isn't as tough as he looks, huh? . . . Somewhere, a certain drunken idiot kicker was 18 Bud Lights into a case and muttering to himself, "Dude, I'd have made that block." . . . I feel bad for a good buddy of mine who's a loyal (if demented) Cowboys fan, but I couldn't bring myself to root for them today for one reason: Terrell Owens is the most despicable athlete of my lifetime, at least among those who haven't committed felonies. He can't go away fast enough . . . No knock on Logan Mankins, but I still wish the Patriots had taken Lofa Tatupu in Rd. 1 a year ago . . . I think I understand why Bill Belichick put so much stock in Ken Walter's holding abilities now . . . And in a completely unrelated note, I do hate it when Pam cries.
. . . AND A FEW SCATTERED THOUGHTS ABOUT WHAT WE'RE EXPECTING/WORRIED ABOUT/LOOKING FORWARD TO COME 1 P.M. TODAY . . .
Upon first consideration of this Patriots-Jets matchup, I was extremely confident that it would be a blowout, perhaps something of the 41-10 variety. But the more I think about it, the more I wonder if the Jets have a vibe similar to the 2001 Pats, and the more concerned I've become . . . and I think that's a good thing. As you likely know if you visit here with any regularity, my crystal ball has been on the fritz regarding Patriots predictions this season. (For a flashback to its more effective days, click here.) Most of the time, I've been made to look a fool (or if you prefer a harsher term, a Salisbury) when I've fretted that the Patriots might find themselves in a nailbiter with an inferior opponent (see: Packers, Texans) only to have New England cruise to a lopsided victory. To be honest, I'm cool with playing the town boob so long as it means the Patriots live to play another week. So here's hoping the trend continues, and my nagging concerns are revealed, again, to be more proof that I should never, ever bet on football . . . Given the damage that Pacman Jones did to the Patriots' coverage teams last week, we should be sufficiently concerned about the impact Justin Miller could have on today's game. Miller averaged 28.3 yards per return this season, and the Patriots simply cannot allow him to approach that gaudy number . . . I know his rookie season was remarkably similar to his legendary predecessor's, but I still get Wilfork-sized butterflies in my stomach whenever Stephen Gostkowski has to attempt a meaningful kick - and frankly, he really hasn't been tested by too many crucial situations. In retrospect, I wish he'd gotten a game-winning attempt or two out of the way during the regular season . . . The Jets blitzed the Patriots 28 times during their 17-14 victory the last time the teams' met, with impressive young safety Kerry Rhodes involved it what seemed like 27 of them. If they do it again today, I have a feeling Tom Brady will have an answer for it, and that answer likely will include throwing the ball toward the receiver who is matched up with Hank Poteat . . . Chad Pennington has my respect. How he so methodically lofts those helium balloons over a defender and into his receiver's arms is one of the great mysteries of the NFL. Talk about a touch passer - there's no margin for error with him. If he's off just a little bit, those pinpoint passes turn into interceptions. He's the Jamie Moyer of the NFL . . . Who the hell is Matt Chatham to be talking trash? The best thing he ever did as a Patriot was knock the stuffing out of that streaker during the second Super Bowl win . . . Wouldn't it be nice if certain storyline-driven media folks spent less time wondering in print whether Bill Belichick would say Mangini's name and more time trying to find out just what happened that made Belichick so vengeful toward his former protege in the first place? Peter King tonight mentioned a couple of rumors that we've been hearing for a while - namely, that Mangini tampered with Patriots' free agents, Chatham included, before officially departing for the Jets, and that he also told Deion Branch they'd rip up the final year of his contract should he become a Jet, a promise that may have helped encourage Branch to stand his ground in his holdout. If any of this is true, isn't Belichick justified in his anger at the blatant betrayal? I guess it's just easier to paint him as the bad guy, the petty one, than to find out once and for all what really happened . . . I was hoping to live blog the game, but I got called to duty at work, where I'll be attempting the tricky feat of putting together a SportsLog with one eye on the television. Sounds painful, doesn't it? I'm hoping to get a chance to pop into the comments section once or twice, though, so be sure to stop in during the game. Here's hoping we get to do this again next week.