Before I begin my first picks column in a long, long time (OK, OK I know-the last one was Thanksgiving Football Picks) let me just say how, as a staunch hater of all things Michigan, I was ecstatic when my buddy Anthony DeFranco of Fourth Down and 3rdstringsaftey.blogspot.com told me today that Ryan Mallet has left the Michigan Wolverines. Fist off, I don't know how I missed this but that's besides the point. Now there are conflicting reports about this. I've heard that Mallet was undecided about transferring when Rodriquez made his decision a lot easier by kicking him off the team. Mallet, as well as star receiver Mario Manningham, apparently missed a team meeting. A no no in Rodriguez land. I've also heard that missing the meeting was mearly a formality. Mallet was gone as soon as Rodriguez arrived because he simply does not fit the spread offense system that will be run by the new coach. No matter who you believe (and I tend to believe that second story), Mallet is gone. Now, you may be saying "Jordan, whats the big deal? Freshman transfer all the time." While this may be true, here's the difference: Ryan Mallet is one of the better freshman quarterbacks I have seen in a long time. Mallet has a real chance to be a special player. I think letting a player like that walk is a huge mistake, no matter what system you run. This is the kind of mistake that Rich Rodriquez and the rest of the Michigan brass will come to regret in the next three years.......over and over again. It looks like Mallet will go to the Tennessee Vols or the Arkansas Razorbacks. This is fitting being that the SEC seems to be the new arch enemy of all things Big 10. Ironically, the exception to that rule came when Michigan played a perfect game to edge Florida. Mallet didn't play in the game but it still strikes me as funny.
Oh, and Chad Henne is a senior....and again, I am left smiling. For more on this go to rivals.com
On to the picks for this week in the NFL:
Giants/Cowboys- I am a firm believer in the idea that it is tremendously difficult to beat a team three times in the same season. That being said, I was letting my "I hate the Giants" blinders get in the way earlier in the week when I didn't give Big Blue any sort of a chance. Upon reflection, my opinion is a bit different. For one thing, I think the Cowboys may be in a little bit of disarray. Rumors are swirling all over the place that Wade Philips is going to be fired and Jason Garret promoted for the pure reason that Jerry Jones is petrified of loosing Garret. And for good reason too. Garret is one of the brightest young assistants in the entire NFL and is more responsible for the Cowboys success then Phillips is. Tony Romo may be pressing to prove that his Mexican weekend with Jessica Simpson hasn't affected him in any way. It's been such a story that I can't see how it's not in the back of his mind. If the Cowboys loose and Romo does not play outstanding in the loosing effort, all he will hear about all off season is how Jessica Simpson lost the Cowboys the Super Bowl. He claims he doesn't care about whats being said, but how could he not? (For the record, you will never hear me criticize someone for dating Jessica Simpson. Never) The Cowboys are banged up, but they've been banged up since the first week of the season and it hasn't seemed to phase them in any way. That being said the potential loss of Terrell Owens would be too huge of a loss to overlook. Rarely in the NFL does the impact of one player mean the difference between a win and a loss. I think T.O is one of those players. It's as simple as this: T.O plays=Cowboys win. T.O sits=Giants win. All indications are that he will play. Because of this and the fact that I have to stick with my preseason Super Bowl pick I'm going with Dallas in a tight one....35-32.
One note on how the Giants can win: pressure Tony Romo. If there is one thing we know about Tony its that the way to neutralize to him is to knock him down. If they can ever find a way to consistently pressure Romo, I think they can win. That being said: I'm sticking with my pick.
Seahawks/ Packers: The Seahawks had a lot of trouble with a Redskin team that had Todd Collins throwing its passes. Seattle was down 14-13 late in the ball game. There defense showed me a lot down the stretch of that game but not enough to make me believe that they can stay with a very good Packer team. I think that Farve is going to have people thinking it's 1996 all over again. Maybe it's just me, but I can't see how the Packers have any trouble with the Seahawks. Interesting side note: The last time the Seahawks were in Lambeau for a playoff game? The famous Matt Hassleback "We're going to take the ball and we're going to score" game. Al Haris has something to say about that, Matt. The Lambeau Mystique is back! Pack win........35-14.
Jaguars/Patriots- The Jags really are a great story. They let go of their franchise quarterback in favor of a backup who they feel gives them the best chance to win. The best part of that story for Jack Del Rio and the rest of the Jags coaching staff? They were right. Garrard has been fantastic. I was super impressed with the way they slammed the door on the Steelers last week after dangling the proverbial caret in front of them in the second half. I will even go as far as saying that Jacksonville is the best non-Patriot team in the AFC. If things had broken differently in that San Diego/Tennessee game on Sunday, I was all ready to pick the Jags to beat the Colts. But do you really think that the Patriots are going to go 16-0 and not win a game in the playoffs? Really?..........(silence)........Yeah,thats what I thought. Pats win 35-24.
Colts/Chargers- Well the Colts got lucky. I think they were dead as a doornail if they had to play Jacksonville again. Instead, they get the Chargers. The Chargers are a team that I think is a bit overrated. We saw last week that if you stop LaDainian Tomlinson, you stop the Charger offense. I think the Colts will do that. Also, how many times have we seen Peyton Manning eat up a good defense in the playoffs? A lot, that how many. Colts win this one 41-21.
I was 4-0 last week on Fourth Down on WCWP. Lets see what happens in round two. Enjoy.
-Jordan Lauterbach: The Edge (Monday 9-11pm) and Fourth Down (Friday 9-10pm) only on mywcwp.com and 88.1FM WCWP from 10-11 on Monday