Before we unveil this weekend's playoff picks, there is some sad news to report. It appears that the horrific devastation and loss of life in South Asia have forced the cancellation of the February re-make of the 1985 anthem We Are The World. NBC reports that Quincy Jones, the producer of the original hit, which supported the USA for Africa relief efforts by selling millions of records, felt that the timing of this project (to be named We Are The Future) in the wake of the tsunami catastrophe was inappopriate.
We here at the Redskins Review couldn't agree more, and applaud Q's sensitivity. However, the comedic value of a 21st century We Are The World is simply too great to ignore. There are more than enough modern crackpots to fill the slots once occupied by such great artists as Steve Perry, Tito Jackson and Bette Midler. Thus, the Review is proud lend a hand and present the updated rosters for We Are The World 2005.
Dan Aykroyd...Vince McMahon
Harry Belafonte...Tiger Woods
Lindsey Buckingham...Lindsey Lohan
Kim Carnes...Britney Spears
Ray Charles...Jamie Foxx
Bob Geldof...that guy who says "Seacrest out!"
Hall and Oates...Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard
James Ingram...Ray Lewis
LaToya Jackson...Sharon Osbourne
Marlon Jackson...Jack Osbourne
Michael Jackson...Ozzy Osbourne
Randy Jackson...Kelly Osbourne
Tito Jackson...Lenny Kravitz
Waylon Jennings...Jon Stewart
Billy Joel...Marilyn Manson
Cyndi Lauper...Christina Aguilera
Huey Lewis and the News...Green Day
Kenny Loggins...Kenny Loggins (he could use the work)
Bette Midler...Gwen Stefani
Willie Nelson...Regis Philbin
Jeffrey Osborne...Dave Chappelle
Steve Perry...William Hung
The Pointer Sisters...Destiny's Child
Lionel Richie...Marc Antony
Smokey Robinson...50 Cent
Paul Simon...Michael Moore
Bruce Springsteen...John Tesh
Tina Turner...Jennifer Lopez
Dionne Warwick...Queen Latifah
Stevie Wonder...R. Kelly
If Quincy's got any sense, he'll record a Making Of video and put it on pay-per-view. I'd pay $39.95 to see Tiger and Marilyn Manson working on their harmonies.
Let's get to some football. Here are my picks for this weekend's games:
New York Jets at Pittsburgh
Word on the Net is that Jets quarterback Chad Pennington arrived at practice this week looking like death warmed over due to some mysterious illness. The team actually refused to let him practice because of his condition. Coach Herm Edwards says that Pennington definitely will start this weekend. Anybody else think that Chad can pull a Jordan and play through flu-like symptoms? Me neither. Meanwhile, backup Quincy Carter had to step away from the team to attend to family matters. So that leaves one man to go under center, second-year wonder Brooks Bollinger. Yes, that Brooks Bollinger. The one who's thrown nine regular season passes. Good news, Jets fans: he completed five of them.
Pittsburgh walks into this game with Roethlisberger, Staley, Burress, Bettis, Ward, and Randle-El rested, healthy, and playing at home. The Steelers' defense should be able to clamp down on the run, should pick off two interceptions, and handle the Jets easily. Pittsburgh wins, 20-10.
Indianapolis at New England
My friend (and Cowchip rooter) Dr. Lim asked me about this game earlier today, and here's what immediately came to mind: "....But for the record, the Colts can beat the Patriots this weekend, particularly because the Pats don't have their two starting safeties and they have a wide receiver covering slot receivers. Imagine Deion Branch trying to cover Brandon Stokely. I laugh.
The key for the Colts is their defense. They need pressure on Brady by defensive end Dwight Freeney, but more importantly they have to stop Dillon and the run game. Everyone knows that Manning can't score if he's not on the field. So if Dillon can control the clock, the Pats win. If the defense forces some relatively quick 3-outs, the Colts win. Can the Colt defense do that? I don't think so, but it'll be fun to watch them try."
Let's not forget that the Colts defense was fortunate against Denver when a first down was negated on replay and Denver opted not to attempt a 4th and one near midfield. Indy promptly scored after both events, and the rout was on. In the second half, Denver put up three touchdowns with minimal effort. But for the enormous power of the ManningBoys, this game could've been close. Kind of.
The Colts' defense will lose this game for them. Colts 24, Patriots 30.
Minnesota at Philadelphia
Mike's Vikes sure sound confident coming into Ego territory. And perhaps they should: they marched into Lambeau Field (which now has the same amount of "magic" as Lothian, Maryland) and humbled the LemonPants. The Vikings' main concern is Randy Moss' sprained ankle, which apparently didn't hobble him enough to burn Green Bay defensive back Al Harris for the clinching touchdown. No worries about Randy.
The Philly Egos come into this game a wee nervous about their sudden impotence. Terrell Owens may be a lot of bad things, but he was a veritable godsend for this organization. Without him, Chunky Soul pitchman McNabb will likely be scramblin' around or handing off to tailback Brian Westbrook. That isn't the prescription for a win, even if you've had more than 30 days to revise your offense around passing to Todd Pinkston.
I hope the Liberty Bell is flame retardant, because the City of Brotherly Love is gonna burn Sunday evening. Vikings win, 21-20.
St. Louis at Atlanta
Folks have mentioned that St. Louis got the very best assignment for a second playoff game--inside the high-speed astroturf of the Georgia Dome. I concur, but it won't be enough to win. I don't know how, I don't know when, but Mike Vick is going to win this game for Atlanta. Remember in The Matrix Reloaded when Trinity was falling to certain doom, having been shot by an Agent? Remember how Neo was suddenly able to fly at Warp Factor Five to catch her at the last possible second? Remember how that felt? That's what Vick's gonna do for viewers of this game: save the world and blow your mind when he does it...
Holt and Bulger will hook up for two touchdowns and 154 yards; the Falcons need 60 yards to get into field goal range, possessing one time out but facing 20 seconds until the final gun. Atlanta will line up in four-wide set and send everyone on staggered post routes. Someone on the Rams will forget who's quarterbacking the Falcons and will drop back into coverage. Vick will dip, dive, disappear, and break free for a 40 yard run, with only 8 seconds remaining. With one play remaining, Atlanta opts to pray for a miracle. They go five-wide, and the Rams prepare for a Hail Mary, but someone will forget that Vick can still throw deep while on the run. At the snap, Vick faints a quarterback scramble, drawing absent-minded defenders forward. Superman launches a laser strike that would make Peyton happy to Alge Crumpler, who slipped to the rear corner. Happiness ensues.
Think I'm wrong? Falcons win, 28-24.