Posted: Monday May 29, 2006 7:49AM; Updated: Wednesday May 31, 2006 11:47AM
Tom Brady might lead the Pats to another Super Bowl, but will come up short in Miami.
I like New England, even though so many leader-type vets are gone. There are still five left -- Brady, Tedy Bruschi, Richard Seymour, Mike Vrabel and Rodney Harrison. That should be more than enough to compensate for the loss of Willie McGinest, but I don't like Adam Vinatieri leaving, especially to the team that has the best chance to torment the Patriots in the conference, Indianapolis. But life will go on.
This team will be better on offense, with a real alternative to Corey Dillon in first-round pick Laurence Maroney. And you watch, the fantasy tight end sleeper this year will be third-rounder Dave Thomas from Texas. The kid's a keeper. Great hands, great route-runner. Brady's going to love him, and he'll find him six or seven times in the end. Write it down.
You know what else I like about Dallas and New England? Their schedules. December looks like it'll be kind to both teams. The Cowboys finish with three of four at home (New Orleans, at Atlanta, Philadelphia, Detroit). Look at New England's final eight games: Jets, at Packers, Bears, Lions, at Dolphins, Texans, at Jags, at Titans. There's a chance they'll be favored in all eight.
So it's Dallas-New England ... unless after touring the camps this summer, I feel like picking two other poor, unsuspecting teams.
Oh, you want a score?
Parcells goes out on top. Dallas 23, New England 21, behind six catches (two for touchdowns) by Owens.
After the game, Parcells hugs his owner, retires, hugs his son-in-law and takes the first plane to Saratoga the next day. He'll go out a winner.
Quote of the Week I
"It gives me a reason to get up every morning, not just turn to the bottle or smoke weed all day, just throw away my life.'' --Toronto Argonauts wide receiver R. Jay Soward, the former top pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who flunked out of the NFL due to substance abuse, to The New York Times.
Soward has five children. He admits he's an alcoholic. He makes $50,000 a year for the Argos.
Quote of the Week II
"I was so bored that I watched the whole combine on TV. At one point, [former coach Jim] Mora was talking about my injury and said something like, 'He definitely won't be back for the first game, and when he comes back he won't be playing as well as he did before, and the team will suffer.' That pissed me off. Who is this guy? Isn't this the guy who said, 'Playoffs? Playoffs?' He doesn't know me, and he doesn't know how hard I'm going to work. I've used that as fuel -- I keep thinking of all the naysayers who don't believe I'll make it back. I'll prove them wrong.'' --Rehabbing Cincinnati QB Carson Palmer to SI's Mike Silver in last week's cover story. Palmer is determined to return from three damaged knee ligaments suffered in January in time for the Bengals' Sept. 10 opener.
Stat of the Week
Rob Johnson, signed by the Giants to compete for a backup job to Eli Manning on Friday, will have to shake off the rust to have a prayer to win a job in New York. He's missed the last two NFL seasons with arm surgery. He is 33. He has not thrown an NFL touchdown pass since he was 29 -- not since a Dec. 23, 2003, home game for Tampa Bay against Pittsburgh.
Factoid That May Interest Only Me
The Superdome roof covers 9.5 acres. Think of the reconstruction work that has to be done, in six months, to make that roof right. Said Doug Thornton, regional vice president for the company managing the refurbishment of the Dome in time for the Sept. 25 re-opening Saints-Falcons Monday-nighter: "You're talking about a polyurethane roof, better than the other one, in 180 working days. A job involving 500,000 gallons of polyurethane foam in that time frame has never, ever been done.''
Imagine the alchemy of transforming the Superdome from a dump to a nice stadium. Seems impossible, but I'm rooting for it.