Before we get to this week's prediction, here's a holiday treat if you're in the mood: My spoof of the "Twas the Night Before Christmas" poem.
Now... a few notes on Sunday's Panthers-Giants game.
-- I generally get depressed on the day after Christmas anyway. This year I went ahead and assured it by scheduling myself to fly into Newark, N.J., on Dec.26. Let’s just say Newark is not quite McAdenville.
-- What a game this was in 2008. Do you remember? Just like now, it came in the 15th game of the season, in New Jersey. The Panthers and the New York Giants were both 11-3 coming in, and the game would be played for homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
DeAngelo Williams scored four touchdowns in that one. If Jimmy Hoffa is really buried in one of the Giants’ end zones, it was amazing DeAngelo didn’t find him that day. Some belligerent Giants fans started heaving snowballs at each other and at the field early when it wasn’t going their way. But then Carolina’s run defense disintegrated, John Kasay couldn’t connect on a 50-yard field goal at the end of regulation that would have won it and the Giants ran over the Panthers in overtime, 34-28.
Now the Giants are 8-6. Carolina is 6-8. New York is just trying to eke out a wild-card spot, while Carolina’s players and coaches are just trying to hold onto their jobs.
-- I underestimated Matt Moore last week against Minnesota. I never expected Moore to throw for 299 yards and outplay Brett Favre, but he did. That was the best NFL game Moore has ever played, but this will be a sterner test – on the road and in the cold, where Moore didn’t fare well two weeks ago against New England.
-- I was sorry to see Jake Delhomme put on injured reserve – what a bitter end to the worst season he’s had as a starter. I do still expect Delhomme to be here in 2010 in some fashion – the Panthers owe him so much money they may as well keep him around and let him compete for the job. Comebacks have been made from a lot worse situations than the one in which Delhomme sits right now.
-- The Panthers continue to be difficult to predict this season. What sort of NFL team loses to Buffalo and the New York Jets and beats Arizona and Minnesota? I think Eli Manning is too hot for the Panthers to stop in this one.
My prediction: New York Giants 24, Carolina 17.
5 weeks ago