RUSH: Here's Joe in Rockland County, New York. You're on Open Line Friday. Hello, sir.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. How you doing? It's great to talk to you.
RUSH: Thank you very much.
CALLER: I can finally brag to my wife that I spoke to you on the air.
RUSH: (chuckles) Good.
CALLER: I hate to switch gears on you. I know that's such a somber subject you're talking about, but I was just calling to get your expertise on the playoffs for the weekend. I'm a huge Giants fan. If you cut me, I'll bleed blue. Giant fan. But I'm pretty depressed about what happened with them.
RUSH: Yeah, yeah, I can imagine.
CALLER: Yeah. So, um... But I'll follow the Jets. I'm not a Jets hater. I'm kinda rooting for them, but I'm also rooting for the Saints because I love Drew Brees. He's a good, conservative, Catholic guy.
CALLER: I'm hoping the best for that team, too. (garbled)
RUSH: You're for the Saints because you're a good conservative Catholic guy? (laughing)
CALLER: No. Well, he is. Drew Brees is. But I am as well.
RUSH: Oh, Drew Brees is. Okay. So what do you want to know? You want to know who I think's gonna win?
CALLER: Yeah. I mean, give me your idea of what you think's gonna happen, at least for the weekend, and who you pick for the Super Bowl.
RUSH: I'll tell you what. I've got 25 seconds before the break. Can you hang on through the break? Then we'll talk about that when we come back.
RUSH: And, by the way, this is what Open Line Friday is all about. There is no taking me off topic. Don't ever feel guilty about that for any of you out there. There is no "topic." We don't do "topics" here anyway. We do events. So whatever you want to talk about on Friday is what we talk about. You want to do NFL games and picks? Bring it on. I'm happier than shaved ice to do that.
RUSH: We're back to Joe in Rockland County, New York. And you --
RUSH: I'm sorry, what were you saying?
CALLER: I just said hi.
RUSH: Oh, okay. Now, we want to go through the weekend's Wild Card games. We'll do Eastern Time. At 1:30 Eastern Time, we've got your Saints. Well, since the Giants aren't in it.
RUSH: We got the Saints at the Seattle Seahawks.
RUSH: Now, ladies and gentlemen, you know, we own Seattle here.
RUSH: We're huge in Seattle, and there are a lot of people who, in a desire to (sigh) create some interest in the game, are saying, "Don't write off the Seahawks so fast. The Saints aren't the team they were last year, and the Seahawks are playing at home, and the Saints are a dome team, and it's cold." I would throw all of that out.
CALLER: Yeah, I agree.
RUSH: Even if you're going to play the points. What is it, 10-1/2 the last time I looked?
CALLER: Yeah, 10-1/2.
RUSH: The Saints aren't the team that they were last year. But the Seahawks, if you look at home, were creamed by teams in the Saints league by 22, 18, 32 points. I mean... (sigh) If there is a lock this weekend, it's the Saints over the Seahawks.
CALLER: I'd have to agree. I don't think the Seahawks (garbled). It's odd that they're even in it to begin with being that they're 7-9.
RUSH: (sighs) Well...
CALLER: That's a whole 'nother story.
RUSH: Oh, the fact that they're in it because they're 7-9?
CALLER: Yeah, that's a whole other controversy.
RUSH: I know. Look, you can't blame people for trying to drum up interest in the game.
RUSH: You know, the Saints, they're down to Reggie Bush in the running game. But this one... If the Seahawks win this game, then the Saints are gonna have something happen. They're gonna lay down, something's gonna have to go terribly wrong on that side. Now, the Jets and Peyton Manning --
CALLER: Should be an interesting one.
RUSH: -- because that's about what this game adds up to: The Jets and Peyton Manning on Saturday night. We own Indianapolis and we own New York.
RUSH: So if I start making these picks legitimately, I stand to make some enemies here. Rex Ryan has never beaten Peyton Manning.
RUSH: He beat the Colts once but not when Peyton Manning was playing, not as a defensive coordinator for the Ravens nor is the head coach for the Jets. Peyton Manning is starting to get comfortable with his replacement tight end. You know, Dallas Clark was his go-to man, gets injured reserve earlier in the year; and the replacement, Peyton's just now getting comfortable with the guy. The Jets defense is not what it was. They are vulnerable up the middle. Rex Ryan --
CALLER: You saw that against the Patriots.
CALLER: We saw that against the Patriots.
RUSH: Yeah, but throw that game out. That's a 45-3 game. That's not gonna be, I think, reflective of this game Saturday night.
RUSH: But everybody thinks that the way you get to Peyton Manning is the same thing they think about Brady: You gotta make him nervous, you gotta blitz, and you gotta go up the middle to get him.
RUSH: Coming off the edges doesn't matter. It's been tried both ways. The Steelers, interestingly, have a great defensive game plan against the Colts. The Steelers had no problem with the Colts in playoffs, and they do rattle Manning, but the Jets don't seem to be able to do it. And if you look at the rosters, 45 guys on a team, players number 3 through 45 equal on both sides, what's the difference?
CALLER: Right, right.
RUSH: Quarterback: Sanchez and Manning. You have to go the Colts at home in this game.
CALLER: I would think so. I would agree there, too.
RUSH: What's your...?
CALLER: I mean, I would like to see the Jets do it, but --
RUSH: Yeah, but what's your hunch, though?
CALLER: -- I don't know if they'll be able to get past the Colts.
RUSH: What's your hunch? Jets?
CALLER: I'm hoping for the Jets. I don't think they're gonna do it, though. That's my hunch.
RUSH: All right. Let's go Sunday. These are two good games we got: The Ravens at the Chiefs and the Packers at the Iggles. I tell you, I see the Chiefs upsetting the Ravens.
RUSH: I'm a lone wolf on this, I know, but just playing hunches here (I'm just talking straight up, not points) I see the Chiefs... Everybody is saying about the Chiefs largely what they say about the Seahawks, "They had the easiest schedule in the league. Against winning teams, they didn't beat anybody," but if they run the right offense... You look at the Ravens offense in the second half, particularly fourth quarter. Everybody talks about their offense being impotent and all over the place and a matter of discontent on the team itself.
RUSH: I mean, defensive players starting to mutter loud enough, offensive players can hear it.
RUSH: But I think the Ravens defense runs outta gas in the second half. It depends if the Chiefs can get the running game going and keep it. It's gonna be tough, but that's the upset I see. Packers, I think, over the Eagles.
CALLER: Yeah, I agree.
CALLER: That's gonna be the best game of the weekend, I think. That's the one I'm looking forward to watching.
CALLER: Yeah, that should be a good game.
RUSH: Yeah. The Packers, folks, are an amazing team. I wish I had the list of all the players on injured reserve. They have an All-Star Team on injured reserve. The fact that they are in the playoffs... I mean, they skated in; they're number six seed; but the fact that they're in at all, given the injury situation they had (and they had [Aaron] Rodgers down for a couple weeks, one week because of a concussion), wow! Remember this team was predicted by many to be in the Super Bowl before the season started, and that was a legitimate pick. Here's the reason I think this. The Minnesota Vikings showed the NFL how to totally disrupt Michael Vick in that Tuesday night game -- and, by the way, that's justice.
The Eagles didn't want that snow game played because they thought it would negate Vick. Put snow out there and it takes his speed and every other advantage that he brings to the game away from 'em. So they get the game moved -- and still, Leslie Frazier, the coach of the Vikings, comes up with a way to totally discombobulate Vick. Basically they were corner blitzes that other teams have not tried. Most people keep enough players back because Vick is so explosive that if you get too many people blowing blitzes there's not enough people downfield to cover him, get him in a chase. So they just sent one guy more than what was covered, and they switched the side, and the Eagles offense was unable to pick the guy up.
Every time they blitzed (it was [Antoine ] Winfield for the most part), they came in untouched. The whole league saw this. You know, the copycat in the NFL is a standard operating procedure. Most teams sit around and they say, "Okay, Vick!" They play the prevent defense with Vick every week. "Hold back! Hold back! Hold back! He's gonna escape. We gotta have somebody in the deep secondary to run the guy out of bounds or get him; or if he stops and throws a pass, we gotta have enough in coverage." The Vikings said, "The hell with it. We'll go man-on-man in the secondary. We'll send one of the cornerbacks or safeties on a blitz." He ended up uncovered and Vick didn't know what to do.
Vick reverted to the way he played in Atlanta. In fact, there'd been talk this week about Vick being benched in this game if he didn't start picking up blitzes better. It's not all sweetness and light. That loss to the Vikings, that took them from a bye week (a number two seed) to having to play on Sunday. The Packers opened against the Eagles, and there was just a rash of injuries. That game was like a war in terms of the number of players on both sides that went on injured reserve that day. Remember that, Brian? (interruption) Brian, he was watching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He doesn't remember. I watch every game. That's why I know. So my upset? Maybe with the points, Green Bay is an upset. I think Green Bay wins and my upset is Kansas City.
RUSH: Let me add something else interesting to the mix here on the four Wild Card playoff games. If we were to go Environmentalist Wacko Method this week, every bird team would lose, and lose bad. What's happening out there? Birds are falling out of the sky. Scientists are trying to figure out why. But if you go the environmentalist wacko route, the Seahawks (birds) lose. Ravens (birds) lose. Eagles (birds) lose. The only game that doesn't feature a bird team is the Jets and the Colts -- and the Jets, nevertheless, are in the air -- and some birds die because they get sucked in by the jets, but the Jets aren't playing a bird team. So the environmentalist wacko method for the Jets and Colts, again, you'd have to go Colts on that because Colts are horses -- wild, American history, cavalry, cowboys, Indians, so forth. Jets, they're just expensive. They pollute, foul mouth, lousy service, all the things you gotta go through to get on one these days at the TSA. You gotta strip search. You'd have to say the Colts. The environmental wacko method would have the Colts, the Saints, the "Cheaps," and the Packers going the environmental wacko method.
RUSH: Well, I just got an e-mail from the Hutch, Ken Hutcherson in Seattle. The Reverend Dr. Ken Hutcherson is doing chapel for the Saints tonight pre-game before the game.
He says, "Anything you want to pass on?" (laughs)
I said, "Tell 'em to enjoy it 'cause they're gonna see the Steelers again before it's all over."
"Seriously," he said, "your picks are all wrong. Well, you got half of them right. The Ravens are not gonna lose and the Eagles are not gonna lose. So your picks, other than that, are 50% right."
We'll see. Wild Card weekend is tomorrow and the NFL starts at 4:30 in the afternoon.