Post-Season Football Picks: Hugs!

Suburban Underground's Post-Season Football Coverage: HUGS!

On the football field, there is no one to hold your hand. There is no one to tell you it is all going to be okay. There is no one to reassure you that your bones are not about to be broken, that you're not about to receive your umpteenth concussion, or that a pile of 300-pound men is not about to be sprawled over your lifeless body. But, if you're lucky, there may be someone who will give you something better than all that: a hug.

Here in the playoffs, a hug from a teammate can be the difference between surrender and triumph. The manly celebration of a job well done can give a player the guts he needs to get back out there and give it his all. Some teams recognize this, and regularly administer the full-body bear-hugs that mark the path to victory. Other teams withdraw from such shows of brotherly affection, at their peril. After weeks spent observing NFL hugs in action, we are proud to present Suburban Underground's Post-Season Football Coverage: The Hugs! Edition.

Wild Card Weekend Picks
Carolina (11-5) at NY Giants (11-5)
The Giant's hugs have been as diverse and as prolific as their offense this season, with mid-air hugs, head hugs, and standard-issue squeezes greeting every successful score. The Panthers, who have relied on the butt-pat all season, will be unpleasantly suprised to find that in the playoffs, a butt-pat just doesn't cut it.
SU Pick: NY Giants
Pittsburgh (11-5) at Cincinnati(11-5)
Cincinnati's season has played out a lot like its hugs: almost, but not quite. Masters of the half-hug (inward-facing shoulder squeeze) on the field, the Bengals threw away what would have been a record for franchise victories with disappointing end-of-season defeats to Kansas City and Buffalo. Still, Cincinnati made it to the playoffs, and against the Steelers, who occupy the league's bottom hug spot, even a half-hug could be a game-winner.
SU Pick: Cincinnati
Washington (10-6) at Tampa Bay(11-5)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have something to hug about this weekend: they have revived a flagging season and are entering the playoffs with the league's number one defense. The Bucs have also been consistent huggers, and their jump-and-hug combination will play well against Washington's lackluster displays of affection.
SU Pick: Tampa Bay
Jacksonville(12-4) at New England(10-6)
How the mighty have fallen. After consecutive, embrace-filled Super Bowl wins, the Patriots played a relatively hugless season and lost the opportunity for a bye. They'll face the injury-plagued Jaguars on Saturday in a do-or-die Wild Card Weekend matchup. Though the experts say a team can't "turn it on" for the playoffs, the Patriots' playoff experience will help find their hugs when they need them this weekend.
SU Pick: New England
Hug Ranks for January 6, 2006
1NY Giants8.5
3Tampa Bay7
8New England5
Scores range from 10, "Hugs All Around," to 1, "No Touching, Please"

Most Huggable Player
Come back soon to find out who we picked as this week's most huggable!

Hug of the Game
Come back soon to see this week's Hug of the Game!
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