It would seem our own Brian Carriveau has gotten caught up in the “Giants have momentum” meme that always happens when teams “get hot” toward the end of a season (yes, much like the Packers did last year.)
I’m sorry to have to break it to Brian, and anyone who thinks in a similar fashion, but the idea that teams can carry over any kind of “momentum” from game to game or through a stretch of games is a complete myth. A fabrication. A story told to children for them to believe in the “playoff momentum” fairy. (Alright – that’s a bit much.)
I tend to agree with Mike Tanier here:
Since 2001, teams with a first-round bye are 25-15 (.625) in the second round of the playoffs. In gambling terms, 62.5 percent is as close as you will get to a “lock” in the NFL. The home team doesn’t always win, but it doesn’t spend the bye getting rusty and forgetting all the things that led to home-field advantage, either.
Upsets do happen, but they are often not that upsetting. Many are perpetrated by teams like this year’s Saints, obviously great teams that happen to end up with the third seed (and happen to be road favorites). Chasing “momentum” is dangerous, because teams that look hot in the opening round often get brutal reality therapy in the second.
Last year, the Ravens looked like the “hot” team after a 30-7 opening round win against the Chiefs. They went on to their usual playoff loss to the Steelers. The Cowboys and Ravens appeared scary after beating the Eagles and Patriots in 2009, but were outscored 54-6 in the second round.
You get the idea. There is no magical “momentum” at work. If you like the Saints this weekend, join the club, and the road dogs all have their selling points. Just make sure you pick a team because you like a matchup or are impressed with their strengths, not because they are “on a roll.”