The Pulse: Who will win in the first round?

Updated: January 8, 2007, 3:21 PM ET
Friday, January 5

Welcome to The Pulse, the place to find out what the sports world is thinking. Every day on ESPN.com, SportsNation registers its opinion on a wide range of topics by casting votes and offering opinions. We'll collect the daily highlights and create a running file throughout the week to measure The Pulse of SportsNation on a wide variety of issues. Check this page every day for an update of what the 'Nation is saying.

Friday's Big Question

1. Who will win the first round of the playoffs?


Can Brady continue his playoff success?
The dust has cleared from the ruins of the NFL regular season, and only a few teams remain. Pre-season favorites like the Dolphins, Redskins, Falcons, and Panthers will be watching at home, proving once again that the regular season exists for a reason: to weed out the pretenders.

These teams face a huge challenge; their road to the Super Bowl will be longer and more arduous than any other team. Still, it's not impossible for teams to succeed; remember the '05-'06 Steelers?

SportsNation picked an upset or two, but will its predictions prove correct?

All comments from Friday's Scouts Inc. chat
Which team will win the game between the Cowboys and Seahawks?
70% Seattle Seahawks
30% Dallas Cowboys

To me, this entire game comes down to Dallas' receivers. If T.O. and Glenn don't drop the ball (and I hope they do), Dallas wins. Agree?
Paulie
Scottsdale

I think this game is going to come down to which team plays the best defensively. In-game adjustments are going to be so critical to how both teams defend the offenses. Don't be surprised to see Seattle mix in some no huddle to keep the Cowboys off balance.
Keith Kidd

Which team will win the game between the Giants and Eagles?
73% Philadelphia Eagles
27% New York Giants

All my friends are saying this game won't be a problem for the Eagles, but that last game could've been a lot different if Eli didn't throw up the INT on the final drive, is it right to be a confident or a worried Eagles fan?
Mark
Philly

I would be somewhat concerned. I don't think this is a lock for the Eagles to win. The Giants can move the ball. They can run it. The Giants have a shot to win this game. This season has shown in the NFC that anything can happen on a week to week basis. Don't be too over confident. The Eagles have been in this situation before and have enough veterans to know what to do.
Chuck Knox

Which team will win the game between the Chiefs and Colts?
51% Kansas City Chiefs
49% Indianapolis Colts

Everyone thinks the Chiefs will run all over the Colts, but if the Colts can get it done through the air like we know they can, won't it be tough for KC to play catch up using the run game?
Katelyn
Syracuse, NY

Agreed and that is a big reason that I think Indy wins this game. Whoever scores first or gets up early has a big advantage in this game. However, even if they are down, LJ is going to get his touches and be productive. If he is getting 5 yards per carry, isn't that as good as moving down the field throwing the ball?
Matt Williamson

Which team will win the game between the Jets and Patriots?
67% New England Patriots
33% New York Jets

Do you see D'Brick being able to shut down Semour for most of the game or does Semour win the dog fight?
Jay
NYC

Seymour is a far superior player than Brick right now. Brick will need a lot of help moving him off the LOS in the run game. From an athletic standpoint though, Brick can surely hang with him in pass pro. Seymour might be able to bull rush him well however. Brick will also be blocking NE's OLBs quite a bit as well.
Matt Williamson

Thursday's Big Question

1. Did Brady Quinn lose more than the Sugar Bowl?


JaMarcus Russell swiped the spotlight from Brady Quinn.
Wednesday's Sugar Bowl was ostensibly the conclusion of the college football season for Notre Dame and LSU. But the game may well prove to be the unofficial start of NFL draft season.

JaMarcus Russell and the LSU Tigers erupted for 20 unaswered points in the second half and cruised past Brady Quinn and the Fighting Irish. That appears to be bad news for Quinn's draft prospects, at least according to the scouts in SportsNation. On the heels of a dismal performance, Quinn now rates a distant second to Russell (who could choose to return to LSU for his senior season) as SportsNation's top quarterback prospect.

Which player will make the best NFL quarterback?
45% JaMarcus Russell
31% Brady Quinn
24% Troy Smith

SportsNation Sounds Off
I think JaMarcus Russell played himself into the top three of the draft.
Joe (Philly)

So now that JaMarcus Russell has shown the big arm Oakland loves, Quinn could slip to Cleveland, and given his performance last night, he should fit right in.
Jesse (Massachusetts)

Is there a more overrated sports team in the U.S. than Notre Dame? How does a team that has done so little over the past decade continue to get so much publicity?
Jason (NY)

Q: How high will JaMarcus go in the draft?
Jim (Los Angeles)

A: Assuming he declares early for the 2007 draft, I think Russell will be a top-10 pick. Quinn might be the better pro prospect overall -- and I stress might be -- but Russell was clearly the better QB on the field last night. If Russell is a part of the upcoming draft it will make for an interesting QB race between Russell and Quinn.
Todd McShay
-- From Todd McShay's chat


Wednesday's Big Question

1. Should Saban have moved to 'Bama?


Nick Saban has coached his last game for the Dolphins
Ending his brief pro experiment, former Dolphins coach Nick Saban decided to give Alabama a chance.

The move is surprising only on a competitive level. Saban's Dolphins were the very definition of unrealized promise, going 15-17 over his two seasons there. Did he regret not finishing the job? He certainly isn't regretting his payday: eight years, $32 million, and incentives galore. Can you fault him for taking more money to go to a level where he's had a lot of success?

SportsNation isn't terribly confident about his chances with the Crimson Tide, but differed on the particulars..

What should Nick Saban have done?
61% Stayed with Miami Dolphins
39% Taken Alabama job

Which is the better head coaching job right now?
63% Miami Dolphins
37% Alabama Crimson Tide

In general, which head coaching environment is best?
50% College football
45.0% NFL
5% They are the same

In the post-Paul ''Bear'' Bryant era, the average tenure for an Alabama head coach is 3.5 years. How long will Saban last?
48% 3 seasons
36% 5 or more seasons
12% 4 seasons
3% 2 seasons
1% 1 season

Will Saban lead Alabama to a BCS game?
50% No
43% Yes, in the future
7% Yes, next season

Is Saban an upgrade from Mike Shula?
58% Yes
42% No

Did Alabama fire Shula prematurely? (26-23 over 4 seasons, 10-2 in 2005, 1-1 in bowls, 0-8 vs. LSU and Auburn)
70% Yes
30% No

Which current NFL head coach opening is the most attractive?
62% Dolphins
22% Falcons
16% Cardinals

Saban will make $4 million per year at Alabama. Have college football coaching contracts gotten out of control?
72% Yes. That's too much money for college sports.
28% No. Mike Holmgren makes $8 million in the NFL. What's the difference?

What do you make of Saban's repeated comments from as late as Dec. 21 that he was not taking the Alabama job?
63% He was lying and should have been more up front in response to the rumors
37% He was focused on the Dolphins and telling the truth at the time

From Mel Kiper's chat.

Q: What will be the impact and timing of the Nick Saban hire on this year's Alabama recruiting class, giving that he's regarded as such a masterful recruiter? Could it actually improve? Mike Griffin

A: Just look at the players he produced at LSU. He has a laundry list of players in the NFL. Look at Alabama. Their recruiting classes in 2006 was in the top 15 overall. In 2005, it was in the top 15, same for 2004. The last three years has been a top 15 recruiting class overall. There is some talent there at Alabama. If you look at LSU, they were in the top 5. Prior to that they had a good run. But overall, he'll get Alabama in the top 5-7. I've maintained that Alabama is in the top 5 of being an elite program. I think it proved out that when you can get Nick Saban to leave the NFL for Alabama. Remember, Mike Shula and other coaches won 10 games at some point.
Mel Kiper


Tuesday's Big Question

1. Was the Fiesta Bowl the best ever?


Not bad for a WAC team, huh?
Of all the major bowls, the Fiesta seemed the least likely to give the fans a good show.

Clearly, Boise State disagreed. Everything about the game was entertaining on a cosmic level; that rare game where circumstance, desire, talent, and a bit of razzle-dazzle combine to produce a classic. Who would have thought that the Broncos would jump out to an early lead, then suffer a devastating comeback, then come back themselves will the old-timiest of old-timey plays. The hook-and-lateral was one thing, but the Statue of Liberty play? That only happens in movies! Of course, players proposing to cheerleaders after winning the big one only happens in movies too.

A bleary-eyed but thrilled SportsNation took a look at some of the ramifications of the best game of the bowl season so far.

Did you stay up to see the end of the game?
80% Yes
20% No

Which was the best play of the game?
56% ''Hook-and-Ladder'' to tie it
44% ''Statue of Liberty'' to win it

Which play call down the stretch took the most guts?
65% Going for two instead of kicking the extra point and forcing a second overtime
35% Vinny Perretta's overtime option pass for a touchdown on 4th and 2

If Boise State had kicked the extra point to send it to a second overtime, which team would have won the game?
65% Oklahoma
35% Boise State

If you hadn't seen it for yourself, which of the following moments would you have considered least believable to occur in an actual game?
52% ''Hook and Ladder'' play working to perfection on 4th-and-18 to tie the game with seconds left
29% Using a ''Statue of Liberty'' play on a two-point conversion to win the game
19% A player proposing to his girlfriend shortly after scoring the game-winning two-point conversion

Does Boise State deserve a shot at Ohio State for the national championship?
79% Yes, they are the only other unbeaten and showed they belong in that game
21% No, the BCS system worked fine and Florida is more deserving than Boise State

Was the Fiesta Bowl the final game of Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson's college career?
85% Yes
15% No

Which ''Cinderella'' team over the past year is the better story?
62% Boise State football
38% George Mason basketball

Where does this game stand, in terms of the greatest college football games of all-time?
52% Top 5 23% Top 10 17% It's the best 8% It's not in the Top 10

A great football game with the perfect ending of a chick flick movie to boot. Everyone should have been happy with the Fiesta Bowl.
Jeff
Iowa

That game probably killed any hope the BSU can strengthen their schedule, barring moving out of their conference. What big name team will take a chance playing Boise St, especially at Boise?
Hende
Ohio

Give Boise some credit for being in control of that game for the first 48 minutes. It wasn't just those three trick plays that got them the win. Those three just put 'em over the top.
Ryan
Hartford