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Only some things stay the same

January 11, 2008|Christine Daniels | SOUND AND VISION

As Vince Lombardi studies this weekend's NFL playoff matchups in the new edition of "Celestial TV Guide," he smiles approvingly and says, "We're hosting a playoff game, and so are the Cowboys and the Colts. Everything's in its right place. Except what are the Colts doing in Indianapolis?" . . .

San Diego Chargers at Indianapolis Colts (Sunday, 10 a.m., Channel 2): SoCal's only NFL team won a playoff game last weekend, its first since the 1994 season, yet the streets of Los Angeles were strangely devoid of jubilant snake-dancing, fireworks displays or confetti celebrations. The Chargers beat the Tennessee Titans, 17-6, but ask fans around here about "L.A.'s de facto NFL team" and they will say, "The Trojans better find a way to keep Pete Carroll."

The Chargers are 1-0 in a Super Bowl tournament for the first time since they advanced to a Super Bowl. That was 13 years ago -- just months before the Rams and Raiders packed up the moving vans. The Chargers are 1-0 this season against the Colts, but the end of the line for the Norv Turner Postseason Express draws near. One reason: Adam Vinatieri is not going to shank another 29-yarder with 1:29 to go. One more: Vinatieri will not be required to convert a 29-yarder with 1:29 to go.

Lombardi would also like to know, "What in the world is a 'Jacksonville Jaguar?' " . . .

Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots (Saturday, 5 p.m., Channel 2): There were no Jaguars in Lombardi's day. No Internet either. That combination could prove troublesome to the Jaguars' bid to ruin the (all together now) Patriots' Pursuit of Perfection. The final regular-season power rankings posted on the Jaguars' official website list the Patriots No. 1, with an asterisk, and this explanation: "Cheated in one game."

Two years ago, the Patriots eliminated the Jaguars from the playoffs by a score of 28-3. Should history repeat Saturday, give an assist to www.jaguars.com.

Lombardi, starting to get grouchy, grumbles, "The term 'frozen tundra' is redundant, and previous experience and past history show that the next guy I hear saying it faces a potentially dangerous situation, I am not over-exaggerating. . . . "

Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers (Saturday, 1:30 p.m., Channel 11): Five years ago, Lake Superior State University of Michigan included "frozen tundra" on its annual List of Words Banished From the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness.

Then Packers fans, proud of the phrase overused to describe the turf at Lambeau Field, complained that tundra does not necessarily mean "frozen land" and noted that tundra can exist in non-frozen forms.

Either way, Saturday is going to be a cold day in Green Bay. And back in 2003, Brian Sutton, an English professor at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay, told the New York Times, "It's a redundancy worth keeping. . . . It gives us an identity. Without the Packers, we're Skokie, Illinois."

Is there frozen tundra in Skokie?

Dallas professional sports teams go for a 3-0 sweep.* (Asterisk bought to you by the fact that on Saturday, the Stars play the Kings and the Mavericks play the Clippers). . . .

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (Sunday, 1:30 p.m., Channel 11) and Dallas Stars at Kings (Saturday, 1 p.m., FSNW) and Dallas Mavericks at Clippers (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Channel 5): To put it another way, the Dallas sports agenda for the weekend is Eli and L.A. Eli Manning and the Giants have the best chance of spoiling the sweep; although they are 7 1/2 -point underdogs, the Giants actually defeated the Cowboys in Dallas as recently as 2006.

As for Saturday's Staples Center hockey-hoops doubleheader: The Kings lost a Wednesday night home game to Nashville, 7-0, and the Clippers are 1-9 in their last 10 home games.

The Lakers are 23-11! Start celebrating! Or panicking! . . .

Milwaukee Bucks at Lakers (tonight, 7:30, FSNW and ESPN) and Memphis Grizzlies at Lakers (Sunday, 6:30 p.m., FSNW): After 34 games last season, the Lakers had the same record, 23-11. In their next 31 games, they went 10-21. Reason for optimism among Lakers fans: This is a different Lakers team. Reason for concern: After playing Seattle on Monday, six of the Lakers' next seven games are against Phoenix, Denver, San Antonio, Dallas, Cleveland and Detroit.

Wanted: More games against the Maple Leafs . . .

San Jose Sharks at Ducks (Sunday, 5 p.m., Channel 56): The Ducks have played two home games in nine years against Toronto, including Wednesday night's 5-0 victory over the Maple Leafs. Next for the Ducks are the Sharks, two teams that have played each other 23,688 times over the last nine years.

Maybe he should play in Green Bay . . .

Australian Open (Sunday, 4 p.m., ESPN2): In 2007, Roger Federer played four Grand Slam finals, won three, and still did not win Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year award. What does he have to do -- not drop a set at the Australian Open? Oh right. Did that last year.

Training for March Madness begins now! . . .

Washington State at UCLA (Saturday, 11:30 a.m., Prime) and Cal at Oregon State (Saturday, 1:30 p.m., Prime) and Washington at USC (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., Prime) and Gonzaga at Loyola Marymount (Saturday, 5:30 p.m., Prime) and Portland at Pepperdine (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Prime): One television screen. One sofa. One remote -- and no reason to use it for 10 hours. If you are so reclined.

Punt . . .

Chicago Bulls at Atlanta Hawks (Sunday, 11 a.m., WGN): It's a Chargers playoff Sunday, for goodness sake.

--

christine.daniels@latimes.com

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