Friday, January 15, 2010

My Picks for 2010 NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round

I'm back, aiming to take sports predicting to a whole new low. Can I make it to 0-8? Time will tell.

Saturday's Games
#4 Cardinals @ #1 Saints - Oh, Kurt Warner. You and your buddies had to ruin my dream. I'll forgive you. I like you. I wish you all the best this Saturday. You'll need it. NOLA is a hell of a place to play. The Saints were flying high with 13 straight wins before falling flat at the end. They're not in this situation (read: the playoffs) often so it's kind of new territory. Brees was an MVP candidate and they have a tough OL and some speedy WRs. The defense has some holes, as usual. You'll have some fun with that, won't you? Yes, I'm taking Arizona in another barn burner. I've been picking the Saints to be a great team long before the talking heads. And they proved me right, for the first few months. December? Eh, not so much. Can they respond and rebound or will a terrible finish dash Who Dat hopes? Sorry, Saints. It's not your year. Warner's Cards have found that '09 playoffs groove!

PREDICTION: Cardinals 48, Saints 42

#6 Ravens @ #1 Colts - The team that formerly inhabited Baltimore faces the team that currently resides there. A lot has been said about rust for the Colts since they haven't played a meaningful game in a month. And they're 0-3 when they have a bye. The Ravens, on the other hand, punched the Patriots in the face and groin (thank you for that, by the way) and are flying high. People are mentioning them in the same breath as some team from almost 10 years ago. They played in a meaningful game, apparently. Are they that good. No? Close? Maybe. But they are feeling pretty good right now and are facing a team under scrutiny from fans and the media. The best QB ever will be too much for Ray Lewis and Co. (again). Manning will lead his team to yet another victory, silencing the talk from weeks 16 and 17. It'll be until the end. The Ravens will have a chance to tie but Flacco won't pull it out.

PREDICTION: Colts 27, Ravens 20

Sunday's Games
#4 Cowboys @ #1 Vikings - Has Dallas broken through? Are they as good as the media says? I don't know. I really wanted to take them last week, but it would have ruined my "Green Bay-destroying-Brett Favre-in-the-divisional-round" hopes. Turns out, the Cardinals and Eagles both destroyed that. So here I am with the Cowboys and the Minnesota Favres. That's all they have, right? It's what the media wants you to think. After all, he's "America's QB" just like the Cowboys are "America's Team". Yes, I seriously heard Greeny on Mike & Mike in the Morning say that. Anyway, I try not to let my opinions on teams or players drive my picks (didn't work last week). I'll stay true and try to base this on what I'm comfortable with: stats and gut feelings. Say hello to another game in Jerry's World. Dallas takes it to Minnesota in the dome, overcoming many Flozell false starts. Dallas runs outside and hits on 2 big plays (the Viking secondary is 'meh' at best). All heavenly Favre doesn't have enough.

PREDICTION: Cowboys 24, Vikings 21

#5 Jets @ #2 Chargers - The Jets haven't given up more than 15 points since a week 11 thumping by the Patriots, who are now spectators. I think that streak ends in beautiful San Diego on Sunday evening. Why? Because the Chargers average 28 points per game and scored 20 or more in all 16 games this season. And they have an 11 game winning streak. And they are playing at home. I have to give props to New York though because they truly remind me of the 2000-2001 Ravens. We know how that ended, right? I don't foresee them repeating that feat but, as is the case in the playoffs, a strong D and great ground game will take you places. That place is San Diego, not Miami. J! E! T! S! should mean journey ends this Sunday (thanks, Marcellus).

PREDICTION: Chargers 28, Jets 16

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