Without survivor to play for, I just couldn’t get motivated to do a full preview and picks post. Plus I’m still devastated over losing last week thanks to Green Bay’s failure. After the come back! And winning the toss! Oy, Packers. You killed me. And everybody else for that matter. One guy picked Arizona. He won. The survivor pool is, to quote Iron Chef, “o-vah!”
1. I apologize to the Cardinals and Cardinals’ fans for not picking them last week. I say this not just because it knocked me out of the survivor pool, but because I should have picked them based on the fact that I went to a game at University of Phoenix Stadium this season. And it was an awesome crowd. And I had so much fun. Just look at this picture!
2. More importantly, I really should have picked the Ravens. If you look at my pre-game preview, I was not sold on the Patriots at all. And I hate them. So I would have aligned my rooting and gambling interests. Which is always ideal. Oh well.
Divisional Quick Picks
I don’t have time to do a full pro and con breakdown for this weekend’s divisional games, but here are my quick picks:
Saints over Cardinals
- This comes down to home field advantage. Both teams have big-play capability and are in some ways mirror images of one another.
- The Saints are at home, the crowd will be insane, so I’m taking the Saints.
- Also, did you see what Green Bay did to the Arizona defense last week? Yeah, me too.
- I think they miss Boldin more this week than last. Just a hunch.
- Caution: takeaways can disappear. Saints had 26 takeaways this season, 3rd in NFL. The Packers taught us this lesson last week. Just something to keep an eye out for.
- P.S. I would gladly root for either Arizona or New Orleans over both Dallas and Minnesota, but alas, I have to choose.
Ravens over Colts
- I don’t like the Colts’ lying down the last two weeks and the football gods will punish them.
- The Colts have lost their last 3 games coming off the bye week to start the playoffs.
- Ravens have momentum and Ray Rice.
- Flacco is healthier.
- Plus, the Michael Oher factor. Do not underestimate the Michael Oher/Blind Side factor
- Also we know that Indy’s home field advantage no longer exists since they moved to the new dome.
Cowboys over Vikings
- This hurts. A lot. I hate both teams so I would really love to see them both lose. Seeing as that’s not possible, I am picking the Cowboys. They are playing great and I think they will contain Brett Favre.
- On a personal note, I will root for the Vikings because even though I hate He Who Shall Not Be Named, I have a lot of friends in the land of 10,000 lakes, and they love their Vikings. So Go Vikings!
- But I’m picking the Cowboys. Sorry.
- I need to shower I feel so dirty.
Upset special: Jets over Chargers
- Yes, the Chargers are hot. Yes, the Chargers are at home. Yes, the Chargers are everybody’s favorite to go to the Super Bowl.
- But I’m sticking with the recipe of great defense and great rushing. The Jets have both. The Chargers do not. Period. End of story. I said last week that great rushing and defense wins playoff games on the road. I’ll say it again.
- And if it rains, that benefits the Jets.
- Plus, Revis shuts down Jackson. I am worried about Antonio Gates.
- I expect to lose this one, but might as well go with my heart.
- I do like the Jets to cover even if they don’t win outright.
Enjoy the games and see you next week for the Conference Championships!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Well helllooo there! If you’re reading this, it’s because the Jets upset the Bengals in Saturday’s AFC wild card match-up and I’ve lived for another day in my survivor pool. For Saturday’s pick and analysis, click here.
The good news is that the Jets win knocked 6 people out of the pool. The bad news? I have to make another “sure thing” pick. And one thing we know about the NFL this season, there are no sure things. Well, except when it comes to the Rams losing. And since this is the playoffs, there are no Rams. Or Browns. Or Buccaneers. Or Lions. Or Chiefs. Or Raiders. Or Redskins.
Just a quick reminder: we’re only allowed to use a team once. So if they advance, we can’t pick them again. Ever.
So without further ado, let’s get to the game breakdowns.
Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots
Let’s start with the Patriots:
- Undefeated at home this season (8-0)
- Belichick and Brady have never lost a home playoff game (8-0)
- They have Tom Brady and Randy Moss (if Moss decides to show up).
- Very QB friendly officiating and rule changes
- Wes Welker is out. And that is a very bad thing, though Julian Edelman is an able replacement (and MOT!)
- Suspect defense (and I’m being generous here)
- Sketchy running game
- They’re really not the Patriots any more.
And now the Ravens:
- Ray Rice is a beast and will be hard to contain. Even Willis McGahee is back from the dead and is getting in on the party.
- If they can establish the run game (see point 1 above), QB Joe Flacco should be able to have time to make some plays downfield.
- Good but not great defense (they are no longer the super-vaunted Ravens defense, ok?)
- Michael Oher of The Blind Side is a starting O lineman for the Ravens in case you hadn’t heard!
- Ray Lewis. Oh, right, he didn’t go to jail. Nevermind.
- Prone to too many penalties and you know that the NFL has sent a memo to the referees to protect comeback player of the year Tom Brady.
- Weak receiving corps
- And they played in a weak AFC North. Yes, I said it. The Bengals were the division champs and you saw what the Jets did to them, didn’t you?
The pick: Patriots. I would love to pick the Ravens. Really, I would, since I hate the Patriots. But I have to stick with New England. I don’t think they go any further, but a first round win is not too hard to picture.
Moving on to the late game in the NFC.
Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals
Let’s start with the Green Bay Packers:
- Aaron Rodgers is a total stud. And a monster on 3rd down conversions. Over 65% completion rate, double digit TDs and zero interceptions.
- Solid running game
- Solid defense, including Charles Woodson, a leading candidate for defensive player of the year.
- Wins over good teams including Dallas, arguably the best team in the NFC right now
- Playing on the road
- Do they incur the wrath of the football gods for running up the score on the Cardinals last week?
- NFL’s youngest team
- Aaron Rodgers has no playoff experience (I don’t count his garbage time 2 years ago)
- Two losses to Minnesota (a good team, but 2 losses?)
And now the defending NFC champion Arizona Cardinals
- Defending NFC Champions
- Kurt Warner’s veteran leadership plus Larry Fitzgerald’s ridiculous awesomeness
- A much improved running game with emergence of Beanie Wells
- Decent defense
- Injuries to Anquan Boldin and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Boldin will likely miss the game. That is terrible news.
- Playing at home where they were only 4-4
- Champions of an extremely weak division (NFC West is the weakest division in the entire NFL)
- Look at their schedule: Minnesota is the only good team they beat all season. And bad losses to bad teams including San Francisco and Carolina.
The Pick: Green Bay. It’s hard to pick against the defending NFC champions who were in this exact same spot last year before making their improbable run to the Super Bowl. But lightning does not strike twice and Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have the momentum. And this Cardinals team didn’t beat anybody good.
Survivor Pick: New England or Green Bay? Green Bay! Yes, I’m going all-in with the boys from Wisconsin.
Hope to see you again next week. And if not, it’s been a blast.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )