Friday, January 9, 2009

Weekend Forecast:

The divisional playoff round is upon us, and with it a slate of three pretty good games, and one game that I imagine will not be as good. Get your popcorn ready, as these game will all be better than anything that Terrell Owens did all year.

Ravens at Titans – This game showcases two teams who greatly resemble each other. Both feature hard hitting defenses and offenses that do just enough to win. The Ravens are coming off of a convincing victory over the Dolphins who looked overmatched and smothered by the suffocating Ravens D. Ed Reed showed why he has to be considered the best safety in the NFL, and after scoring the first field goal on a turnover early in the game, it didn’t look like Miami had a shot in that game the rest of the way scoring only one more touchdown the rest of the way. The Titans may have peaked too early this year, as around week 12, they looked like a juggernaut, but they have come back to the pack a bit over the final month of the season. They basically didn’t even try in the season finale against the Colts, a game in which they lost 23-0. So they may be a bit rusty, and are over a month removed from playing their best football. Although Kerry Collins has been solid all year, he is still Kerry Collins, and as such, I don’t trust him to be able to play mistake free against one of the stronger defenses in the league. Granted, Joe Flacco is just a rookie, and the history of rookie QB’s in the playoffs isn’t stellar, but I think that he will do enough to let his defense win it for him. I see a low scoring, close game in which the Ravens do enough to move on to the AFC Championship game. My prediction? Baltimore 16 Tennessee 7

Cardinals at Panthers – This is the game I feel most confident about, which means that I am probably most likely to be wrong about it. I had a dream earlier this week that the Cardinals play the Giants and although the details of that dream are substantially weird, that matchup could take place if the Cards and Giants win this weekend. I don’t think that the Cardinals are going to take care of business on the road in the playoffs. Arizona is 0-5 in the Eastern time zone this season, getting blown out in many of those games. Despite being able to put it together enough to take care of Atlanta last weekend at home, I feel the Panthers on the road are a much stiffer test. To me, the Panthers are the team most likely to win it all this offseason. I’m standing by my prediction from when there were only a few weeks left in the regular season that they will be the team to lift the Lombardi trophy. I say they pass their first postseason test with flying colors this weekend by throttling the Cardinals. Carolina 34 Arizona 10

Eagles at Giants – What a slate of games we have set for this Sunday! The great thing about playoff football is the high intensity, high quality football that we are treated to, the bad part of it is that as of the moment of this writing, there are only seven NFL games left this season. Savor each one, as the offseason lasts a loooooooong time. This game should be a great one, as the Eagles have raised their game in the final month and they needed every break to make the playoffs, as they BARELY got in. I mean, when you need the Raiders to win a road game to get in, and it happens…you must living right. Conversely, for much of the season, the Giants were considered the class of the NFL, and they fell off the pace some in the final weeks. I keep going back and forth on this game, as I can easily see a case for the Iggles continuing their hot streak and the Giants have cooled from their earlier season hot streak and without Plaxico Burress they are not nearly as scary, but I have to say I think the G-Men find a way this game. Will I be surprised if the Eagles win? No, but I am picking the Giants in a close and entertaining game. New York 27 Philadelphia 24

Chargers at Steelers – As a Broncos fan, this is the game I am most interested in this weekend, because if I can’t cheer for my team after their epic collapse, I can get a measure of satisfaction from seeing the Chargers lose. I keep lamenting the fact that the Broncos would be in if the Chiefs would have just been able to recover an onside kick, but then I remember that I would have had to endure watching them lose here in Denver to the Colts by four hundred points, which would have been even more embarrassing than losing a three game lead with three to play. I am obviously rooting against the Chargers and for the Steelers in this game. One: I really dislike the Chargers now due to the incredibly boorish Phil Rivers. Two: I picked the Steelers to get to the Super Bowl, so they need to win this game to make that happen, obviously. I am going to put aside my personal feelings about this game when I make my pick, and I’m going to go ahead and predict….a Steelers victory. The Steelers defense is ridiculous. Not in a Denver Broncos, giving up 448 points kind of way, but rather in a “Dear God, hide the women and children, it’s the Steelers D” kind of way. They are simply awesome. They gave up less than half of what Denver did this year, which is extremely impressive. I am a little worried about Rothlisberger’s condition for the game, I hope he can play as I feel he gives the Steelers their best chance for a win, but fortunately, Pittsburgh has a solid backup in Byron Leftwich who could also get it done, if need be. Ladainian Tomlinson being out should help, as Darren Sproles is solid, but I think that the Steelers can contain him easier than they could a healthy LT. The previous game this season between these two was a weird affair, ending in the NFL’s first ever 11-10 final score. I feel a few more points may be scored this game, but I think that Pittsburgh cools off the Bolts and sends them home unhappy. Pittsburgh 21 San Diego 17

1 comment:

Scott Haynes said...

"Cardinals at Panthers – This is the game I feel most confident about, which means that I am probably most likely to be wrong about it."

i'm right there with ya, but your prediction is in print (sort of).