Saturday, January 3, 2009

NFL Wild Card Weekend Predictions

What a long, strange season it's been. Who would have thought at the start of the season that neither the Cowboys nor the Patriots would be in the playoffs? Who could have predicted the Dolphins would win the AFC East? And, most improbably, who would have thought the Eagles would make the playoffs despite tying the Bengals?

I will continue to make my picks through the playoffs. Remember, all picks are made without taking the spread into consideration.

Record Last Week: 11-5, .688
Final Regular Season Record: 163-93, .637

Saturday Games:

Falcons (11-5) @ Cardinals (9-7)
Everyone is discounting the Cardinals but I'm not so sure they should be. Yes, the Cardinals limped into the playoffs and, yes, they play in the worst division in football. However, this game is in Arizona and the Cards still have all those offensive weapons. You also have to take into account the Falcons have a rookie quarterback and have very few veterans on the team with a lot of playoff experience. Atlanta's defense is also pretty weak, so I'm going with Arizona. My pick: Cardinals

Colts (12-4) @ Chargers (8-8)
The Chargers two best offensive weapons, LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates, are nursing injuries so they will be less than 100% if they play. Even if both were at full strength I would still pick the Colts. The Colts are on a roll offensively and their defense isn't great but they make just enough plays to give Peyton and the offense a chance to win. The Colts are my pick from the AFC to get to the Super Bowl. My pick: Colts

Sunday Games:

Ravens (11-5) @ Dolphins (11-5)
This is the game I have the least interest but it will probably be the best game. I expect a low-scoring affair between two solid defenses and plodding offenses. The most intriguing part of the game will be watching Chad Pennington and the nearly mistake-free Dolphins offense against the Ravens turnover-creating defensive machine. If the Ravens have their way defensively, which I think they will, it will be a long day for the Fins. Oh, and the Wildcat isn't going to work against Baltimore. My pick: Ravens

Eagles (9-6-1) @ Vikings (10-6)
The Eagles have really ridden a roller coaster the last few weeks. They have gone from the low of tying the Bengals to the high of beating the Giants to the low of the Redskins game to the high of destroying the Cowboys and making the playoffs. Despite all of those ups and downs, nearly everyone is picking the Eagles to beat the Vikings and it's easy to see why. The Vikings two biggest strengths are running the ball and stopping the run. The Eagles defense has been one of the best at stopping the run recently so you have to feel confident that they will at least slow down Adrian Peterson. Offensively, the Eagles don't run the ball anyway so that neutralizes the Vikings advantage there. Andy Reid will be looking to pick apart the mediocre Minnesota secondary on nearly every play whether Eagles fans like it or not. This game might be fairly low-scoring but I think the Eagles will be in control from start to finish. My pick: Eagles

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