Saturday, January 03, 2009

Wild Card Weekend '09

Very quickly because I'm on my way to work, my picks for this weekend:

Atlanta (-1) @ Arizona

"Jacob" and I correctly predicted that all four road Wild Card teams would be favored four weeks ago. That's how weak these division champions are, and no one played weaker after clinching their division than Arizona. But they have the right opponent in Atlanta. The Falcons will attempt to send their rookie QB, first-year head coach, and subpar defense out to the desert and away from their dome home stadium to get a playoff win in a season in which they weren't expected to be any good. I can't buy it. Give me the high-flying Cardinals passing game in a shootout.

My Pick: Arizona 38-30

Indianapolis (-1) @ San Diego

We saw this movie before. The Colts, 6-4 and on the verge of missing the playoffs, went into San Diego in Week 12 and won, part of an 8-game winning streak that hasn't been broken yet. I can't take the 8-8 division champ Chargers to snap that streak.

My Pick: Indianapolis 27-23

Baltimore (-3) @ Miami

The Dolphins shocked everyone by turning a 1-15 season last year into an 11-5 division title this year, using some razzle dazzle offense to confuse opponents. The Ravens are the wrong defense to try to get cute with. Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and co. should have died out already from the fact that they had to spend their bye week on Week 2 due to the hurricane in Houston postponing the Ravens-Texans game. But they're still going, and playing strong football. I have to give the edge to the Birds.

My Pick: Baltimore 24-12

Philadelphia (-3) @ Minnesota

The Eagles seem to be playing great heading into this matchup with the Vikings, but the funny thing about Philly is, you never know when they're going to choke. This is the same team that could only manage a tie with the woeful Cincinnati Bengals. Everyone knows that Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson will dial up extravagant blitzes and confusing defensive schemes against Vikings QB Tarvaris Jackson. I say that the Vikings do the smart thing and take the ball out of Jackson's hands, relying on the ground attack of Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor. Eagles QB Donovan McNabb has a knack of making mistakes at the worst times, so I'll take the Vikings to capitalize on that and win the game despite throwing the ball less than 15 times.

My Pick: Minnesota 20-7

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