Wild-Card weekend was certainly wild, to be predictable with my words and to say the least. With only four games to pick, you’d think that I might at least get half of them right. Well, that’s not how it happened. I sure hope you people aren’t betting on my picks, I know I ain’t. However, saying that I only got the Packers game right does feel pretty good, as it was nice to see Vick get brought down to Earth and not rewarded for being the best football playing criminal sociopath in the league. The last thing a lot of us wanted to see was him in the Superbowl.
This week some familiar foes take the field to determine who is going to make it into the championship round of the playoffs, and eventually the Superbowl. Just like last week, you’d think that the winners would be predictable, but we all know damn well that isn’t going to happen. It’s going to be a crazy-ass weekend, and at this point it’d be regrettable to discount the Jets and the Seahawks just because they are heavy underdogs. Here’s some picks.
No. 5 Baltimore Ravens (13-4) at No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)
Do I really have to say anything about this match-up? They’ve already met twice this year, as they do every year and split the series. Both games were three point games when it came to the final score, and both games were about defense. This game shouldn’t be any different. The Ravens can get to Big Ben when they come with corner pressure on the rush, and push up the middle. Ben needs to be quick on his feet. The Steelers strength when it comes to the rush is the safety blitz. This has less sacking power than it does stopping the run behind the line of scrimmage. As a Browns fan, I’m really looking forward to watching these two teams pummel each other, because it’s very possible one of them will have to travel to play the Patriots, a week after getting beat up. Yes, they could be hosting the Jets as well, but either way, the winner of this game will be battered and bruised. The key to victory on either side, besides the defense, is the field goal kicking. The weather in Pittsburgh is going to be shitty, and the wind most likely be blowing across the rivers. The best kicker is going to win this game, so I’m not even going to pick it except saying it will be the best playoff game this weekend.
No. 6 New York Jets (12-5) at No. 1 New England Patriots (14-2)
The Jets were counted out for a good portion of the season, yet here they are a week after beating the favored Colts to advance in the playoffs. They meet their division rivals in what could be a huge upset. They won in week 2, but in week 13 got their asses kicked hard by the Patriots, who were on a tear. Once again, the Patriots are the favored team, and once again the Jets don’t give a shit. Tom Brady is in the sights of the defense, and will most likely be under pressure on a pretty constant basis. The Jets defense confused the Colts O-line with a constant change in their looks and set-up. I expect them to do more of the same against the Pats, but the Pats and Bellichick know the Jets pretty well. They have more tape on them than any other team. Sure it probably came from illegal recording, but it’s still in their minds. Ryan should have some tricks up his sleeve for the offense, he’s going to have to if he wants Sanchez to really perform. However, I can’t pick against the Pats in this match-up. The only thing against them at this point is having the extra week off. They’ll probably start slow, but blow the Jets out in the fourth. Pats to win.
No. 6 Green Bay Packers (11-6) at No. 1 Atlanta Falcons (13-3)
Wow, I actually picked the Packers right. It was a pick based on morality as much as the construction of the team. They had already beaten the Eagles in their regular season match-up, but this was their first time playing Vick. They contained him, they wrecked him, they beat him like he beat dogs. His sorry ass will be watching the rest of the playoffs from his Dalmatian fur couch. Meanwhile, the Packers get to travel to Atlanta to face off against the Falcons in the dome. This is actually a good thing for the Packers, as the cold has been affecting them more than it used to, when Favre was playing and they had an undefeated home record in the playoffs. Remember that? This is a pretty even match-up, Rodgers and Matty Ice are going to be the superstar QB’s of the future for sure. The Packers lost to the Falcons in week 13, even with Rodgers going 344 yards. Expect tons of passing from both QB’s. The key here is mobility. Both defenses are quick up front, rather than strong. The Falcons have the advantage in the running game as well as QB mobility. Though Rodgers can get out of a jam pretty good. The Packers will have to contain the run without letting Ryan go deep on them too many times. This should be an interesting match-up that will come down to receivers getting open down-field. As much as I want to take the Packers in this game, I have to go with the Falcons at home. That’s that.
No. 4 Seattle Seahawks (8-9) at No. 2 Chicago Bears (11-5)
One of the Bears five losses this year came on the road against the Seahawks. At that point in the season, no one had any idea that the Hawks would end up winning their division at 7-9. To do that, they beat the Rams, then last week took on the Saints at home and didn’t look like a team with a 30th ranked defense. However, back when the Bears lost to the Hawks, they hadn’t yet turned into the tough playoff team you see before you this week. Everyone counted the Seahawks out last week, including me. Of course I did. They won their division at 7-9. While some people are calling for rule changes in the NFL, if anything this proves that it wouldn’t matter a bit. Any given Sunday right? Well, this weekend it should be a bit more predictable. It’d be nice for the Hawks to continue on to the NFC Championship, but this is where it ends. Bears to win at home.
That’s it, see you folks next week when I admit that I was probably wrong once again.