Here’s my thoughts on the playoff games this weekend, quickly.
Not sure when it happened, but suddenly everyone is thinking that the Cardinals are the upset special in Saturday’s game at Carolina. Can we just think back a few weeks ago about how the Cardinals finished their season? Does anyone remember what they looked like in New England? The way the team didn’t even care to show up? How about when the struggled agianst the Seahawks at home? Last weekend, there was a reason the team looked so well rested- they hadn’t showed up to their own football games for almost a month.
In addition to that, does anyone remember how highly everyone thought of Carolina at the end of the season. Sure, the stumble at the Meadowlands vs. the Giants- but come on. This is the same Carolina Panthers team, who has been to the playoffs before, is undefeated at home this season (The only team in the NFL to do that), and has a defense that is capable of playing as well as any, and won’t shoot themselves in the foot with penalties. Here’s a good stat for you. Up until the Giants game in Week 16, the Panthers hadn’t commited one, single Pass Interference penalty all season long. They might commit a couple on Saturday holding back Wide Reciver Larry Fitzgerald, but that stat is an example of how well this team plays on defense.
Last week Kurt Warner sliced up an Atlanta Defense that no one knows anything about (mostly because none of us saw them play all year). In addition to that WR, Boldin might not be playing.
Carolina wins comfortably. I’ll take them -10
The other three games are incredibly hard to call, but I’ll try to do it in short order- so I can get my weekend started.
I’ll go Titans -3. They key should be how well Kerry Collins can play and make decisions. The Ravens made a quarterback who never throws interceptions look foolish last weekend. Kerry needs to stay away from Ed Reed and keep Batlimore’s defense from making that game changing play that wins them games.
I’ll take the Chargers +6. Not sure how this game will end, but I do truely believe that it will be a tight one. Phillip Rivers has all the makings of a big time, clutch quarterback- and the Steelers love to make it to the playoffs and lose in the middle rounds, even at home some what frequently. (They lost in 01 at home vs. NE, 02 @ Ten, 04 at home. NE, and 07 at home vs. Jax). I’m not discrediting making it to the playoffs, but Big Ben has had some let downs in the big game, and did close to nothing when they won the Super Bowl in the ’05-’06 season.
And I’m going Giants -4. The biggest key in the time these two teams met and the Eagles won, was the fact that Brandon Jacobs didn’t play. Jacobs is about as important to the Giants offense as Eli Manning. Jacobs makes the difference and the Giants win.
Happy Weekend Everyone. Enjoy the football (and the snow if you’re living in the north east. Nothing like being snowed in with playoff games on).