Dogs have established a lead. I think they’re in trouble as this
moves along… with Philadelphia and New York as their Super Bowl
choices… but stranger things have happened. A strong weekend here…
especially if they can keep the Jets advancing… and the rest of
us will be running out of options when it comes to catching them.
pair went 3-1 last week… missing the exact same game. Gus had
Philadelphia in the full playoff selections… and Molly took the
Eagles with the spread.
pulled in behind them at 2-2 in both areas. The rest of us are
sitting at 1-3.
is in deep trouble. Her Super Bowl pick of Green Bay against New
England is gone, and she has no place to gather any more points.
So while picking against the spread will be there for her… the
reality is that in the beginning-to-end, she’s already secured
at least a tie for last place.
a quick review of what we all picked for this week when we made
our predictions for the entire playoffs…
- (Balt) at Indy
- (NY) at SD
- (Ari) at NO
- (Dal) at Minn
here are my thoughts on this week’s games…
at Indianapolis (6½)
– I suppose what scares me most about this game is that just about
everyone seems to be pointing at this as the surprise of the weekend.
Oh sure… some people are saying the Saints were inconsistent or
that the Vikings will be picked off by a hot Cowboys team. That’s
not my point. Those aren’t surprises. Instead, I’ve been saying
for weeks… quite literally, dating well back into November… that
a 14-2 Colts club was going to lose their first playoff game.
I didn’t find anything that shocking about it. But now I see all
these articles and reports where people are telling you (my words)
“hey, the Ravens could win” in a fashion that seems to indicate
they think they’re presenting some amazing information. But since
everyone really seems to understand the Colts are not a really
threatening top seed, it all ends up sounding like way too many
people are hopping on the bandwagon for the Ravens. Oh well… I’m
sticking to my guns here. I love the running game… especially
Ray Rice… and think Baltimore can keep pace with Indy, and will
play better than others have fared if they can get a lead. I like
that the Ravens probably feel like the first contest between these
two was stolen from them. And I like that Indianapolis isn’t likely
to present an imposing presence on a visiting team. (Seriously…
people picking the Cardinals… you know what the Superdome is going
to be like… right? Chances are you won’t be able to hear a thing
from the person next to you for about a mile radius around the
place. Here in Indy? In the third quarter you’ll hear pins dropping.)
York (Jets) at San Diego (7½)
– Let’s take a look at the New York Jets for a moment. They lost
7 times. Once, New Orleans beat them by 14. Another time, New
England dominated them 31-14. In the 5 other losses, they never
were defeated by more than 5 points. The truth is simple… they
may not be a great club, but the Jets pretty much either win games
or lose close. Worth noting. The problem is, San Diego is a team
that doesn’t fit nicely into some evaluation of whether or not
New York can cover… or even win. This isn’t Cincinnati or New
England. Instead, the Chargers have faced good teams and have
lost, faced good teams and have won close, and faced good teams
and have blown them out. (Examples… Denver… Dallas… and, well,
Denver.) But more often than not, when it was close… go back to
that Dallas game… the final score was not a reflection of what
took place on the field. My point being, it’s really hard to get
a feel on this game that allows you to say you’re comfortable.
Sure the Jets have a good defense… the trouble is they may not
score more than 10 points in this game. Is the New York defense
that good? Can they keep the Chargers to field goals and 14 or
so points? No… and no. The unfortunate thing is, I can see this
game turning into one of those never in doubt games… 21-7 or 24-10
with 5 minutes to go or so, and the Chargers beginning to look
ahead to Baltimore or Indianapolis. And near the end New York
sneaks in a field goal or two, or perhaps a late score, while
San Diego is hooting and hollering and shaking hands. And suddenly,
the game ends 21-16. The Chargers are worried about advancing…
the Chargers are not worried about advancing with an 8-plus point
win. Add to that this one observation… if the Jets have to throw,
the Jets won’t win. And that leads me to believe they shouldn’t
be scoring late to make the scoreboard look closer than the game
Bob: San Diego
Terry: New York
Dad: San Diego
Mike: New York
Molly: San Diego
at New Orleans (7)
– Let me ask you a quick question… after what you saw from the
Arizona defense against Green Bay, do you have confidence that
the Cardinals can keep the Saints from scoring 20-points? I start
looking at this game with that question because I think there
are two important things to consider here, and both can be viewed
in part based on your answer to that question. 20 or less points.
Can they do it? I mean… sure… we know New Orleans limped into
the playoffs. They lost their last three games. But… they won
every game they scored more than 20-points… and… they never lost
a game where their opponents scored over 24. The resulting thoughts
are simple. First thought, if you think New Orleans will score…
then you think New Orleans will win. And second thought, if you
think Arizona will score… then you think New Orleans will win.
If the Saints cross that 20-point mark, their record this year
says they will win the game. And, if this becomes a shootout,
the Saints have also established they will win those games too.
What were are looking at here is easy enough to say… the Cardinals
need to pressure Brees and keep New Orleans off the scoreboard…
very hard to do. And all of this talk that Arizona is clicking
and ready to make a playoff run for the second year in a row…
consider this. About two months ago the Cardinals defeated Minnesota.
Shockwaves were felt. Arizona looked fantastic in that contest.
Could they actually be in the hunt for the second seed? The next
week they got clobbered by San Francisco, and went 2-2 to finish
the season. I’m not taking anything out of an amazingly entertaining
game last week when it comes to predicting this contest.
Bob: New Orleans
Gus: New Orleans
at Minnesota (3) –
I don’t have much to share with you. Either defense could completely
control this game. Either quarterback could go turnover happy
and commit several… or play a decent game and turn it over late
to decide the game. Either offense could get on a roll and just
run all over the field. This is the only game of the three that
I don’t feel 100% confident about. And in the end, I just happen
to trust the Vikings to win a bit more.