Friday, January 11, 2008

NFL Divisional playoffs: Colts need their lucky horse shoe.

Seahawks (+7 ½) at Packers: All of the Packer detractors (including myself) are quick to point out that Green Bay has lost two of its last three home playoff games. While that might be true, can you remember the last time the Pack lost a home postseason game after a bye? Neither can I. Packers win, Hawks cover.

Jaguars (+13) at Patriots: They key here is for the Jags to run the ball down the Patriots’ collective throats and keep the ball away from the vaunted New England offense. And I believe they can, given that the Patriots are very susceptible to the run. But the Jacksonville defense will not be the beneficiary of four turnovers by Pats quarterback Tom Brady as they were last week with Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger. Patriots win and cover.

Chargers (+8 ½) at Colts: When was the last time a defending Super Bowl champion followed up that season with a 13-3 record the next year, and did so relatively unnoticed? Welcome to the world of the Indianapolis Colts. Despite all the headlines going to the New England Patriots for going 16-0, the Colts very quietly put together another championship-caliber season. Even better is they’re finally getting back perennial All-Pro WR Marvin Harrison, who had been out for over half the 2007 season with a bad knee. All the stars finally seem to be aligning for the Colts. Alas, I’m picking this game as my upset special. With no DE Dwight Freeney, the Colts have been hampered by a lack of a pass rush. No doubt the Colts defense will be committed to stopping San Diego RB LaDanian Tomlinson, which will give QB Philip Rivers some downfield opportunities. Rivers showed last week he can take advantage of 8-9 men in the box. And he will do so again on Sunday in what will be the big upset of the playoffs.

Giants (7 ½) at Cowboys: Let’s get one thing straight: If you can beat a team twice in one season, you can beat them a third. Yes, the fallacy of “It’s hard to beat a team three times in one year” has been the big storyline of this matchup. Giants QB Eli Manning has been on a roll, and played well against the Cowboys in the two regular season meetings. But WR Terrell Owens is planning on returning to the Dallas lineup. He torched the Giants in both games this season and is prime for a coming out party. Cowboys win and cover.

Last week's results:

Against the point spread: 2-1-1

Straight up: 2-2


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