Friday, January 15, 2010

NFL Playoffs: Divisional round

Cardinals (+7) at Saints: Given what the Cards did last week to one of the NFL’s top defenses, this game looks to be a shootout as well. The Saints ranked number one in total offense in the NFL during the regular season (4th in passing yards, 6th in rushing) and are coming into this game well rested. Naturally, both teams are going to play the “us against the world” card. Arizona, despite being the defending NFC champs, was a decided underdog last week against Green Bay. And some are beginning to doubt New Orleans, who stumbled to a 13-3 finish after starting 13-0. But the difference here will be the defensive line play. Arizona has to be pretty well wrung out after getting being torched by Aaron Rodgers & Co. in the wildcard round last week. I anticipate Saints QB Drew Brees may be a little rusty at the start but will eventually find his rhythm. The Cards will get theirs offensively but it won’t be enough.

Saints 38 Cardinals 28

Ravens (+7) at Colts: After forcing Patriots QB Tom Brady into four turnovers last week, the Ravens will need to do something similar to Colts quarterback Peyton Manning this week. Baltimore QB Joe Flacco will most assuredly need to complete more than four passes this game if his club is to continue another magical postseason run. And another 159 yard rushing performance from Ray Rice wouldn’t hurt either. Meanwhile, in the minds of the Colts fans, this season will be considered a miserable failure for Indianapolis if they don’t go all the way. With a third quarter lead in week 16 against the Jets, Colts head coach Jim Caldwell pulled many of his starters (including Manning) in the third quarter. The Jets would rally to beat the Colts backups and thus the dream of an undefeated season went by the boards. These two teams met in week 11 of the regular season with Indianapolis squeaking out a 17-15 win in Baltimore. I don’t anticipate this game being that close.

Colts 30 Ravens 21

Cowboys (+3) at Vikings: Dallas is the exact type of team which gives Minnesota matchup nightmares. The Cowboys have a big, physical offensive line that could wear down the leaner, quicker Vikings D-line. Vikes DE Jared Allen will absolutely have to win his battle against LT Flozell Adams. However, QB Tony Romo has a very quick release and takes a lot of three-step drops. On the other side of the equation, the Vikings O-line has been beat up lately when facing only three and four man rushes. If Dallas decides to blitz, it could be an especially long day. But Brett Favre should have some opportunities against the 20th ranked pass defense in the NFL. With RB Adrian Peterson having been a virtual non-factor for the past month, he has a chance to really step up against a defense allowing 4.0 yards per carry against the run. But if the Vikings fall behind quickly, AP may once again be insignificant. Home field, I believe, will be the Vikes’ saving grace, as they ran the table at home during the regular season.

Vikings 28 Cowboys 24

Jets (+8) at Chargers: Many consider San Diego the favorite to win the Super Bowl and with good reason. They won their last eleven games during the regular season and have clearly become QB Philip Rivers’ team. Rivers was third in the NFL in passer rating (behind only Brees and Favre), tied for sixth in TD passes and eighth in passing yardage. However, he will definitely be tested against the league’s top defense, who allowed only eight regular season TD passes. Combine that with the fact that the Jets running game (number one in the NFL in rushing offense) will be going against a Chargers’ defense which allowed 4.5 yards per carry, this game will be closer than many think. But even if Jets all pro CB Darrelle Revis is able to shut down the Chargers top WR Vincent Jackson, Rivers still has an embarrassment of offensive riches with top-tier TE Antonio Gates, WR Malcolm Floyd and RBs Darren Sproles and LaDainian Tomlinson.

Chargers 27 Jets 20

Playoff record:

Straight up: 1-3

Against the spread: 1-3



michael gilchrist said...

The Vikings need to protect Favre and open a few holes for AP if they want to win this game. I think that if they can get out to an early lead, Romo will choke in intimidating environment like the Metrodome.

Mr. D said...

Benster and I will make our picks tonight, but you see it about the way I do, Brad. In re the Vikings, I do think Jared Allen will beat Flozell Adams. But he'll have to be careful, because Flozell might be the dirtiest player in the league.

K-Rod said...

Excellent picks, Brad.

Except that:
Cards 35 aints 31

And that the Vikes may need at least 31 points to win the game.

LDUTheCoach said...

This week TheCoach has the Cardinals in a close battle… the reason being is because the Saints simply screwed themselves by benching starters in the last week of the season… They haven’t won a game in a month now with the BYE and haven’t won’t a meaningful game since the Patriots or looked good winning in the process. I don’t trust the way the Saints decided to finished off the season and even if they do win… no way they cover the touchdown spread…

Indy on the other hand can win this game, it once again will be closer than the touchdown spread predicts though. Baltimore is playing great smash-mouth football but I am concerned at the fact they are playing Peyton Manning who can single handily win a game as we have seen many times.

Minnesota played out the season and of course we all know what happened, they stomped the Giants 44-7 (who beat Dallas twice this season) but lets be realistic in the fact that Dallas is playing the best football since 1996 but Romo is finally playing football since ditching Jessica Simpson. Good move for his stats!

Last but not least, I know everyone is saying the Chargers are going to kill the Jets, but again, Vegas is giving to many points here (7.5). The Jets match up so well against the Chargers, Revis blanket whoever he wants, and they stop the run while running the ball against a Chargers team who other than week 17 when they played the Redskins, gave up 100+ on the ground to 6 straight opponents to finish off the season.

Also, to finish off since 2005, seven teams have won round one on the round and they are 7-0 against the spread in the 2nd round (take Baltimore and New York)

For a full in depth write up with TheCoach Prediction visit:

Best of luck to all this week…