NY Jets at Cincinnati Bengals
A match up of the 2 AFC teams I didn’t pick for the playoffs in my preview. (And no, you didn’t pick the Bengals to beat the Steelers and Ravens all 4 times and win the AFC North…) Everything is telling you that the Jets are the better team right now. Almost every league rank on defense. More weapons on offense. Momentum after destroying the Bengals in the last game of the regular season. But you can’t avoid history. Rookie QB on the road in the playoffs? Can’t do it. Pick: BENGALS
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
[adinserter block=”1″]Another rematch from the last week, but a totally different case than the Jets/Bengals. One team had everything to play for and one team literally had nothing to play for. But the Eagles had a 1st round bye in their hands. And could the Eagles have been more disappointing? So instead the Cowboys get the 3rd seed and the home game AND all the confidence in the world. While an explicit rope-a-dope strategy is unlikely by Philly, there’s no way they play that bad 2 weeks in a row. Again, I’ll go with history and go against the post-season winless Tony Romo. And make no mistake, Wade Phillips is coaching for his job this week. He either wins or gets fired. So don’t squelch those Bill Cower-isn’t-coaching-this-year reports just yet. And Marty Schottenheimer, hold off on a final word on that Buffalo job… Pick: EAGLES
Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots
The Ravens are about 10 points away from 3 more wins, winning their division, and being the most feared team in these playoffs. And the Pats are playing without their MVP for the year because Reliant Stadium has crappy grass. Awesome. I feel great. At least the tape Baltimore has from their match up earlier this year is useless, because NE had Wes Welker then and it will be a totally redesigned offense on Sunday. That said, this is not the same Raven D that simply doesn’t let you run the ball or score points. Joe Flacco has somehow regressed from last season and even in the 1st 3 games of this year. He’s all about confidence and if he’s knocked around and picked off in the 1st half, he’ll get flustered. And since none of those weaknesses play into a strength of the Patriots, I’m thrilled! I’ll still take the Pats at home, where they haven’t lost this year and where Brady has won over 25 straight, in a squeaker. Pick: PATRIOTS
[adinserter block=”2″]Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals
The toss-up-iest of the Wild Card match ups. The Packers are playing their best football right now. The Cardinals are at home and have so many offensive talents. The Packers rolled the Cards in Week 17. The Cardinals knew they would likely play the Packers in the playoffs and could not have played more vanilla on both offense and defense. I will take the Packers on the road, but I will be more shocked by Casey Johnson’s drug overdose than I will be if the Cardinals win at home. Pick: PACKERS
– “The Sweet Nasty” Chris Cause
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