Wednesday, January 06, 2010

2010 NFL Wildcard Weekend

The NFL Playoffs are the best playoffs to experience. The MLB only lets in six teams, the NBA lets everyone in (and runs way too long), and the NHL is not shown in Louisiana. Otherwise I really might watch it. But with the NFL you have twelve teams that are all capable of running the table and forever changing a player's legacy. Look at the 2007 New York Giants. The team wins three grueling playoff games before facing the undefeated New England Patriots. New York pulls off the unlikely upset and for all eternity, regardless of what he does, Eli Manning will always be a Super Bowl champion.

In short, the playoffs are career defining.

With that said here's a look at the wildcard games and who I like to win.


6 Eagles @ 3 Cowboys

Ever since the Cowboys' dismantling of the Saints the team has gotten better each week and the thing of it is the competition has been no pushover. Look at the Eagles last weekend at Cowboys stadium. Cowboys blanked them 24-0. Talk about a statement game. This weekend will be the third meeting between the two teams this year. Here are the three questions looming in my head - 1) Can Dallas beat a good team three times in the same year? 2) Will DeSean Jackson show up for Philadelphia when they play Dallas for once and 3)Are we going to see the Old Playoff Tony Romo or a new and improved Playoff Tony Romo?

Here's the thing Dallas is as good as anyone in the NFL right now. No reason to think this team can not run the tables, much less defeat a Philly team one weak after they embarrassed them. Philly will be pumped after a disappointing loss last week. Dallas will have a small halftime lead, but the third quarter Romo will blow things open, and in turn make Minnesota fans shiver in their sleep. I will take Dallas winning this game by 17 points.

5 Packers @ 4 Cardinals

Here's another matchup between two teams that played each other in Week 17. Despite Green Bay's 33-7 win in Week 17, Arizona was playing it easy as the game was irrelevant to their playoff standing. Add in the fact that the game is indoors (where the Cardinals thrive) and not outdoors (where the Packers thrive) and you see why I have Arizona winning this one. Arizona has showed that is very capable of stepping up for big games. Sure the team has looked shaky, but rest assured when engine is pumping they can compete with anyone. Green Bay will get jumped out right out of the gates and go down 14-0. Green Bay will rally, but ultimately Aaron Rodgers's and company will lose by 14.


6 Ravens @ 3 Patriots

Talk about a playoff changer. Wes Welker's season-ending injury in Week 17 was one of the worst displays of bad luck I have ever seen. You have to feel for the Pats. Despite the notion that with Welker gone New England will be significantly weaker, I still have trouble with ever picking against Belichick in New England. The Pats beat the Ravens early in the year 27-21. Look for round two to be a little more open. The Ravens D will keep Baltimore in the game, but ultimately Joe Flacco will not be able to hang with Tom Brady. Patriots win by 12.

5 Jets @ 4 Bengals

And for the third time a team plays it's wildcard game against the same opponent from Week 17. It's no secret Cincinnati did not intend on playing 60 minutes of football when they came to New York during their 37-0 loss. Do not be fooled. One of the most underrated defensive units this year are the Bengals' D. At the end of the day I look at the fact that Marc Sanchez has been playing very quietly. Meaning? The running game is carrying New York. Sanchez is not forced to make big plays. Cincy will slow down that New York run to the point Sanchez will have to make a big 3rd & 8 play. He will not. Carson Palmer, despite going up against a good New York defense, can do this. That will be the difference. Cincinnati wins this game by 6.

Look for the Cowboys to play at the Vikings, the Cardinals to play at the Saints, the Patriots to play at the Chargers, and the Bengals to play at the Colts. Enjoy the games.

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