2-for-2 Saturday, 0-for-Sunday
I picked both Saturday games correctly, and then bombed big time on Sunday’s guesses. Looking forward to this coming divisional weekend, I rather hope my Sunday picks are spot-on this time around.
Arizona (11-6) at New Orleans (13-3)
Arizona’s offense rolled in the desert and I fully expect it to take New Orleans by storm (too soon?). Kurt Warner threw five touchdowns against four incomplete passes against a numerically strong Green Bay defense.
For the first thirteen games, New Orleans was unstoppable – thirteen wins and only a couple of them were even close. But they lost their last three games and haven’t had a convincing win since November. A defense that seemed to score every week has lost that big play ability. Going up against Kurt Warner and his plethora of big-play receivers sure isn’t going to help.
Meanwhile, Arizona outgunned a loaded Green Bay team after finding a passable running game by the end of the season. Don’t be surprised if this game ends up being very similar to the one that just ended in Glendale. Drew Brees and Kurt Warner should both be ready to fling the ball all over the turf of the Superdome. At the very least, expect it to be a better game than the last game at the Superdome. CARDINALS 41, SAINTS 40
Baltimore (10-7) at Indianapolis (14-2)
The Ravens are coming off upsetting the mighty Bill Belichicks in Foxboro and the Colts haven’t played a complete game in about a month. The Colts say the rest will trump the rust, but that hasn’t played out all that well for the Colts in the past. People may be thrown off by the Colts’ last two games, but their first fourteen are far more indicative of their true talent level. They will not roll into this game unprepared.
With the Ravens coming off a dominant showing from their ground game, and the Colts ranking 24th in run defense this year, the Ravens may have a chance to establish themselves early in this game. But if the Colts can hold Rice and McGahee in check like they did earlier this season (98 combined yards), I can’t be optimistic about Joe Flacco doing enough to beat Peyton Manning.
Ultimately, I think the rest wins out over the rust and momentum and the Colts soothe their fans nerves at least for another week. COLTS 24, RAVENS
Dallas (12-5) at Minnesota (12-4)
Minnesota faltered down the stretch until they waxed the mail-it-in Giants on the last day of the season. Brett Favre avoided the late-season swoon that doomed him and the Jets last season, and is still playing at a very high level. Who would have thought that this team, which so prominently featured Adrian Peterson last year, would so quickly become all about Favre? Oh right, everybody.
Dallas comes into this game hotter than perhaps anybody else in the NFC crapshoot. A defense that’s peaking at the right time and an offense that is extremely balanced and talented in both running and passing the ball. The offense moves the chains and eat the clock, but with Miles Austin, Tony Romo and Felix Jones, there’s always the threat of a big play.
While Minnesota’s offense has continued to play well, the defense has slipped since a fast start. COWBOYS 31, VIKINGS 24
New York (10-7) at San Diego (13-3)
The Jets may have backed into the playoffs, but they proved they belonged with another dominant performance on Saturday. The Chargers are heavy favorites, but the Jets match up well against their second round opponent. If the New York defense has a weakness, it’s against the run – San Diego ranked 31st in rush offense. San Diego’s has the same defensive weakness, but the Jets own the top-ranked rushing attack, and Shonn Greene and his offensive line are playing especially well of late.
The Chargers have one of the best passing attacks in football with Malcolm Floyd, Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates going up against the best pass defense in the NFL. But Darelle Revis can’t cover all three of the Chargers big targets. Guys like Kerry Rhodes and Dwight Lowery are going to need to play big.
If New York shuts down the vertical passing game, then Rivers can look to Darren Sproles, who is very dangerous in space. With LBs David Harris and Bart Scott playing on gimpy ankles, Sproles could have a huge game catching bubble screens and short slants out of the backfield.
The Chargers have won 11 games in a row, but four of their last five wins have been by three points or less. They’re certainly not invincible. JETS 20, CHARGERS 17
Posted on January 11, 2010, in Sports and tagged antonio gates, brett favre, cardinals, chargers, colts, cowboys, drew brees, jets, kurt warner, nfl, peyton manning, philip rivers, ravens, saints, shonn greene, tony romo, vikings. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.