0-2 on Saturday 2-0 on Sunday. I’ll take it since I hit one parlay at least. Wild card weekend is always fun, but the real matchups start in the Divisional round, and what better way to have it play out than two games with divisional rivals! Stat of the week for the divisional round. The home teams are 10-10 in the divisional round over the last five years. So, I guess I have to take two road teams this week to keep that trend going. I’m loving all the trash talking going on this week, which just gives us a few more things to watch over the weekend.
2-2 last week, not bad, but I could do better. I do feel I deserve some bonus points for predicting the Seattle upset. Anyway, as Jay-Z would say “On to the next, on on to the next one”.
Baltimore @ Pittsburgh (-3)
Chappy picks Baltimore (+3). I’ve been leaning on the Ravens and Steelers all season with my picks, and have declared it the best division in football from time to time. It’s really a coin flip when these two teams hook up, because they are basically the same team built the same way. I honestly think the Steelers will win, but I usually pick this match up wrong, so this time I’m going with the team that’s getting points. The road team won both games this year when they matched up, so I’m hoping that trend continues with this pick. If Polamalu is the Steelers best player, and he isn’t 100% then I feel like it might be one of those injuries that makes him ineffective. Kind of like when Freeney was hurt in the Super Bowl last year. He was on the field, but not really there, which is a huge blow to the heart of the D. I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is the first time we see the new overtime rules tested.
By picks Baltimore (+3). This is the first of three tough match ups this weekend (not including the spread), can you guess which one is the odd game out? Pittsburgh is a legit contender, and given the fact that they’re at home this weekend should be enough for me to pick them. But there’s something I don’t like about the Steelers that I can’t quite get my finger on in this match up, and therefore I choose the Ravens. Perhaps I just get the feeling Baltimore’s destined to make a trip to Texas come February, and I’ve done a pretty decent job with going with my gut instincts this season. Also, I can’t root against a Harbaugh right now.
Green Bay @ Atlanta (-2.5)
Starks is the key on Saturday
Chappy picks Atlanta (-2.5). I think I’ll be rooting for the Packers in this one. Mostly because I’ve had a mini-mancrush on Rodgers for a while, but that doesn’t mean I think they will win. The Falcons are one of the few complete teams top to bottom. They might not be flashy or have a true identity like everybody wants them to have, but they get the job done. I think this is going to be a close game, and if the Falcons show any rust after having a week off, the Packers need to take advantage of it early. I still just can’t talk myself into Starks having two big games in a row out of nowhere. The Packers D has been great lately, but they haven’t faced as balanced of a team as Atlanta in a while. Turner’s running should neutralize Clay Matthews pass rush a little bit as the game goes along. The Falcons have given up 18 points or fewer and gotten two takeaways in all of their last four games. If they hold the Packers under 18 points, I see them winning.
By picks Atlanta (-2.5). This is difficult pick for personal reasons. I’m a huge Cal fan, as my girlfriend is an alumni, so Aaron Rodgers is among my favorite signal callers to cheer for, and aside from where he went to school, he throws a pretty ball, which I admire. But for some reason, I’ve become a ginormous Matt Ryan supporter, and I can’t bail ship on him and the Falcons now. Plus I still think the Falcons have too many weapons on offense to be contained over four quarters. Atlanta in this one.
This isn't Qwest Field, Seattle.
Seattle @ Chicago (-10)
Chappy picks Seattle (+10). I can’t remember the last time I saw a double-digit line in the second round of the playoffs. I’m almost positive the Bears will win, because they know how to tackle better than the Saints, but feel like it will be somewhat close. The Bears like to keep games close with all those negative plays they rack up. Did you know that Forte and Cutler have combined for a whopping 134 negative plays!?! I didn’t until Skip Bayless just told me. The Seattle defense looked great against the Saints. I think they will look equally as good against a lesser offense. Take the points in this one even if you don’t really believe in Seattle.
By picks Chicago (-10). Giving up ten points in a divisional playoff game is tough, but two reasons why I think the Bears cover are: A) Seattle isn’t going to sneak up on anybody now and B) They won’t have the twelfth man behind them in this one, which was a huge advantage for them last week. In fact, being that they’re going to be playing out in the cold, I give Seattle little chance to crack double digits in points here. Chicago big.
New York Jets @ New England (-9)
BB vs RR
Chappy picks New England (-9). Did I already say I loved the trash talking going on this week? Okay, just checking. Cromartie said he hates Tom Brady. When asked about it again he didn’t pull a Lebron and take back what he said, he re-enforced it saying he’s hated him since 2006. I guess I just like to throw in Lebron jabs where I can. Anyways, this game is the one I’m least looking forward to. Actually, I’m not really that excited about the Sunday slate overall, but hopefully I’m pleasantly surprised with some good football. This game should be cool if you’re a Patriots fan. Belichick always has his guys ready, and with an extra week they probably have a brand new playbook. Brady knows how to score points on the Jets, and with them missing their talented safety Jim Leonard, the Patriots will be hitting their tight ends all game long. The only way the Jets stay close enough to pull out a miracle is if they dominate the time of possession. I’m thinking a 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 ratio in their favor is their only hope.
By picks N.Y. (+9). Not sure why New England’s giving up nine here, are the Jets that bad? Would the odd makers give the Colts nine. Anyway, enough with the talk, let’s get it on! I can’t wait for this game to start. I do feel an upset brewing though, the Jets may talk a big game, but they’re also in a position where they have nothing to lose. No one expects them to win, I mean they’re nine-point dogs for crying out loud. Rex Ryan will motivate these guys come Sunday and at the very least they’ll cover.