Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Picks

I was going to write a much longer post with my picks for Championship weekend but somehow I'm out of time. So this will have to do. As an aside, I really should have done this from the start of the playoffs as I've been fairly accurate (I was utterly convinced that Carolina -10 was absurd last week). At any rate, the picks.

Ravens (+6) over Steelers

I was really leaning towards the Ravens winning outright, if for no other reason than because it's extremely difficult to beat a good team 3 times in the NFL and the Steelers were exceedingly lucky to beat the Ravens twice. But then I started to hear a bit about Baltimore's injury situation and that, combined with a relatively healthy Steelers teams suggests that Baltimore just doesn't have the horses to get to the Super Bowl.

That being said, the Steelers won the first two games 23-20 and 13-9, that's to say, by an average of 3.5 points. So I don't see how they're covering this one. Final score: 16-13 Steelers.

Cardinals (+4) over Eagles

Arizona has had the perfect storm in these playoffs and it continues today. At home versus Arizona, on the road against a Carolina team that they should have beaten in September and with weather more resembling September than January, and now at home versus the Eagles. It would not have been possible for the Cards to advance this far had they started on the road or had they had to play in NY last week for the simple reason that this team does not play well in bad weather.

Now, however, they're playing in a dome, with friskiness and confidence on both sides of the ball, against an Eagles team that is fundamentally the exact same team that lost to the Redskins 10-3 back in week 16. The Eagles too, have had the perfect storm. On the road against Tavaris Jackson (a gift that they almost didn't capitalize on - had it not been for a 70 screen pass TD...) and then on the road against a very pedestrian Eli Manning (who, I might add, has been extremely pedestrian for the majority of his career, except that after last season's Super Bowl run, most people decided to forget that fact and just ignore that he's a terribly inaccurate QB who just wilts when there is any hint of wind).

So I'm not buying that this Eagles team is any good. In fact, I think the NFC Championship teams are probably the weakest two potential Super Bowl teams in recent memory and the winner will surely be dismantled in two weeks by their betters.

At any rate, I think the Cards shut down the run and force the Eagles to pass like 70% of the time (which is kind of like forcing a glutton to the dinner table) and McNabb throws at least one critical INT. On the other side of the ball, I don't see the Iggles stopping Fitzgerald/Boldin.

Bottom line, if the Eagles want to win, they got to put up more than 20 and I don't see that happening. Not with an anemic, one-dimensional offense. Of course, I would have said the same thing last week and looking at their 3-game run makes me wonder what kind of deal Andy Reid struck with the devil after the Redskins game. But no matter, I'll stick with God and Puppies over deals with the Devil.

Cardinals 27-Eagles 20

(And yes, it's utterly galling that the Redskins are 3-0 against the NFC finalists and don't have the opportunity to be come the NFC's sacrificial lamb.)



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