Eric’s NFL Divisional Playoff Picks

LAST WEEK: 3-1

AFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS

Saturday, January 16th
#6 BALTIMORE +6 @ #1 INDIANAPOLIS (OVER/UNDER 44pts)
-Colts will be playing their first meaningful game in about a month after tanking on a possible perfect season to win the Super Bowl. HUH???? You need to run the ball well and play some monster defense if you want to play deep into the post-season. Sounds like the Ravens. LB Ray Lewis and that “D” destroyed Tom Brady and the Patriots offense last week. Meanwhile, on offense, Raven RB’s Ray Rice and Willis MacGahee ran through the Pats “D” like a scorching knife through butta, baby!!!

Simply put, the Ravens are HOT having won four of their last five including last week’s 33-14 Wild Card win over New England. In their regular-season meeting, Colts eecked out a 17-15 win. Colts QB “St. Peyton Manning” completed 22 of 31 passes for 299 yards, a TD and two picks. History shows Indy loses its “MOJO” with a playoff bye week going 0-3 in games following the week off. Couple that with the two losses to end the regular season taking the proverbial “pedal off the metal”, doesn’t look good for the Colts. MOJO’s gone again while the Ravens have plenty of it.
RAVENS, 23-20.

Sunday, January 17th
#5 NY JETS +7 @ #2 SAN DIEGO (O/U 42 pts)
-How about the J-E-T-S JETS, JETS, JETS?!?!?!?!? They have the blue-print for a championship team. They have the league’s top defense and top running game. Jets did a number on the Bengals in last week’s, 24-4 Wild Card win in Cincy. DB Darrelle Revis is considered the best in the league. RB Thomas Jones ran for just over 1400 yards and 14 TD’s during the regular season. But he’s got bad knees and only had 34 yards in the win.

Rookie QB Mark Sanchez is playing solid. All he has to do is hand-off. Jets are in trouble when Sanchez has to pass. 12 TD’s and 20 INT’s during the season. If they’re behind they’re in trouble. They’re in over their heads against the Bolts. Too much balanced fire-power. QB Philip Rivers ranked third in the league in passing. He’s got a trio of big receivers (Vincent Jackson, Malcolm Floyd & Antonio Gates) that’ll give the Jets “D” fits. Chargers are now a passing team. But they’ve got balance on the ground with some guy named LaDainian Tomlinson and his little buddy, Darren Sproles. They’re top-10 defensively and their special teams are the best around. This is the year the Bolts play in the final game of the season.
CHARGERS, 38-10.

NFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS

Saturday, January 16th
#4 ARIZONA +2 @ #1 NEW ORLEANS (O/U 57pts)
-If you thought last week’s Green Bay/Arizona game was a shootout, be ready for a repeat. Two teams with incredible fire-power and mediocre defense. Although, both aren’t that bad. Last week, the Cardinals defense gave up a lot of yardage and points. But they came up big when they had too. Early in the game, a couple of picks resulted in 14 points. In overtime, a fumble resulted in the game-winner. They went with the flow.

Saints were rolling and winning shoot-outs as well. Once they suffered a couple of injuries in their secondary, they lost three straight to end the season. Not good. They’re back at full strength. Cards QB Kurt Warner and Saints QB Drew Brees will put up the points. Ultimately, like last week, it’ll come down to who wins the turn-over battle. So hard to pick against the Saints in the Superdome. But, they really haven’t played in a month. The Cards are battle-tested having gone to the big game last year. Believe it or not, their defense is better than last year’s that fell 4 points shy of the World Championship. This is also going over-time.
CARDINALS, 38-35 (OT).

Sunday, January 17th
#3 DALLAS  +2.5 @ #2 MINNESOTA (O/U 45.5pts)
-Wow, this one brings back memories of Roger Staubach’s “Hail Mary” game-winner to Drew Pearson at freezing Metropolitan Stadium in 1975. More like nightmares for me. Cowboys beat the Rams in L.A. the following week with a super Bowl berth on the line, 37-7. Left at halftime and got home in time to see the last five minutes. UGH! But, I digress.

Could be a “Hail Mary” that decides this one. 40 year old Vikes QB Brett Favre came out of retirement to Minnesota for this reason. He is the “missing piece” to a Vikings Super Bowl title. I believe that. Doesn’t mean they’ll get it done. Cowboys are hot with QB Tony Romo (who I still think is the most over-hyped and over-rated QB in league history) has exorcised his December Demons with huge wins over New Orleans, and two over Philadelphia. The key is the Cowboys running game. If they run the ball 30 times using Marion Barber and Felix Jones, it takes all that pressure off Romo. When they don’t, Romo’s skiddish and the Cowboys get shelled.

Favre has the league’s most imposing running back in Adrian Peterson. There’s also Chester Taylor. Those guys run, Favre will have all day to throw to guys like Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin. Both defenses are stellar. Cowboys are anchored by LB DeMarcus Ware. The Vikings are led by DE Jared Allen. Vikings got away from their winning formula for a couple of games. /they woke up at halftime of that Monday Nighter against Chicago scoring 30 points in the loss and destroyed the New York Giants the following week in the finale, 44-7. That’s 77 points in six quarters. Vikings are all back on the same page. Look out!!
VIKINGS, 31-17.

MISSED PLAYOFFS: LOS ANGELES*
*15 years, 19 weeks and counting.

One last thing. Although the Pete Carroll Era’s over at USC, what fun it was when they were so dominant. Everyone tuned in to see how much they’d beat someone by every week, or we got to see the unbelievable upset by some David over the Trojan Goliath. It’s perfect timing for him to go back to the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks will benefit from his energetic style. USC will be fine with Carroll disciple Lane Kiffin taking over the reins. Until L.A.’s new NFL team(s) are up and running, Carroll will make NFL Sunday more interesting for us, especially if the Water-Birds score points like Carroll’s SC teams did.

Remember, use my picks to wager $$$ at your own risk. If you lose, I had nothing to do with it. If you win beaucoup $$$, a 10% tip would be cool.  But, I’m realistic. This is just for your entertainment…or not, and for me to keep my sports “mojo” going until “I’m back in the saddle”. Remember the league’s unofficial motto…“ON ANY GIVEN SUNDAY, MONDAY, THURSDAY, FRIDAY OR SATURDAY“…………

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