We’re back! The Patriots are back in the playoffs.
A small cadre of Patriot Fans’ have put our weekly picks out there for your entertainment through the entire NFL regular season. Considering the Patriots are in, we have decided to continue through the playoffs for you as well.
My compatriots are TR, Steve Frith, EA, C. Douglas Baker. In the past we have had requests for the statistics on how we actually did with our picks. We’re not big on statistics, but I did take the time to compile those statistics for our readers.
272 regular season games
Total Games Picked
As you can see, wee have not been overly accurate with our regular season picks. It hasn’t been for a lack of trying, I think it’s been tough for everyone to make accurate picks this year.
We tried to get a full panel but EA got put on restriction and had his computer privileges revoked so this week Steve Frith, TR, C.Douglas Baker and myself are making the picks once again. Considering the number of games to be contested per week in the playoffs we have found that there is a lot more page space to fill up….that’s not really a problem for these verbose Patriot fans; On to the picks.
SF: In a toss up, I'm going to give this one to the Bengals, because I don't think that the Jets weak offense, led by a rookie QB can get past the Bengals defense. Expect a close game, but only thanks to the Jets defense, and a loss thanks to rookie mistakes by Jets QB Mark Sanchez.
Let me spell it out for you, Sanchez (or as your fans were cheering the first three games you won "Sanchize")...LOL! I'll be Laughing Out Loud when your loudmouth coach starts crying AGAIN—this time because of a first round playoff loss!
TR: The Bengals rolled over for the Jets last week, in a disgrace of a game that the Jets never should have won. Don’t get me wrong, the Jets look like they have a strong future, but this isn’t it.
Cincinnati, on the other hand, was effective for most of the regular season, enough so to win the AFCN. Carson Palmer put up some decent numbers, and Chad Ochocinco decided to shut up and play football. Cedric Benson had the best season of his career, and even Larry Johnson managed to contribute after he was released by the Chiefs.
The real story has been the defense, however. They have kept this team afloat long enough to get here.
But the point in the season arrived when the Bengals began a somewhat predictable descent, and by season’s end, they were playing mediocre football. The question now becomes: can they return to form, or will they find it impossible to climb back into the mix? The Jets are a fair enough defensive team, and I believe they are playing with a fire that the Bengals haven’t known in weeks.
Shoot me, but I’m calling the Jets. Hey, this isn’t making me happy either, but the consolation is that they’re done after this one anyway.
CDB: The Bengals looked like the Bungles of old against the Jets last week, even though most of their starters played. It was an embarrassing display of professional football. I am sure they will play better this week but how do you flip a switch in a week and come out and beat a team that just embarrassed you? I don’t think they will. I think the Jets win a close one.
GC: I seriously think the Jets were blessed to be able to secure a playoff spot. The Bengals may well have masterminded this scenario themselves. They did get to see the best that the Jets have to offer in their last outing.
Were the Bengals smart enough to hold back a killer game plan to just have this replay in the playoffs?
Despite all that conspiracy thinking I expect the Jets to be a tough team to beat in this game. The Bengals will have to protect the ball and watch their penalties. In the end, the Bengals are the better team and will win and continue on in the playoffs.
SF: What the hell happened to the Eagles on their last game of the season? Did they forget their happy pills or something? And what's with the Cowboys winning in December, and winning against top teams? The Eagles had better come out on top, or their fair weather fans will hang poor McNabb by his toenails...again. If the Cowboys lose, look for their fans to blame everyone but Romo (look out, Jessica). I'm giving this one to the Eagles—as I think that Romo will choke as he usually does when his team needs him most.
TR: Prior to last week’s stinker on this same field, the Eagles had reeled off six in a row, a fair streak for a team that had lost to Oakland earlier in the season. Donovan McNabb has seen it all in his career and in this season has experienced some remarkable highs and shattering lows. The Cowboys won both regular season matchups, and on the heels of the week 17 beatdown, I have to wonder if the Cowboys simply have their number this year. They haven’t given up much.
The Eagles have such an explosive offense, I can’t see them stifled two weeks in a row by a team they know as well as they know Dallas. And Tony Romo is putting up some of the best numbers of his career, so this game could turn into a shootout.
Count on the Eagles to keep it close, but in the end, Dallas makes a real sweep out of this series.
CDB: The Eagles laid an egg last week against Dallas despite playing many of their starters. The Eagles had been playing well of late but Dallas has too. Dallas seems to be the hotter team at the moment, and they are playing at home. In fact, Dallas is playing well enough to run the table. Take the Cowboys at home.
GC: After last weeks beat down I think the Eagles will show up big time this week for the playoffs.
Donovan McNabb doesn’t get as much mention as an elite quarter back as he should. He’s had a good long run with Philadelphia and he has to be watching the clock now days. He is not going to get many more chances to make it to the Super Bowl in his career.
They’re going to blame this Cowboy loss on Tony Romo again, but it really is going to be about the Eagles team rallying around McNabb. Eagles win the rematch, but it’s not going to be easy.
Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots
SF: Ok, no brainer for me. I don't see the Ravens beating the Pats at home in January. With any luck, it'll snow, and the advantage will definitely belong to the Pats. On the Ravens website, they've got a video showing multiple hits on Brady in their meeting this past season.
Who won that game? Oh, that's right—THE PATRIOTS DID, 27-21, and it was at the Razor, too. Hope that the Ravens enjoy the rest of the playoffs from their couches.
TR: So much has been said and written about the hit taken by the Patriots as a result of Welker’s injury, I am not even going into it. The Patriots have some horses on offense, and every one of them needs to move from trot to gallop, including Tom Brady. Spread the ball around, son, don’t get Edelman killed. I don’t know how much to expect from the running game, but I hope every RB suited up plays a role. And do not give Maroney the ball inside the five—make that the ten.
Defensively, things are actually more complicated. These rookies are not rookies anymore, having played an entire season now. Statistically, they are middling in some key categories, but they remain stingy with the points. However, it isn’t about the yards they are giving up, or the points. It’s about when they are giving them up. It’s no secret that these kids are selling the house cheap in the fourth quarter, and that has to stop immediately.
This problem is one part inexperience, one part having a lead to nurse, and two or three parts utterly unimaginative play-calling; Time to wake up.
The Ravens have defeated themselves with dumb penalties, so the Patriots need to avoid doing the same in order to capitalize on these mistakes. I respect Baltimore, but I’m going with the Patriots, once again. My homerism is appalling.
CDB: The only reason Baltimore beat Oakland last week is Charlie Frye got hurt and JaMarcus Russell handed the Ravens two turnovers, which sealed the game for the Ravens. Everyone is jumping on the Ravens wings this week since the Patriots lost Wes Welker. The Ravens tend to play to the level of their opponent. I think the Patriots will win a close one.
GC: You have to love home field advantage for the Patriots at the “Razor.” Haven’t they won like 98 per cent of all games ever played in this stadium? I’m going to give the Patriots the win just for that reason alone.
I’m not saying that the Ravens won’t give the Patriots a hell of a fight. Those guys just don’t lay down for the games.
The key for the Pats is to keep the defenders from hang off Brady’s shoulder pads for a few split seconds more this weekend as he is going to have to pay closer attention to his progression reads without his favorite possession receiver, Wes Welker. Spread the ball around, Brady, spread it around.
SF: Sorry Pack fans—it's a one-and-done for you and your team. Hey, at least you can still watch Favre advance in the playoffs...maybe Rodgers can take some notes, too, seeing how Brett is having a terrific season. Cards offense led by QB Kurt Warner will pull this out in the fourth quarter, as the Packers offense fail to rally in the fourth.
TR: This is the hardest game of the weekend for me. Green Bay has quietly slipped in the back door while I was waiting for the Cardinals to slip out the same way. With Anquan Boldin still trying to get past a sprained ankle, Arizona’s inconsistency will catch up with them.
The Packers are a team on the upswing and Arizona is, well, not. Go Pack!
CDB: Like the Eagles and Bungles, the Cardinals didn’t show up for their game last week against Green Bay. Again, momentum counts for something going into the playoffs. Aaron Rodgers has emerged as an elite quarterback and the Packers are playing well and are on a roll. I’m going with Green Bay.
GC: The Cardinals have been inconsistent but they have not been consistently bad. The Packers are going to see a different team with Kurt Warner under center.
On the other hand the packers have a very good defense. They are fifth in pass defense and number one in interceptions and number one in run defense. As they say, “defense wins in the playoffs.” The Green Bay Packers will win this game and stay alive for another week.