Cincy @ Houston – while I’ve noticed that Cincy seems to be the sexy pick among analysts, I just can’t go there. Cincy is decent and Andy Dalton/Green and the D make them a team that can win any game at any team. I like Andy Dalton – good player. But I don’t like Marvin Lewis and I think they roll into Houston and get beaten pretty soundly. While many find supporting evidence for the Cincy upset pick by pointing out Houston’s shortcomings over the last few weeks, understandably, I have a different read on things. I think this is a team that was just stumbling into the playoffs hoping to just get there in decent shape – and then do some damage. I think that’s what will happen at least in their first game. Houston 27, Cincy 16.
Vikes @ Packers – I am concerned about AP and his ability. The guy is one of the best RBs to ever play the game and even though he continues to run over my team, I still enjoy watching the guy play. But today, for some reason, I don’t think he’s going to be as awesome as he’s been in his last 6-7 games. While he’ll likely get 100 yards, I don’t know if he’ll get much more than that. And one major reason why is that the Vikes will be playing from behind. I would bet lots of money on Christian Ponder having 2+ turnovers today – and I wouldn’t be surprised if that number reached 4. Coupled with a fast offensive start by the Packers, I don’t think the Vikes have a chance. The Vikes are much better than anyone expected them to be, so I am in no way taking this game lightly. But I almost think the tough lost last week will give us extra incentive to go out there and take care of business from the first snap. Packers 34, Vikes 17.
Seattle @ Wash – Seattle again seems to be the sexy pick. And they have been quite strong this year and quite strong recently. Their defense can be good, but their D has had a few shaky games too. I think Seattle is a bit overrated at the moment and I expect a let down in the playoffs at some point. In fact, I’ll go on record saying the letdown happens tomorrow at Wash. RGIII is very, very good – even hobbled a bit. The guy finished 2nd to Rodgers in QB rating and completion % – that’s crazy for a rookie. Throw in there his scrambling ability, Alfred Morris and what will surely be a raucous home crowd in Wash, and I think Wash pulls out a close one here. Wash 20, Seattle 16.
Indy @ Balt – This is a tough game to pick. Balt has been up and down, mostly down, and Indy has been riding a season-long wave of emotional momentum that could very well help them upset Balt tomorrow. But there is something about Harbaugh/Ray Lewis returning intensity that I think will carry Balt through here. I don’t expect them to run away with the game (like the spread indicates), but I do think they will pull out a dogfight. Balt 20, Indy 13.
I like your picks, but here is a few thoughts I have.
AP has terrorized in every game down the stretch. He’s not slowing down, and while you never said it, if he’s not slowing down, your not going to slow him down. They may have better success today than the past 2 times, but the past 2 times we’ve had zero success.
He is an amazing player to watch, such an awesome brand of football and running. It’s just fun watching how good he is, he’s the best back in the league, and maybe ever in the game.
Joe Webb might be starting. This worries me the most. While it’s playoffs and the atmosphere might be very difficult for Webb, it’s still something the defense is not ready for. And he’s been preparing to play against. While the odds may lean to this kid choking (can a player who never starts choke?) and really struggling and showing that he hasn’t been the starter, he could have some success.
In the past we’ve been lit up by teams with guys we have very little film on and preparation on. Defense needs to be careful with him. If he was a pocket passer, I’d be less concerned, but he scrambles a lot and that will allow for holes in the defense.
I like your idea of the Texans stumbling into the playoffs.. While it’d be hard to think that’s actually true, I credit you with an original thought there.
The most intriguing thing about Wash Seattle is how these 2 rookie QBs have such incredible composure all season. The one who can’t handle the pressure of a playoff game today will lose. Although Seattle’s defense is good enough to win it themselves. And Russel just needs to realize he doesn’t need to be fancy the defense will go to work. And as dangerous as Seattle is, GB has some unfinished business with them. While they didn’t make the call, they still got a win off of us, I hope to meet them again and take it back.
Ind/Balt. Wow. This will be the game filled with the most emotion. Colts are playing very good ball, and are riding the Chuck Strong. It’s great to see how great this team is playing for their coach. And with the Ravens, Lewis is going to get that team so fired up, it could jump start them. Every year lately its like, the Ravens are definitely a team to beat, but they never look the part and live up to that role. But hey, we’ve done it so many times, might as well say it again. This team could be the next team to just make the great journey all the way to the end and run it hot. They have the players to do it, and just like the Packers in 10, Giants last year etc.. the hot team always takes it. I think they could get hot.