Saturday sees the Colts at the Ravens and the Eagles at the Saints.
Colts are +3.5 on the road at Baltimore. Important to note -Colts, who finished the season at 13-4 were 4-4 on the road, while the Ravens were 7-1 at home.
This is THE challenge for the Ravens. Win this, and it’s two easy games to a super victory in Miami.
Colts must remember their flat playoff performance last year as the big home favorite over the Steelers. Manning has a lot to prove, but with a worse defense behind him this year . Ravens play the best 4-3 cover 2 in the league, and have a story book ending in veteran McNair returning to the super bowl where his Titans lost on the last play when they came up a yard and half short of TD against the Rams.
This is a tough game and I would stay away – too many variables to get a good fix on the game- but if you must have action, the Ravens are the play. While the Ravens D gives up 12 points a game versus the Colts D that gives up 21 a game, the Ravens surprising offense scores 22 points a game while the Colts put up 26 a game. On paper and at home, the Ravens are the call.
The Eagles are getting 5 points at New Orleans. The over under is 48. I like the under. Saints are a surprisingly poor 4-4 at home and 6-2 on the road. Both teams averaged about 25 points a game and both defenses gave up about 20 points a game. Figure the Eagles to try and slow things down and the under looks nice.
New Orleans- I don’t know. Something doesn’t seem right about them.
Brees had a great year. They have Deuce and Reggie….and yet I don’t love their receivers and Reggie is a better receiver than back at this point. If he breaks a punt return loose for 7 then the Eagles are in trouble. But I don’t think the Jeff Garcia train 's last stop is the Big Easy. Eagles. Under.
Sunday has Seattle at Chi town and the Patriots at the Chargers.
Easy game is Pats at Chargers. Defense and running games win championships. San Diego has both. If San Diego is up early, this will be over quick. Pats average 25 on offense and 15 on defense-differential of 10; while Chargers average 31 on offense and 19 on defense- a differential of 12. The yardage stats on defense are about equal for both teams, but SD has a superior ability to ruh the QB- just what a team needs in January to beat the evil genuis and his QB. The Pats offense and defense is being held together by chewing gum and Belichick. Tom Brady can only do so much, and he can be rattled if you put some helmets on him, which the Chargers blitzing D can do. Tough to bet against the evil genius in a playoff game, plus Rivers is for all intents and purposes a rookie QB starting a playoff game, but this is not the Patriots year. Give the points to the Pats. SD covers.
Seahawks go to Chicago. Seahawks should have a chip on their shoulder. Like the Colts, they lost a big game last year to the Steelers that they should have won. The hawks were flat in the super bowl and all they needed to be was average to win the thing. Da Bears have a terrific D, and a suspect running game and a QB who has more ups and downs than a porn star doing reverse cowboy. Seahawks just barely beat Cowboys, but sometimes all a super bowl team needs is a little luck to go a long way.
Seahawks D –on average – gave up 21 points a game, while the offense scored 20 points a game. A -1 will not get you far in life. And yet….Hawks have the better coach…Hawks have the more experienced QB….Hawks have a league MVP carrying the rock. Bears have a better defense, and doesn’t D win championships? Yes, but not today. RUMPOLE UPSET SPECIAL. TAKE THE 9.5 POINTS IF YOU THINK SEATTLE WILL KEEP IT CLOSE, OR TAKE THE MONEY LINE IF YOU LIKE THE UPSET.
PS. Seattle does have Offensive line problems which cuts down on their ability to run, so don't bet the mortgage, but look for the upset.