Arizona at New Orleans
Arizona is coming off a shootout win over the Green Bay Packers last Sunday night. The highest scoring game in playoff history taught us one thing, if Arizona’s defense doesn’t show up again this week the Cardinals playoff run will be over. Shootouts are fun to watch, but not so much for defensive coordinators. Aaron Rodgers is a pretty good quarterback, but Drew Brees right now is even better. New Orleans struggled down the stretch losing their last three. That streak ends tonight in New Orleans as the Saints will go marching up and down all over the 11 players alledgedly playing defense. The Saints win 30-20.
The player to watch in this game will be my supposed “man crush” Drew Brees. If he throws for 300 yards and three touchdowns the Saints will not lose. Pierre Thomas will play tonight and do just enough to keep the Cards D honest with the run. Brees will manipulate the safety’s and hit the open man, rust schmust.
Baltimore at Indianapolis
Ahh the latest Baltimore team against the original team from Baltimore. Grudge match. Rematch. That’s right the two teams met in Indianapolis in Week 11. The Colts won a squeaker 17-15, allowing Baltimore 5 field goals. Baltimore will have to score touchdowns to win this game, and I do expect a close game considering how Baltimore’s D demolished Chris’ Patriots last week. Also, because Peyton and the offense could show rust early in the game since they haven’t played meaningful minutes since early December. The Fightin Peyton’s will be too much for Baltimore this week, the Colts will win a squeaker 20-17.
The player to watch this week is again Ray Rice. He is the Raven’s offense, and he must get it going against the Colts D to keep Baltimore in the game. Peyton has had some of his worst days against Baltimore, he will be good enough but not great. Rice will run for 100, catch for 50, and score at least one touchdown. A nice day at the office, but not good enough.
Dallas at Minnesota
To me, this is the toughest game to pick. The teams seem to be matched pretty evenly with Minnesota getting a slight edge because they are playing at home. But being the homer I am, I can’t pick against the Cowboys. Especially the way that D is playing right now. Romo’s record on the road is better than at home in December and January so there’s another good sign. I look for the Cowboys to put a lot of pressure on Favre forcing him into some bad decisions. Also, look for Adrian Peterson to have at least one fumble. The Cowboys win in the last two minutes, 24-23.
The player to watch in this one is Adrian Peterson. He will be what keeps Minnesota in the game. Dallas hasn’t played a running back like him all year, speed and strength. Peterson will rush for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Ultimately, it will be his one fumble problems that end the season early for the Vikes.
New York at San Diego
The Jets are riding high, playing themselves into the playoffs then delivering the goods once arriving. Well, the J-E-T-S, JETS JETS JETS, will L-O-S-E LOSE, LOSE, LOSE this weekend against the stronger Chargers. The Bolts have won 11 in a row, and against some pretty good teams. Phillip Rivers is showing he is an elite quarterback and he will lead the Chargers against the best D in the league. The Chargers haven’t been held under 20 this season. The lowest they scored was 20 at Dallas in December. I don’t think the Jets will be able to put enough points on the board to offset the Chargers offense. The Chargers win 27-17.
The player to watch in this matchup is Antonio Gates. Revis and Jackson will be a great matchup, but that will leave Gates to pickup any slack for Jackson’s lower productivity. Norv will find the week spots in the Jets D that will allow for Gates to catch the ball in the soft spots. Expect the big tight end to have 8 catches for 100 yards and a touchdown.
That’s the playoff’s this week, tune in Tuesday night at 10:00 pm eastern to see how we did, plus more. Catch the podcast on iTunes or live Tuesday night at www.blogtalkradio.com/sidelinershow .