For Wild Card Weekend we will do something different for LS&J. I am going to pick the winners for all four games and then a player to watch.
Jets @ Bengals
In the first of three rematches from Week 17, the Jets meet the Bengals. The Bengals were 6-2 at home and the Jets were 5-3 on the road. The Jets dismantled the Bengals in Week 17, but I don’t think the Bengals were properly motivated. What did they have to play for? I think the Bengals will have a chip on their shoulders after losing to the Jets BAD last week on national television. The Bengals will win 23-17 over the Jets.
The player to watch is Cedric Benson. All eyes may be on the Chad Ochocinco and Darrelle Revis matchup but in really matters how Cincy runs the ball. If they can get Cedric going then maybe Chad might catch a ball or two. If they don’t it could be a long afternoon for Ochocinco and Co. I think Cedric will run for a C Note and have a score to boot.
Eagles @ Cowboys
The next matchup is another matchup from Week 17. But not only is this a rematch, it is a divisional rivalry. Dallas embarrassed Philly by shutting them out, but Dallas’s D won’t score it’s third shutout in a row. Wade has the D hitting on all cylinders and Romo just had the best year of any Dallas quarterback, and Dallas has had more than it’s share of hall of famer’s at the position. Dallas will beat Philly for the third time this year, but it will come down to the last five minutes of the game. Cowboys 27 and the Eagles 23.
The players to watch are DeMarcus Ware, Jay Ratliff, and Anthony Spencer. These guys HAVE to get pressure on McNabb if Dallas is going to win it’s third straight over Philly and get the first playoff win since 1996. Ware didn’t record a sack last week but Ratliff got two. These guys will get 5 sacks on McNabb or force him into a bad pass resulting in an interception. A Dallas win will be on the back of the D.
Ravens @ Patriots
New England just hasn’t been the New England we have all come to expect over the past several years. And it only got worse when Wes Welker went down with a knee injury last week and will miss the playoffs. The Pats looked bad earlier this year when Welker was out. Welker caught 120 passes from Brady, and that’s with missing three games. Brady lost his favorite target, and the Ravens will make sure New England loses the game. Baltimore look to put pressure on Brady and shutting down Moss will be easier with no Welker. Baltimore wins 24-20.
The player to watch is Ray Rice. Baltimore is still a run first team and the running starts and ends with Rice. Ray will run for 100 yards and score at least two touchdowns. One of his TD’s may be receiving because Flacco also likes to throw to him, he’s the leading receiver with 78 receptions. For the Ravens to win, Rice will have a big day, count on it.
Packers & Cardinals
The last of the grudge matches happens in the desert Sunday night. The Packers are the team no one wants to play and the Cardinals are looking for an identity. Warner looks like the Warner of New York and not the Warner of the Rams, which is not good news for Cardinal fans. Also, with Anquan Boldin doubtful to play in Sunday’s game there is only one team to take. The Packers will win going away 38-24.
The player to watch is Aaron Rodgers. He had a great year throwing for over 4,400 hards with 30 TD’s and only 7 pics. Rodgers will throw for over 300 yards and multiple touchdowns in a laugher in the desert. Grant will keep the defense honest while Rodgers makes the big plays, sorry Arizona, just be glad you broke the Super Bowl Loser hex.
Tune in Tuesday at 10:00 pm eastern, for Chris and Matt discussion of the pics and the week that was in the NFL and more. Listen live at www.blogtalkradio.com/sidelinershow .