Carter: Time For Picks!

Carter: Time For Picks!
January 14, 2011, 3:53 pm
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Friday, January 14, 2011, 11:42 a.m.
By Ivan Carter
CSNwashington.comRAVENS PAGE RAVENS VIDEO
Today's Show: Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith on how you can win a trip to Canton for the Hall of Fame and he talks about Ravens-Steelers, Jets-Pats and the NFL labor situation.Brian Mitchell is in the house with my man Gene Wang of the Washington Post and I have one-on-ones with new Nats first baseman Adam LaRoche and Ravens wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh. It's going to be a great show. Live at 5, replay at 11:30.This is one of my favorite sports weekends of the year: tons of college hoops, the Caps are in action twice, the NBA is rolling and oh yeah, the NFL playoffs are incredible. Last weekend, I got hit hard, going 1-3 against the spread and generally stinking it up with all of my picks. Let's try that again and as always, I'd love to hear from you....RAVENS AT STEELERSLine: Steelers by 3 12The matchup: That 12 at the at the end of the 3 could be huge and Vegas knows it. The last four meetings between these two rivals have been decided by a total of 12 points. Field goals will be huge, field position critical and turnovers will decide it. The question for me is simple: can the Ravens passing game make the Steelers (48 sacks) pay when they bring the blitz? If so, Joe Flacco could have a big day and cement his reputation as one of the up-and-coming stars in the league. For all of the talk about Troy Polomalu, who is great, and James Harrison, the key could be Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley. He has eight career playoff sacks and he's only player in NFL history with four consecutive multi-sack games in the playoffs.If Flacco does get hit - and he will considering that the Ravens game up 44 sacks - he has to hold onto the rock. I In seven games against the Steelers Flacco has fumbled eight times and lost four. As my old college coach Don Canfield used to say to me: "Carter, that is not a football you are holding, it's the fortunes of St. Olaf football. Don't fumble St. Olaf footbal!" Hey, I never had a fumble so listen up Joe. The pick: This thing could truly go either way but I can't go against Big Ben and the Steelers at home. Steelers 20-17.PACKERS AT FALCONSLine: Falcons by 3.The matchup: This line feels about right as well. The Falcons have been terrific at home and beat the Packers at the Georgia Dome in week 12. The key for the Pack: can newfound toy, RB James Starks, who was a monster last week in Philly with 123 yards. Still, doing that once is great but is it realistic to think he can do it again, on the road, in a loud dome? I don't think so. The Falcons have felt like a Super Bowl team all season and I'm not bailing on them now. I see Matt Ryan playing an efficient, mistake-free game while Aaron Rodgers piles up numbers but makes the big oops as he did last year in Arizona. Tony Gonzalez will be the key in the red zone. The pick: Falcons 30-27.SEAHAWKS at BEARSLine: Bears by 10.The matchup: Seattle won at Chicago this season. Everyone seems to want to discount that and I'm sorry Redskins fans but the Bears did indeed lose to your squad. At home (thanks to D Hall who turned into Dick "Night Train" Lane that day). I don't trust the Bears. I don't like 10-point lines. I really don't like Jay "Jeff George" Cutler who is fully capable of throwing five picks and forcing all of the Windy City to jump into Lake Michigan. I really, really like Seahawks wide receiver Mike Williams and his big ol' frame against that Bears cover 2 defense. And man, after that run last week, don't you have a feeling that Marshawn Lynch has been somehow touched with the special playoff juice? I do. For some reason I feel an upset coming on. The pick: Seahawks 24-23JETS AT PATRIOTSLine: Patriots by 9.The matchup: "Gawd, I love Wes Welkahhh" Was that classic or what. No way I'm taking the Jets at New England after they've ticked off Tom Brady. No....way. This one is simple: Brady and the Pats spread the Jets' defense out with three and four receiver sets, avoids Darrelle Revis like one of his baby's mommas (Brady, not Revis) and puts up points with ease.Mark Sanchez will absolutely throw a killer pick when it matters. And really, at the end of the day, are you seriously going to go against Bill Belichick? Me neither. The pick: Patriots 41-Jets 24