Friday, January 7, 2011 3:44 PM
By Ivan CarterCSNwashington.com contributor
Could this be the playoff year when we see four road teams win on wild card weekend? Could happen, but I'm not so sure. Here go my picks:
Saints at Seahawks Line: Saints 11.
The pick: No need to overthink this one. The Seahawks are the worst team to ever make the playoffs and when the teams met back in week 11, the Saints rolled up 494 yards of offense in a 34-19 win. One major issue for Seattle is the health of rookie LT Russell Okung who has been hobbled for weeks and was really moving slow during last week's ugly win over St. Louis. I'm taking the Saints to roll to an easy one here even though they are beat up at RB. In this one, that won't matter. Brees will go three and four wide receivers like he did back at Purdue and carve Seattle up.
Key player: Brees. If he's Breesie, it'll be easy.....
Verdict: 34-10 Saints.
Jets at Colts Line: Colts 2.5.
The pick: To me, the pressure is on Mark Sanchez in this one. Can he can he make the key 2 or 3 throws he needs to make especially in the second half if this baby is as tight as we expect? I don't think so but man, Santonio Holmes is dangerous and with Shonn Greene and LT, the Jets should be able to run the ball effectively. Peyton Manning is dangerous but he doesn't have Dallas Clark and Reggie Wayne has been dropping the ball, which is not like him. Still, I never bet against Manning in a game like this and at home, the Colts have to be the pick. Rex Ryan is going to have a lot of explaining to do after all that talking I'm afraid. I see a key fourth quarter Sanchez interception deciding this one for some reason.
Key Player: Pierre Garcon. The Colts wideout has to come through because Wayne will be on Revis Island where he was stranded in last year's AFC Championship game.
Verdict: Colts 27-23
Ravens and Chiefs Line: Ravens 3.
The pick: I'll be at Arrowhead for this one and can't wait. As sportswritersports fan, I've had the fortune of attending just about every NFL, NBA and MLB stadium and let me tell you, nothing is like Arrowhead. Not even Lambeau Field. The BBQ smoke floating over the place, the fly-over right before kickoff at the conclusion of the national anthem as 80,00 red-clad maniacs yell "and the home of the of the CHIEFS!" It's amazing - and that's just the BBQ!
That said, the Ravens should have the edge here on experience and balance. I said SHOULD but what is Joe Flacco going to do if this thing's close and HE has to make a key fourth quarter throw? The key matchup will be Michael Oher against Chiefs DE Tamba Hali, who had 14.5 sacks.
The guys on NFL network's Playbook show (my favorite) detailed how Flacco missed some wide open targets last week against the Bengals and you have to wonder about Joe Cool's confidence level. TJ and Boldin want the rock. Derrick Mason too. OC Cam Cameron is under a ton of pressure but the Ravens should be able to run the ball with Ray Rice just enough to keep the Chiefs off balance. Watch Chiefs WR Dwyane Bowe though. He's dangerous and that Ravens secondary has been burned off and on all season. Also, the Chiefs have the profile to win in the playoffs: best rushing attack in the league, second fewest turnovers and speed all over the field including in the kick and punt return games. I'm all over on this one but.....
Key Player: Chiefs Dexter McCluster. The rookie has the ability to break a game like this wide open either on offense as a receiver or as a return man.
Verdict: Ravens 20-17
Packers at Eagle Line: Eagles by 2.5
The pick: A ton of people taking Green Bay in this one based on the logic that Aaron Rodgers is great. Fine. But have we allowed one poor Michael Vick performance (against the Vikings) to make us forget what the dude did all season? The Packers can't run the ball (dangerous recipe on the road) and the Eagles can run AND throw. And that's just Vick. Desean Jackson is the most dangerous weapon in football not named Vick. Yes, the Eagles have some thin spots on defense but I think the Eagles can outscore the Packers.
Key Player: Packers DB Charles Woodson. You know the Packers saw the way the Vikings used Antoine Winfield as a blitzer off the edge to give Vick fits a couple weeks back. Woodson is simply the best in the business at doing just that. If he comes though, he better get there because Vick will burn the Pack if he doesn't.
Verdict: Eagles 33-27
We'll be talking about the games and more on today's show. Live at 5, replay at 11:30. Brian Mitchell is in the house, I'll have one on one with Ravens LB Jarret Johnson and Marke Maske of the Post will be in as well. Get involved by tweeting us at twitter.comwashpostlive.
I welcome your thoughts on my picks. Let's do this!