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Onward to another terrific weekend of playoff football with some very intriguing matchups (and lines)...
Arizona (+7) over NEW ORLEANS - The Cardinals have proven themselves to be pretty good in January, and the Saints are in a free-fall.
INDIANAPOLIS (-6) over Baltimore - The Colts seem to have the Ravens' number the past few years, and I don't think resting their starters hurt that much.
Dallas (+3) over MINNESOTA - It's time for Brett Favre's collapse, right?
SAN DIEGO (-7) over NY Jets - This might be the year for the Chargers to make it back to the Super Bowl.
Jason may have thrown in the towel already after the Bill Simmons week. I was moving today and the Saints game is presently Saints 21, Arizona 14. I would have taken Arizona +7 (and probably still would) because I think Kurt's planned retirement has inspired him to near perfection.
"I expect Ray Rice to have a huge day." - As stated by me in my pick of the Ravens-Patriots game last week. If only I could selectively pick out the few bold predictions that I've made this season that turned out right, I'd seem a lot smarter.... You'll see a trend in my game picks this week.
NEW ORLEANS (-7) over Arizona - This is a huge line to bet against Arizona, especially given how prolific their offense was last week and especially given how the Saints shat the bed for three straight weeks to end the season. Still... much harder to win a shootout with the Saints than with the Packers (o/u is an astonishing 57.5).
INDIANAPOLIS (-6) over Baltimore - I don't think any of the teams with a first round bye is less likely to have a letdown than the Colts, even though the last three years they've had a bye they've lost in the first round.
MINNESOTA (-3) over Dallas - The sexy pick for an upset, with E.J. Henderson out for the season, the Choice/Jones/Barber machine at work for the Cowboys, and Dallas riding some serious momentum. I still think the Vikings are just too dangerous on their home turf in the Dome to pick against them.
SAN DIEGO (-7) over New York Jets - Another big line shows that Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez, and the rest of the Jets just aren't getting much respect, especially after eviscerating the Bengals last week. That said, I expect Revis to shut down Vincent Jackson, the Jets front seven to shut down Sproles, but PhiLLLLip Rivers will feast on a steady diet of Antonio Gates all game long.
Picking all favored home teams to win. You can say it... I have no balls.
Unlike last week, I will not be copying Jeremy's picks, as they are indeed sans cajones.
Arizona (+7) over NEW ORLEANS - When was the last time anyone was impressed by the Saints? Against the Pats in week 12? Since then, they beat the Skins and Falcons (without Ryan or Turner) by a FG each, and then lost 3 straight to DAL, TB, and CAR.
Baltimore (+6) over INDIANAPOLIS - As Jeremy was so kind to point out, the Colts have lost the last three years they've had a bye. I'll take the points.
MINNESOTA (-3) over Dallas - The sexy pick for an upset indeed, but I like a rested AD, the ageless wonder, and the Vikings still solid defense. Let's not get all excited about how great the Cowboys' recent victories have been. They've beaten NO (see above), the Skins, and the Iggles twice. Color me not that impressed.
SAN DIEGO (-7) over NY Jets - An extra week of rest and a rookie QB to feast on for the Chargers. The Jets won't be able to run the ball well enough to win.
Brien: ARI, IND, DAL, SD
Jeremy: NO, IND, MIN, SD
Russell: ARI, BAL, MIN, SD