Sure, the Broncos aren't in the playoffs, but that doesn't mean I can't continue predicting winners. The playoffs, after-all, are my specialty and where the real money can be made. Four games are on tap and I have the winner in all of them. As always, feel free to give your thoughts as well....
SATURDAY GAMES -
Washington Redskins @ Seattle Seahawks -- Washington is all the rage in the NFL right now, sparked by the tragic loss of Sean Taylor, the Redskins got hot in the right time and won their way into the playoffs. Suddenly, football has not passed Joe Gibbs by and people actually think Todd Collins, yes, that Todd Collins can lead the Redskins deep into the playoffs. Sometimes people just like to make things tougher than they really need to be. Seattle was in a Super Bowl a couple seasons ago, and went on the road last year and gave the eventual NFC Champion Chicago Bears all they could handle. Matt Hasslebeck might be the most underrated QB in the NFL, and that defense is solid, especially in Seattle where the Seahawks enjoys one of the best home-field advantages in sports. If there can really be a dark horse in the horrible NFC, my pick is the Seahawks, who can beat any one of the other NFC teams, Cowboys and Packers included. I do think it is going to be a hard fought football game, but the Redskins have expended alot of energy the past month or so, while the Seahwaks rolled to a division title. I'll take the Seahawks, pulling away in the 2nd half.
Seahawks -- 24 - 16
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Pittsburgh Steelers -- Jacksonville finishes 2nd in the AFC South, the toughest division in football, gave a physical beat-down to the Steelers just a couple weeks ago, and their reward is a return trip to Pittsburgh to give another physical beat-down of a Steelers team that has alot of holes and is a mess along the offensive line. Add to it the fact the Steelers will be without Willie Parker and LT Max Starks, and this game could easily get out of hand. The Steelers won't let that happen, however, but actually beating the Jags will be a tough order. Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew proved a few weeks ago that they can run over, around and through the Steeler defense and it's the Jags that actually play a better style of bad-weather football than the home team does. The big question will be whether or not David Garrard can equal his regular season performance in his first playoff start. Fortunately for the Jaguars, their offense may not need Garrard to make alot of plays through the air. There is just something special about Jacksonville, and a meeting with NEw England next week seems to be their destiny.
Jaguars - 17 - 13
SUNDAY GAMES -
NY Giants @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Can Eli Manning play a solid 60 minutes of football in the playoffs? That is the big question. I am not an Eli fan, that is well documented. If his last name was Jones, or Smith, he would be a nobody, as much as the starting QB of the Giants can be. No way in hell he would've been the first pick in the draft, and no way his daddy could determine where he'd play. He is a Manning, however, and gets those "privileges". He also has to deal with the expectations, and to this point he has done a poor job. On the other side is Jeff Garcia who seems to get better with age and has outperformed any expectation anyone has ever had of him. In my mind, the Giants are the better overall football team, at least they were before last Saturday's game with New England, a game that had little meaning to the Giants but saw them play their starters all 4 quarters, getting three of them hurt in the process. This could be Tom Coughlin's last chance to choke in the playoffs for the Ginats and he is relying on Eli to get it done. This game won't come down to the which QB makes plays, however, but to which defensive backfield baits the opposing QB into making a bad decision. That is where the Bucs have a huge advantage. The Giants are a mess in the secondary, while the Bucs have one of the best. Ronde Barber will make a big play on Sunday, lock it. I'll take the Bucs in what might be the best game of the weekend.
Buccaneers 20 - 17
Tennessee Titans @ San Diego Chargers -- I really can't stand the San Diego Chargers. Is there any team that talks more, wines and cries more, and has won less? Maybe someone should remind Philip Rivers and Shawne Merriman that they have won as many playoff games as I have. Norv Turner might be the worst big-game coach in football, and the Chargers as a whole always find a way to make a game closer than it really needs to be. On the other side is Jeff Fisher, who might be the best game-day coach in football. Think about it. The Titans have a quarterback who nearly threw twice as many INT's as TD's and receivers that catch like my 3-year old daughter(sorry Jordyn!). Oh, and they play in the toughest division in football, pplaying the Colts, Jags and Texans twice every year. All that and Fisher has this team in the playoffs. Amazing. This game will be close. The Titans will make like difficult for Rivers, and he is bound to throw a couple of picks. The Titans had the Chargers beat a few weeks ago and gave it away. As much as I can't stand the Chargers, and respect Fisher and the Titans, I have to take San Diego to finally win a home playoff game. No matter, the Chargers will get destroyed next week in Indy, finding alot to cry about I am sure.
Chargers 20 - 17