Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday playoff picks (Wild Card round)

Man, what a disappointing first two games -- and I'm not even talking about completely botching both picks. The Bengals couldn't get anything together in the passing department, and they couldn't stop the Jets' rushing attack either. Rookie Shonn Greene ran for 135 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries, and Thomas Jones chipped in 34 yards and a touchdown of his own. Even rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez looked pretty good, completing 12 of 15 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown -- and a quarterback rating of 139.4. Carson Palmer, on the other hand, was under siege all day by the Jets defense and completed only 18 of 36 passes with one touchdown and one interception. But the Bengals still had a chance, and they can thank kicker Shayne Graham for destroying momentum with two missed kicks -- a 35-yarder in the third quarter and a 28-yarder in the fourth quarter.

But even as mediocre as the Bengals played, they still put up more of a fight than the Eagles, who lost 34-14 and allowed Dallas to score 27 second-quarter points. The Eagles allowed 426 yards, including 198 rushing yards -- and Marion Barber only rushed the ball three times. Felix Jones was great, rushing for 148 yards on just 16 carries. But the real problem for the Eagles was their offense; they allowed four sacks, lost three fumbles, and couldn't solve what the Cowboys were doing on defense. Donovan McNabb, who was under pressure all night, didn't have a good game, completing only 19 of 37 passes for 230 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Michael Vick, getting a few snaps in the Wildcat, was responsible for the first Eagles' touchdown, hitting Jeremy Maclin on a 76-yard touchdown pass. Unfortunately, Vick also fumbled and didn't contribute much other than that long touchdown pass. And typically, the Eagles weren't interested in running the ball (13 carries for 56 yards).

As for today, I'm hoping for closer and more competitive games. Here are my picks:

Ravens (+3.5) over PATRIOTS

Packers (-2) over CARDINALS

Yes, I'm taking both road teams, and no, I don't really have a great reason why. I think the Wes Welker injury hurts the Patriots more than they're letting on, and that as long as the Packers offensive line gives Aaron Rodgers some time in the pocket, he can pick apart the Cardinals secondary. But, as yesterday showed, I might not have any idea what I'm talking about.

Enjoy the games.

Regular reason: 132-116-8
Playoffs: 0-2

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