Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Noodle in a Haystack

Here we go folks. The grueling regular season is over and the NFL playoffs are upon us. The wild card round is as tough as it has ever been, with every team sporting at least 10 wins.

Saturday

Washington (10-6) at Tampa Bay (11-5)
4:30 p.m. EST on ABC

Looking back to the begining of the season, neither of these teams was really expected to be here. Tampa comes in as the NFC South champ, but its hard expect much out of team with QB as inexperienced as Chris Simms.
On the other side of the field, the 'Skins come in with a veteran team on a roll. Washington has been playing with their backs against the wall for over a month already, and I just don't see them giving up 30+ points to Tampa again like they did in the regular season.
Tampa hangs around, but Chris Simms can't make the big play when they need it most.

Redskins 27
Bucs 17

Jacksonville (12-4) at New England (10-6)
8:00 p.m. on ABC

Is there any team as unlucky as Jacksonville? They went 12 - 4 and they're rewarded with a trip to Foxborough? The AFC is one cruel mistress. That'll teach 'em to play in a division with Indy.
The Patriots? Well, they're still the Patriots, despite what the roster says. They still have Tom Brady and his one-million and ZERO playoff record. That and homefield ought to be enough to squeeze by a tough Jags team.
Its a shame that the division winner gets the automatic home game, because Jacksonville earned it with their record. I hope the NFL looks in to changing this in the future, but the its gonna bite the Jags this time.

New England 30
Jacksonville 24

Sunday

Carolina (11-5) at N.Y. Giants (11-5)
1:00 p.m. on FOX

This is the toughest game of the weekend to predict, mainly because you never know which Carolina team is going to show up. They looked like the class of the NFC at the midway point, but managed to fall hard, giving away their own division in the process.
The Giants have looked great of late, playing a style of football that has traditionally fared well in the playoffs. If Tiki Barber keeps running like a man posssed, they're going to be tough for anyone to take out.
Eli Manning plays a mistake free game, hands to Tiki a ton and the Giants avoid the need for any ckutch kicking from Jay Feely.
Giants 31
Panthers 17

Pittsburgh (11-5) at Cincinnati (11-5)
4:30 p.m. on CBS

Welcome back to the big time Cincy, its been a while. Now the question is, are you guys happy just to be here or are you hungry for more? The Bengals Offense is as good as anything outside of Indy, but if they can't stop the Pittsbugh run game, its going to be a long afternoon.
Pittsburgh seems to be peaking at the right time, and Jerome Bettis seems as fresh as he has been in years. Big Ben has proven that he can make just enough big plays to get the job done, and as long as he doesn't repeat his 3 pick performance from their last matchup, the Steelers should be able to grind this one out.
The Bengals days are coming, but this is just the taste of the palyoffs that will drive them next year and beyond.

Pittsburgh 24
Cincinnatti 17

There you have it folks. I'll be back next week to eat crow when all of my predictions go horribly wrong, until then don't eat any glass and enjoy the games.

1 comment:

Professor Ellis D Trails said...

i agree with your picks except for the skins game. Tampa's defense plays a lot better at home and the eagles exposed the run defense as a continued weakness up the middle. Teams that have run straight at the skins have done well. Simms is inexperienced, but a heavy dose of the cadilac will end the hopes of the skins.