Wednesday, January 09, 2008

NFL Picks - Division Playoff Games

I was 3-1 in picking winners of the Wild Card playoff games (Las Vegas was 2-2), and I hit 2 of the 3 upsets I picked. I am 157-103 (60.4%) on the season.

My Chargers struggled against Tennessee, playing poorly in the first half - they were dominated by Tennessee's defense, but were behind only 6-0 at the half. The Bolts dominated the second half, scoring 17 unanswered points to win 17-6. They challenged Philip Rivers to beat them, and he did by throwing medium to long passes on third down. The Titans shut down the Chargers running game by putting 8 in the box and dared Rivers to throw. The Bolts pass protection was much better this game than the first game against Tennessee. The defense played very well the whole game, although the Titans ran well in the first quarter. Now they travel to Indianapolis to play the Colts indoors, which is a mixed blessing. There will be no weather effects, but crowd noise becomes an issue.

Here are my Division Playoff picks of winners (Vegas favorites denoted by odds, home team denoted with an H):

NFC Playoff Games:

* Seattle Seahawks (11-6) over Green Bay (13-3) (H) (-8). I will guess 20-17 Seattle for this one - weather will likely be a factor.

* Dallas Cowboys (13-3) (H) (-7.5) over New York Giants (11-6). Dallas is just too tough, I'll guess it won't be close, 30-16 Dallas.

AFC Playoff Games:

* New England (16-0) (H) (-13.5) over Jacksonville (12-5). I think that this will be the best game of the weekend, unless weather plays a big part in it. With decent weather, I think Jacksonville makes this a game, say 27-24 Patriots.

* Indianapolis (13-3) (H) (-8.5) over San Diego (12-5). The Colts have all of their weapons back and incentive to beat the Chargers. I see this game a 31-21 romp for the Colts, unless the Bolts get some special teams touchdowns.

There is almost always at least one upset in this round, and the game that makes the most sense to me is Seattle beating Green Bay even though it is in Green Bay. I don't see how the Giants or Chargers beat well balanced teams playing at home. I think Jacksonville is nearly the equal of the Patriots, but the game is in New England and perhaps in bad weather.

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