Wild Card Weekend Thoughts

The NFL Playoffs start Saturday when the New York Jets travel to the Jungle in Cincinnati to take on the Bengals, followed by part three of the 2009 chapter of the Eagles/Cowboys rivalry, which has been dominated by Dallas this season. The action continues Sunday when the Ravens take on the Patriots, followed by the Packers and the Cardinals.

Jets/Bengals- The Jets dominated the Bengals in their meeting a week ago, even when the Bengals first team was in the game for most of the first half, the Jets cruised, holding Carson Palmer to 1/11 passing for 0 yards. However, Bengals leading rusher Cedric Benson did not play, and that COULD make a difference. But the Jets have the #1 defense in the NFL, the #1 rushing attack in the NFL, and they have the right tools to win this game. However, this is the playoffs, and it is too hard to go against the Cincinnati Bengals. Cincinnati is a resilient bunch, and they will make this a game, and they will pull off the victory in a hard fought game. Bengals win.

Eagles/Cowboys- One thing in sports that should be put into consideration (just consideration). It is hard to beat a team three straight times in one year. The Eagles will not let the Cowboys beat them three straight times. There is too much pride in that team to let Dallas roll over them three straight times. However, if they want that to happen, they have to find a way to get DeSean Jackson going. In the two games this season, Jackson has been shut down, only having five catches for 76 yards in two games this season. Dallas dominated Philadelphia in the second game, and they have found the right chemistry at the right time, and it vaulted them from a road game to a home playoff game at Jerry’s Palace. With all the good things going their way, Dallas will win a much more competitive game and beat Philly for a third time.

Ravens/Patriots: The Ravens have the highest winning percentage on the road against teams in the playoffs (.714, 5-2 record). With the devastating injury to Wes Welker, the Ravens defense will force the Patriots running game, and secondary receivers to beat them. Joe Flacco has a year of playoff experience under his belt, and if the Ravens want to win, they need ball control, and they also need Mark Clayton to actually CATCH the ball if it’s thrown to him late in the game. New England is going to have to be disciplined in the run game to stop the two headed monster of Willis McGahee and Ray Rice, and although there won’t be no Hiram Eugene moments in this game, the Ravens will win this game, simply by wearing down the defense and take advantage of Welker’s absence.

Packers/Cardinals: Throw out the two games these two have played. The first game was a preseason game, and the second game, the Cardinals did not even play their starters the whole time due to Minnesota winning against the Giants. Green Bay wanted to show Arizona that they meant business regardless. Arizona is in a similar spot they were in last year regarding the run to the Super Bowl a year ago. The Packers think the Cardinals took them lightly last game, but it appears that after the dominant win, it could be the other way around. If Anquan Boldin can not go, Steve Breaston knows how to step up, and give Kurt Warner a good second option. Warner knows how to use all of his receivers and make things happen on offense. The Cards have a better running game which makes things easier for Warner to do his thing. The Packers are impressive, and Aaron Rodgers is ready for the big time. He can get the ball down the field, and is a great scrambler when the play breaks down. This game will be a lot closer, but unlike Dallas over Philadelphia, Arizona will prevail over Green Bay, and might just make another similar run to the Super Bowl as they did a year ago. Do not sleep on the Cardinals.

So the final picks: Cincinnati, Dallas, Baltimore, and Arizona. Be back next Friday for the Divisional Playoff preview. Sat. recaps on Sunday, Sunday recaps on Monday. Enjoy the Wild Card games everyone!

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