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Old 01-09-2006, 06:22 PM   #1
blackdogsong
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Default my divisional playoffs picks [or it's good to be home]

Washington (10) at Seattle (28)
If Mark Brunell's knee wasn't banged up I'd flirt with the idea of the upset due to the great play of Clinton Portis, who capped off this year with his third 1,500+ season in four campaigns, and Santana Moss, who set career highs in receptions and yards (total, per game avg, and after catch avg) However, the knee has been a big problem: the results have been 16/40 in his past two games, but thanks to 9 turnovers (5 fumbles- 2 that Sean Taylor returned for TD's, 4 int's) the Skins defense has been the sole reason those two games yielded victories. However, Matt Hasselback is not Chris Simms or Mike McMahon. He set a career low in INT's in a season in which he started every game. League MVP Shaun Alexander's sole lost fumble did not come until the last game of the season. As a team Seattle led the NFC in fewest turnovers and will not give the Redskins defense a chance to steal this game away. Brunell's inaccuracy will turn the Skins into a one dimensional running team. Unfortunately, Seattle has surrendered a NFC low 5 rushing TD's. Portis' sore shoulders only compound the issue and will cost him at least a drive or two as it did in Tampa. Seattle will win easily at home with the Skins defense being the only reason it doesn't turn into a total blow out.

New England (21) at Denver (27)
In their last meeting Jake Plummer threw the "game manager" stuff out the window... for 262 yards and 2 TD's. Champ Bailey missed most of the game with the same hamstring that kept him out of the previous two games but finished the season with career high 8 int's. He'll help keep NFL leading passer Tom Brady frustrated while the rest of Denver's defense, who was tops against the run for the better half of the season, will easily handle Corey Dillon after only averaging 3.5 yards a carry, the worst of his career. Teddy Bruschi's calf injury is anyone's guess and kept him out of the entire game against Jacksonville even though he was not on the injury report.

Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell are the two reasons Denver was the best rushing team in the AFC. New England does match up very well against the run, but after leading the NFL in time of position Denver can keep the opposing offense off the field. That will shorten the amount of time Brady has to try and win this one on his own as he has done all season. The Patriots record tying 10 post season wins in a row along with the dream of being the first NFL three peat will fade into the mile high air in a thriller in what could be turn out to be the best playoff game so far.

Pittsburgh (21) at Indianapolis (34)
The first meeting was over so quickly Bill Cowhler called for an onside kick at the start of the third quarter. This one won't be about over that quickly. But I do see a slow start turning into a decisive Colt's victory once Peyton and Co. shake off the rust from sleepwalking through the past several weeks. Both teams are number one and four at stopping teams on 3rd down and should result in early back and forth field position battles. Expect Edgerrin James to get the touches early to stretch out those fresh legs after only 26 rush attempts since week 15. This will setup some nasty play action bombs down the field. In their last meeting Edge snapped the Steelers 23 games without allowing a 100 rusher and should top that number again as the Colts use him for clock control. Pittsburgh will counter with Parker and Bettis- both will be bigger factors this time around as the Colts are mediocre against the run, but it's nothing they haven't seen or handled before.

Carolina (10) at Chicago (17)
The theme to the divisional playoffs will be one dimensional teams going down: the Redskins will lose because they can only run, the Patriots will lose because they can only pass, and the Panthers suffer the same fate. DeShaun Foster has been red hot: running over the helpless Falcons for 165 yards and a score and then the equally helpless Giants for 151. However, The Bears have only surrendered 100+ yards in three games this season. But a far more important stat is this: The Bears have only allowed an opponent to over 20 points 3 times, all loses- one in which was a meaningless game in week 17. The Panthers are 1-4 in games where they do not score over 20 points. Something has to give and it won't be the Bears defense. Expect a very similar game to the one in which they played in week 11: Jake Delhomme had a season high 38 pass attempts but 0 TD's and 2 int's in a 13-3 loss. Chicago wins yet another low scoring defensive battle with plenty of Thomas Jones and some sneaky shots down the field with Rex Grossman.

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Old 01-09-2006, 06:44 PM   #2
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I agree with 3 of your picks, but I see New England going to the Super Bowl yet again.
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Old 01-09-2006, 07:18 PM   #3
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In New Englands defense... they no longer have Dwanye Starks, who single handedly gave up 14 points on 2 huge plays in that game against Denver. Also, New Englands run defense has been the best in the NFL the second half of the season giving up only 68.6 yards a game. Seymore and Bruschi are back too. Should be a different outcome. Also.... I"M STILL WAITING FOR JAKE TO BECOME JAKE!!!!!!
I agree with BDS on Seattle over the Skins, but I think it will be closer. I like Carolina over Chicago for the same reason I thought Cincy would lose... no playoff experience. Indy over Pitt in a close one.... won't be like that MNF blowout. Of course I am pulling for #6 seed Pitt!!
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Old 01-10-2006, 03:21 PM   #4
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-i think Denver's defense will control Tom Brady since the Pats have no running game to speak of

-Bruschi is still a question mark after sitting out the entire game vs the Jags

-Jake has become the new Jake!

-I can't see the Skins keeping it that close w/ Seattle. Burnell can't make any short throws on his knee. their defense will be on the field way too often and for way too long.

-I can't see Carolina winning without the running game the Bears are going to shut down early. How's Foster turf toe going to feel now that he will be running on rock hard frozen ground in Chicago instead of the the artificial turf he has success on in Atlanta and NY? Delhomme is going to be throwing all day and will once gain feel the sting of Nathan Vasher.
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Old 01-10-2006, 04:36 PM   #5
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- Jake has become the new Jake, but I gotta believe Belichick has something planned to rattle him bad into the old. Cory Dillon will either show up or not - if not, Kevin Faulk will step up as he always does. Bruschi is still a "Q" mark. NE will have to try to contain Denver's running game and force Jake to be the lone playmaker.

- Don't forget Steve Smith - he always comes up big when he needs to. I really looking forward to this game... all defense is what I'm expecting. Even if Chicago shuts down Carolina's run game early, I'm still trying to figure out how Chicago will score? Bears may be the better team on paper, but I think their inexperience will come back to burn them.

- The more I thik about Skins/Seattle, the more I'm leaning your way BDS. You make a good point about the Skins "D" being on the field for a long time. Unless they score like they did against Tampa it'll be a long day for them.

- Indy looks like the easy choice. Starting 13-0 and beating up everyone. I can't remember who said it, but "watch out for Pitt. They are a #6 seed with no pressure. Everytime they get in the playoffs they are #2, or #1 and they lose. This time, they are expected to lose at #6. So becareful..." Anyway, that said - Indy prob still wins. But I still think its a close one. If Ben does not make any mistakes and keeps his cool, they could walk out with an upset.
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Old 01-11-2006, 08:49 PM   #6
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Actually, all things considered, Foster did okay running the ball against Chicago the first time around: 41 yards on 9 carries. What killed the Panthers the last time they played was their inability to pass protect. Delhomme spent the whole game chucking and ducking when he dropped back to pass.
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Old 01-11-2006, 09:58 PM   #7
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The only thing I see stopping the Skins from winning in Seattle, is fatigue. From Florida to D.C. and then out to the pacific northwest is as punishing schedule as it gets. Plus the defense was on the field for a long time against the Bucs. But I don't see Seattle scoring more than 20 points saturday. I think it's going to be a close one like in week 3. A lots been made of the terrible offensive production last week, but I think things will be a lot different against the Hawks. Hopefully Cooley will be more involved, because the Bucs shut him down.
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Old 01-13-2006, 05:34 AM   #8
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Cool Anthony's Divisional Playoff Picks

Last week: 1-3. Postseason totals: 1-3, Pct. .250. Best Bets: 1-0, Pct. 1.000.

Home team in capital letters; point spreads (opening line) in parentheses after underdog team; selections with point spreads in bold.


SATURDAY

SEATTLE 24, Washington 14 (+8 1/2) - The Redskins showed very little on offense in the win at Tampa and sixth seeds are 2-7 against the spread in the divisional playoffs, having been outscored 303-122 en route to losing all nine games straight up. Washington's defense was somewhat better against the pass than the run this year, so Shaun Alexander could have a productive outing. But the fact that Seattle hasn't won a playoff game since all the way back in 1984 keeps this game out of best-bet territory.

New England 27 (+3), DENVER 21 - Tom Brady is 10-0 lifetime in the postseason, while Jake Plummer is 1-3, and the Broncos haven't won a playoff game since Brady was a junior at Michigan. Furthermore, the prime-time start may actually hurt Denver because it makes it more likely that the kickoff-time temperature will be 35 degrees or colder - a setting in which Brady has never lost a game in which he has both started and finished (15-0), regardless of where the games were played. In Denver's 28-20 home victory over New England on October 16, the Patriots were without the most important players on both their rushing offense (Corey Dillon) and run defense (Richard Seymour), both of whom will be in there this time around. Hard to go past a proven postseason commodity as an underdog to a team that is anything but.

SUNDAY

INDIANAPOLIS 27, Pittsburgh 16 (+8 1/2) - Doesn't Joey Porter know that the slip of a lip may scuttle a ship? Porter all but called the Colts a "finesse team" - echoing similar comments made by members of the Denver secondary about the Indianapolis receivers before their playoff meeting last year, won by the Colts 49-24. And like Washington, the Steelers are also a sixth seed, and haven't exactly set the world on fire in domes of late (3-6-2 against the spread in their last eleven, including a 26-7 loss at the RCA Dome on November 28). But questions over the emotional state of the Colts players in the wake of the tragedy involving Tony Dungy's son make a cautious approach to this one desirable.

CHICAGO 23, Carolina 10 (+3) - By winning, Carolina would become only the second Super Bowl loser in more than a decade to reach the conference championship game in either of the next two seasons following the Super Bowl defeat, and only twice previously has a Sun Belt team won two cold-weather games in the same postseason (the Rams in 1989 and the Jaguars in 1996); and to add insult to injury, this game is in the late time slot, making their task that much more difficult. And not for nothing, if the Panthers couldn't win at Chicago in November in the early time slot when the Bears started Kyle Orton at quarterback, then what sort of chance do they figure to have at Chicago in January in the late time slot with Rex Grossman starting?

BEST BET: NEW ENGLAND

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Old 01-13-2006, 06:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony
Last week: 1-3. Postseason totals: 1-3, Pct. .250. Best Bets: 1-0, Pct. 1.000.

New England 27 (+3), DENVER 21 - Tom Brady is 10-0 lifetime in the postseason, while Jake Plummer is 1-3, and the Broncos haven't won a playoff game since Brady was a junior at Michigan. Furthermore, the prime-time start may actually hurt Denver because it makes it more likely that the kickoff-time temperature will be 35 degrees or colder - a setting in which Brady has never lost a game in which he has both started and finished (15-0), regardless of where the games were played. In Denver's 28-20 home victory over New England on October 16, the Patriots were without the most important players on both their rushing offense (Corey Dillon) and run defense (Richard Seymour), both of whom will be in there this time around. Hard to go past a proven postseason commodity as an underdog to a team that is anything but.
Another tidbit to throw in about the Pats is that Belichick has never lost a rematch game as a head coach where he played the same team earlier in the season.
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Old 01-13-2006, 07:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doublee
Another tidbit to throw in about the Pats is that Belichick has never lost a rematch game as a head coach where he played the same team earlier in the season.
That's a good stat. That shows how well Belichick can "disect" a team. The guy eats, sleeps, dreams tape. Of course his players do have to execute.
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Old 01-13-2006, 04:31 PM   #11
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I agree with all of Anthony's pics except Chicago. Rex Grossman starting in his first playoff game EVER = Carolina 17 Chicago 10. In their last meeting Delhomme was sacked about 8 times. No way that happens again.
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Old 01-13-2006, 05:11 PM   #12
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Seattle over Washington in a landslide
Broncos over the Pats
Indy over the Steelers
Chicago over Carolina

DEN vs. NE I would like to see the Broncos kill the Pats. Hopefuly John Lynch can have a good game like he did a coulp weeks ago. Be nice to see him pick off a pass and get a sack.

IND vs. PIT I would like to see Jerome Bettis get to go to the Superbowl in his hometown but i dont think that is gunna happen. But i dont think the Steelers are gunna show up and get dominated. The have the running game to rule the game.

CHI vs. CAR This is gunna be a close one but i think the Bears defense should shut down the Panthers offence. As for Rex Grossman i think he will do fine. He might make some mistakes but the bears defence should keep them in it.
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Old 01-13-2006, 06:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Actually, all things considered, Foster did okay running the ball against Chicago the first time around: 41 yards on 9 carries
Foster did horriable. all of this long gains came on 3rd and long when the Bears were in deep pass protection trying to stop a first down.

12 yard run- 3rd and 21
9 yard run- 3rd and 16
8 yard run- 3rd and 9

take that away and you have 12 yards that he earned on runs that really mean anything.
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Old 01-13-2006, 11:11 PM   #14
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I love doublee. I really do.
However, let's all make sure we're not regurgitating bad stats from ESPN when we're talking about these games and such.

Had doublee simply noted that the "can't lose a rematch" stat refers ONLY to Belichick's NE years, he'd be fine.
His Browns years (better than you remember, btw), this was not true. The Brownies lost to the Steelers in the ... I think it was 93 playoffs. Mighta been '94.

I respect Belichick. I think he's the best strategist coach going today. But, the mythic way in which he's treated by the media (esp., up here) does get a little grating. I'm still rooting for the Pats on Saturday.
I don't care what happens in that game, though, so long as the Steelers can pounce on early and then hold down the Colts. A tough order, but certainly doable.
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Old 01-13-2006, 11:24 PM   #15
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Aw, come on Dave you are supposed to be able to know what I meant not what I said.

Yeah, I always forget that he coached the Browns at one point in time.

I can stomach the way Belichick is defied more than Parcells is who, by the way, has yet to win a postseason game without Belichick at his side.
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