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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.

Last edited by blackdogsong; 01-09-2006 at 11:23 PM.
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