Saturday, January 10, 2009

Divisional Round Picks

Ravens +3 @ Titans, 34.5
Cardinals +10 @ Panthers, 48.5
Eagles +4 @ Giants, 40
Chargers +6 @ Steelers, 38

The Divisional Round games can be tough, because the favorites often haven't played a truly meaningful game for several weeks. The Titans, for example, were shut out by the Colts in Week 17, having given their starters some rest. On the plus side, teams get healthier, on the mius side, they get rusty. The former outweighs the latter, in my mind.

I'll put 40 on the Giants, as I think they were the best team in football this year and Philly will have to play a perfect game to beat them. The Steelers, however, have not impressed me and that seems like a lot of points to be giving up to a pretty good Chargers team, so I'll take the points and put 30 clams on the Chargers. I have very little doubt that Carolina will win the game, but 10 points is a lot to give up to a team that, when on, can score a lot of points. Put another way, Arizona is a team that could fall behind but then stage a comeback and at least stay in the game, they have the offense for that. I don't feel too confident on this one, so I'll lay low and put 10 on Carolina. Finally, in the first game of the weekend, it comes down to two Division 1-AA stars, Joe Flacco (Delware) and Chris Johnson (East Carolina). I think Flacco is a better QB than Collins, arguing in favor of Baltimore. However, Johnson is key to the Titans running game, and he certainly tailed off as the season progressed -- but, he's now had essentially 3 weeks of rest. Since I think there's a very good chance the Ravens win outright, the prudent thing to do is take the points, so I'll put 25 on the Ravens.