Went 3-1 last week, hope to keep that up. Don’t know what I’ll be live-blogging at Awful Announcing this weekend, but something will go on.
Seattle @ Green Bay – With few exceptions, most of the divisional round games are friendly to the home teams. There’s a reason why teams fight hard doing the season to get a 1 or 2 slot (along with the bye week.) Essentially, these are two pass-dominant offenses going up against one another, with the home team at least making valiant attempts at having a rushing game. This comes down to how well each defense performs: I think Green Bay’s corner tandem of Al Harris and Charles Woodson can make life uncomfortable for Matt Hasselbeck, plus, there is the “Seahawks on the road” effect to account for, although this game starts at 1 PM Pacific. Regardless, I think Green Bay wins a shootout.
Jacksonville @ New England – Probably the easiest call of the week to make, never mind the rule that you pick an undefeated until they’re beaten. The Jaguars had some serious holes playing against Pittsburgh last weekend, particularly when it came to getting their own offensive game going. They have the running game necessary to keep Tom Brand and Randy Moss off the field, but that’s about all — as they’re missing some crucial defensive personnel, and are not equipped to play the Patriots for all four quarters. Patriots in a walk.
San Diego @ Indianapolis – The Chargers caught Peyton Manning with none of his regular personnel and picked him six times. I think having a few weeks with the replacements makes a sizable difference, plus the fact that Philip “Floats” Rivers may not have Antonio Gates playing this week — and Norv Turner will fail to pitch it to LaDainian Tomlinson as often as logic would dictate. Indy by a touchdown, despite the Chargers solid defense.
New York @ Dallas – There is no particular rationality behind this, nor do I particularly buy into the whole “Jessica Simpson is making Tony Romo suck” talk. What I have seen in the last few weeks of the regular season is a problem with the Dallas running game: there is a Pro-Bowl running back in Marion Barber on that team and they either cannot or will not establish the run as of late — and if they have Romo passing 40 times or more a game, Strahan, Umenyiora and the Giants pass rush will have a fun day. I suspect there is something quite tough about trying to beat a division rival three times in the same season. If Eli Manning can dispense it to Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw early and often, whether by handoff or short passes, the Big Blue’s streaky offense can run it up there with Dallas’ prized unit. Giants in the upset of the week.
Photo: AP/Michael Dwyer