Wild Card Weekend: NFL Picks & Pans

As I sit in warm, sunny South Florida in anticipation of another Ravens victory over the Miami Dolphins tomorrow., I still need to put my quick thoughts here on the Beatdown regarding the other three playoff games starting with tonight's game. So, in the interest of time and trying to enjoy being away from the frigid Baltimore weather, let's get right to it.

Arizona over Atlanta: Believe it or not, I actually like the Cardinals to rebound in a big way. Kurt Warner is playoff battle tested and knows how to handle the pressure. He also has geat receivers to throw to and the Cards usually play a lot tougher at home than they do on the road, especially when they have to go to the east coast. Meanwhile, the Falcons have been a wonderful surprise and have some great players, including Rookie-of-the-Year, Matt Ryan, and RB Michael Turner, who finished tied for second in voting for the league's MVP. However, Ryan is not nearly the QB on the road as he is at home and I expect the Cards to be able to outscore the Falcons in this one.

Indianapolis over San Diego: This is going to be the closest game of the weekend, as both teams can easily take charge and win tonight. Both QB's have the guns to put up points in a hurry and as well as the Colts have done in winning the last nine in arow, the Chargers have come back from the dead to steal the AFC West title on the arm of Philip Rivers. However, Peyton Manning is the master of his domain and should be able to pick apart the San Diego secondary all night. At the same time, the Colts defense has shown signs of life, with the pass rush of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis and of course, All Pro safety, Bob Sanders stuffing the run as well as playing a great center field.

Minnesota over Philadelphia: Most people have jumped on the Eagles bandwagon, but not me. I know they destroyed the Cowboys when they needed to, but that was at home where they've played well all season. However, they lost a lot of luster in my eyes with their loss in Washington where they couldn't even score a TD all game. Now they have to go into a deafening dome as a visitor and deal with a very good defense and that Peterson guy at running back . As good as Donovan McNabb can be, he can also throw down a clunker like he did in Washington, as well as he did in Baltimore. I'm looking for the Vikings to let Peterson loose all night and McNabb to make the mistakes that give the game to the Vikings.

NOTE: I'll pick & pan the Ravens-Dolphins game in Sunday's posting, before I leave to go to the game tomorrow morning. GO RAVENS!!!

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