I intended to have these picks thrown in the middle of a huge long post about the Patriots season, the NFL playoff system, and an offseason preview, however I got lazy and haven't written it yet, so for the sake of them being up here they are.
Atlanta vs. Arizona - 4:30pm
I've been a closet Atlanta fan all season because of Matt Ryan. While I figured they would show improvement over last year and the whole Mike Vick debacle, I did not envision them going 11-5 and missing out stealing the division title on the last day of the season. Regardless, the playoffs are the playoffs no matter what seed you are. Which leads me to my next point about the Arizona Cardinals. They finished 9-7 in the worst division in football, and are hosting a home playoff game. Is it fair? No, but that doesn't matter. Does anyone honestly think Arizona even has a shot in this game? Didn't think so.
Say what you want about their passing game, because it is everything it's cracked up to be. Getting Anquan Boldin back this week will be huge for the Cardinals as well. However, the Cardinals are just to one dimensional to win in the playoffs. Their defense is mediocre, and they have absolutely no running game to speak of. The Falcons on the other hand have a very balanced football team behind Matt Ryan and Michael Turner. Their defense is decent, but it doesn't bring much pressure, which will help Kurt Warner obviously. I just don't think Arizona matches up well with Atlanta.
Final: Atlanta 27-14
Indianapolis vs. San Diego - 8:00pm
Talk about a match up of two teams I strongly dislike. Both obviously because of the Patriots connection, and I'm sick of Peyton Manning's face every three commercials while watching football. However, I absolutely detest San Diego. They always preach "class" and how LT is this class act, etc. I distinctly remember LT calling out the Patriots after a loss for not winning with class and all that junk. Talk about hypocricy at it's finest. Philip Rivers, while he is a good quarterback, is an absolute piece of shit personality wise. He talks so much shit to other teams during games, in the media, all that junk. Trash talking is one thing, and is part of the game, but I cannot stand athletes like Rivers who seems to take it to the next level.
Now that that's out of the way, San Diego was 4-8 entering December, and managed to benefit from the Broncos absolutely failing to close out the division and actually playing good football for a month. They won the AFC West by beating Denver in the Sunday Night game last week and finished 8-8. If there was ever a case for the NFL to change its playoff system (more on my ideas for that in another post) this is it. Regardless, they are in.
This is also most likely Tony Dungy's last seasonI like what Indy has done since they started the season out slowly, ripping off 9 straight wins and just playing solid football over the passed few months, led by Peyton and his 3rd MVP award. of coaching, and you know the players won't want to let him down like that. Getting Bob Sanders back doesn't hurt either.
San Diego has also been hot over the final month of the season, and while Vincent Jackson and Chris Chambers are good receivers, the injuries to Gates and LT (detached tendon in groin) are going to be huge. LT will try to tough it out and play, but I don't see how he could be effective with that kind of injury at any position, but especially as a running back. San Diego will need its defense to step up in this game, and all throughout the playoffs to compensate for the injuries to Gates and Tomlinson.
This will most likely end up being the best game of the weekend, and could go either way, but in the end I just think the innjury to LT and the fact that Indy is the better team in my mind will be the difference. Indy pulls away in the 2nd half.
Final: Indianapolis 28 - 24
Tomorrow's picks will be posted tomorrow.