Monday, January 3, 2011

Post-Season NFL Picks Vol. I

-- C.C.I. Playoff Picks --

New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks

After an abysmal NFC West 'showdown' Sunday night, the Seattle Seahawks became the first team in NFL history to reach the playoffs with a losing record (7-9). Pete Carroll, the team's first year coach, said that this feat didn't bother him, and rather embraced the 'innovation' behind Seattle being handed another football game in Qwest stadium. The Seahawks finished the season by losing 7-of-10, their quarterback, and a large portion of fan support, and somehow stumble into a home-field playoff spot vs. the defending Super Bowl Champions.

So how does Seattle upset New Orleans? Simple. They don't.

Sometimes luck is just talent hidden in modesty. Not in this case
. Seattle should thank their lucky stars that they have one foot in the post-season. New Orleans should thank their lucky stars that they now practically have a first-round bye. Gregg Williams, New Orleans' phenom of a defensive coordinator, should thank his lucky stars that his looming opponent will be either playing a mediocre Hasselbeck, or a rookie at the QB position. I don't buy Seattle for a second. I do however, buy their jerseys. Seattle may have one of the most elegant uniforms in the NFL.

Verdict : New Orleans is a 10.5 favorite going into Seattle. I completely agree with that. New Orleans wins big behind Brees' post-season savvy.

New York Jets @ Indianapolis Colts

Minnesota, Dallas, and the Jets -- three teams that were absolutely surrounded in pre-season hype and hubbub by professionals and NFL regulars alike. Only the latter made the playoffs, so that should tell you a considerable about making your picks before the season begins.

Peyton Manning's coming off of an odd season, to say the least. The Colts have so many injuries this year that it's really is a wonder, and a mere miracle, that Indy's entered the post-season for an NFL-record tying 9th consecutive time. As a result of winning the AFC South's lone playoff berth, the Colts get the privilege of hosting Rex Ryan and his squadron of green and white in the good ol' state of Indiana.

I've grown pretty damn sick of the Jets this year, to be honest. Whether it was the two/three week long speculation of benching USC alum, Mark Sanchez, or Rex's irrelevant infatuation with feet, the Jets seemed to be on ESPN every waking minute of 2010. However, I refuse to believe that a banged-up Indy offense wins this key game. Peyton's good, but then again, St. Louis' Sam Bradford's pretty good, and did you see last night? If you wanna win solely because of QB play, then you certainly need somebody to catch the ball for you.

Verdict : Indy has a 2.5 swing going into this game -- reasonable, but not what I'm going with. I'll take the Jets to win in Indy.

Baltimore Ravens @ Kansas City Chiefs

First off, I do tip my hat to the Chiefs. Granted, their divisions a little awry, but none-the-less, KC deserved their post-season berth. Matt Cassel's looking strong, and of course, there's Jamaal Charles, the second-leading rusher in the NFL this season. On the other hand, coming off of a blowout loss at home to the Oakland Raiders didn't do much for any hopes that the Chiefs could represent the AFC in Dallas, something which Ray Rice and the Baltimore Ravens should know when they fly in for a less-than-friendly welcome at what has been described as the loudest stadium in the NFL.

Flacco's looking steady. The defense always roars. The Chiefs know this will be an uphill battle. The question is though, can the Ravens slow down the run? Jones may not be a factor, but Charles will.

Verdict : Beards and all, I have to give this one to Baltimore. Harbaugh's a solid coach, and it seems that the Ravens have been guaranteed a post-season slot each of his three years at the head of the table. Remember last year's routing of New England? Baltimore wasn't even favored to win, and pulled it off. Now, the Ravens are 2.5 favorites -- something I think they'll manage to cover.

Green Bay Packers @ Philadelphia Eagles

Easily the most intriguing match-up to open off the postseason. Aaron Rodgers is one of the most regarded quarterbacks this season, much like his adversary, Michael Vick. The Pack just beat Chicago at Lambeau in a crucial game for Green Bay, while the Eagles rested Vick and took a one-point loss to Dallas. The talk of Vick playing Atlanta, his former home, is growing profusely. DeSean Jackson's still one of the biggest statement-makers in clutch games. Does Green Bay have the gall to halt Philly?

Maybe. That's what makes this so interesting. Both teams have played wonderfully, and then, there are times where both teams have been a bit lack-luster. It's all a question of who shows up to play ball.

Verdict : The Eagles are favored by 2.5 in this one. Vick's the talk of the NFL, and while he may not nab that MVP honor, he's easily the biggest comeback player in recent history. However, I give my nod to the Pack. They're much better up front then they've been in recent years, and last year's OT loss @ Arizona has to haunt Rodgers. Vick's battling a minor injury, and he's been a tad erratic lately. My pick of the week? The Pack upset Philly for either a repeat showdown with Chicago or a tall task in Atlanta.

Call 'em stone-cold locks. 4-4 baby!

CCI xxx

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