RAMS AT SEAHAWKS
They met twice. The Rams won both of them. In the first game, Seattle dominated most of the game…then had a 4th quarter meltdown. In the second meeting…the Rams rushed all over the Hawks. Neither team is particularly good on defense….yet both are pretty good offensive teams. Ahhhhhhhhh…..this is a tough one to pick. It’s so hard to beat a team three times….and St. Louis hasn’t done well on the road [2-6]….but one of those wins was in Seattle. But, the Rams do look a little better lately than Seattle. The Rams had to beat the Eagles and Jets to get in the playoffs. Add to that the fact that Seattle seems to have a distraction in Shaun Alexander’s whining over a yard. HOWEVER…St. Louis does everything un-NFL-like to even get this far. A horrible turnover problem and a non-running attitude. They’ve also have a 6-12 mark on grass over the past three years. I’m going with the Seahawks, 28-24.
BRONCOS AT COLTS
Looks a little like 2003 doesn’t it?? Last year, Denver beat Indy late in the regular season….only to get completely smacked in the playoffs 41-10. The same thing should happen again. The Broncos beat the Colts this past Sunday to get into the playoffs….but Indy played a completely vanilla game and their big guys barely played. Denver commits way too many mistakes which isn’t something you want to do when trying to keep Manning off the field. In the battle of horses….a Colt looks better than a Bronco. Colts 35-14
VIKINGS AT PACKERS
As a Redskin fan….I got to see the Vikings back into the playoffs. They didn’t look well at all and made a ton of mistakes. Not good when, at the time, they needed to win to get into the playoffs. The Packers are on a nice roll entering the playoffs, which is good. Favre and Culpepper look to make this one heck of a shootout. But, look at the stats…and they’ll show you that the Vikings have only won 2 of their last, like, 24 outdoor games…and the Packers have beaten Minnesota in Green Bay 9 of their last 13 meetings. Packers 31-27
JETS AT CHARGERS
Hard to believe that even in their AFL days, these two have never met in the playoffs. The Chargers had a stellar 7-1 record at Qualcomm Stadium. But, that one loss was to the Jets early in the season. The team is a lot different now, winning 9 of 10. This game will matchup two outstanding running backs…the explosive and multi-talented LaDanlian Tomlinson and the ageless rushing champ Curtis Martin. The Chargers have the better passing offense….which includes LT. Chargers 24-17
TEAMS AT HOME CHILLING
Despite people not really believing in them totally….the Steelers finished 15-1. The went into Buffalo and beat a team that needed to win to stay in the playoffs. And they did so without Big Ben and most of their starters playing much. Still, many [including me] feel that the Patriots are the favorites. They have the most experience and possibly the best coaching in the NFL. And they can go into Pittsburgh and beat the Steelers despite coming up short early in the year. They did so in 2002 when the won in Pittsburgh for the AFC title and went on to beat the Rams in SB 36. And Bill Cowher’s Steelers have lost two other AFC Title games at home [1995 Chargers, 1998 Broncos]
It can’t be too great to be an Eagles fan right now. They do have home field and they did get a 13-3 record. But, they coming into the playoffs with a 2 game losing streak, they barely won the two games prior to that [Bears, Redskins], the knowledge of losing the past 3 NFC title games….and no Terrell Owens. Granted, Cincy beat up on the Philly backups….but the team hasn’t had a Super Bowl type month. Maybe the Falcons become the third straight NFC South team to go into Philly and leave with a NFC Championship Trophy. But for a team that a month ago I would have put everything on to at least get to the Super Bowl...they look a little shaky.