"So Let it Be Written... So Let it Be Done"

The life and times of a real, down to earth, nice guy. A relocated New Englander formerly living somewhere north of Boston, but now soaking up the bright sun of southwestern central Florida (aka The Gulf Coast). Welcome to my blog world. Please leave it as clean as it was before you came. Thanks for visiting, BTW please leave a relevant comment so I know you were here. No blog spam, please. (c) MMV-MMXV Court Jester Productions & Bamford Communications

Friday, January 08, 2010

2009 NFL Playoffs - Wild Card Weekend

#5 New York Jets (9-7) at #4 Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) {-2½; O/U 34}:

This game is one of three rematches from last week's regular season finale. This time the game is being played in Cincinnati, rather than in the swamps of New Jersey. With virtually nothing to play for the Bengals got a whuppin handed to them, losing 37-0.

"I'm excited about the playoffs," says Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer. "We've got a very resilient team. We're ready to make a playoff run. There's no better way to rectify a loss than to beat that same team the next week."

I think Cincinnati has the advantage this week simply because home field advantage in the NFL is huge. The Jets had over 250 rushing yards last week which will not happen this week. Cincinnati will put 8 or 9 in the box and force Jets rookie QB Mark Sanchez to beat them by throwing the ball. The Bengals are counting on rookie mistakes leading to turnovers.

Defensively the Jets will be tough to run on but Bengals RB Cedric Benson didn't play last week. Benson has solidified the Begals rushing attack all year. The main weapon for the Bengals in the passing attack is #85, Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson. He needs to have a big day against Jets All Pro CB Darrelle Revis.

The winner of this game will likely play at Indianapolis next Saturday night.
MY PREDICTION: @ Cincinnati Bengals 24, New York Jets 20; ACTUAL RESULT: NY Jets 24, @ Bengals 14

#6 Philadelphia Eagles (11-5) @ #3 Dallas Cowboys (11-5) {-4; O/U 45}:

This game is the second of three rematches from last week's regular season finale. This game is once again being played in Dallas.

How hard is it to beat a team three times in one season? Very hard. Dallas won in Week 9 at Philly 20-16 and last week 24-0. I believe Dallas will win this game. Philadelphia, if it had won, would have been the NFC East champs, the NFC's #2 seed and on a bye this week. Instead they are back in Dallas playing their hated rivals again.

"There’s a positive amongst the negative," says Eagles head coach Andy Reid, who is 4-0 in the Wild Card round. "The positive is that you’re in the playoffs and very seldom do you have an opportunity to play a team that just beat you. We have that opportunity to correct ourselves. I expect everyone, coaches and players, to figure out the problem, get back out and execute. That’s what we have to do."

If you are Philadelphia, how can you get motivated for a game like this? For one, not wanting to lose a third game to your arch rival in the same season, especially after playing so poorly the week before.

QB Tony Romo has to continue to play well if the Cowboys are to win their first playoff game since 1996. The Eagles need to get DeSean Jackson back on track. He's the best receiver they have.

MY PREDICTION: @ Dallas Cowboys 27, Philadelphia Eagles 21; ACTUAL RESULT:

#6 Baltimore Ravens (9-7) @ #3 New England Patriots (10-6) {-3 1/2; O/U 43}:

This game is a rematch, not from Week 17 but from Week 4. The Patriots won 27-21, also at Gillette Stadium, holding on to thwart a late Ravens drive. This is the first playoff meeting between these teams. The Ravens are 0-5 lifetime vs. New England.

The Patriots are without Wes Welker due to a torn ACL/MCL knee injury suffered last week. There is no doubt his absence will hurt this week. The Patriots still have offensive weapons which they must utilize because it's a given that the Ravens will double cover WR Randy Moss. That means that screen passes to RB Kevin Faulk and the other running backs and more use of TE's Ben Watson and Chris Baker.

"We’re in the same position as last year where we had to win to get in," says Ravens RB Willis McGahee, "Once we get in, we know we can do damage. And now we’re in the playoffs."

Defensively for the Patriots the key is stopping RB Ray Rice who is speedy and elusive running and catching the ball. The Ravens also have RB Willis McGahee and a good bunch of receivers that will challenge the Patriots secondary.

One benefit for the Patriots, I believe, will be the cold game time temperatures, though no snow is in the forecast for Sunday.

The Patriots are a perfect example of a team that benefits from the home stadium, being one of two teams to have a perfect home record this season. Never bet against a Tom Brady led offense and a Bill Belichick coached team. They rarely lose home playoff games, though it won't be easy.

MY PREDICTION: @ New England Patriots 31, Baltimore Ravens 27; ACTUAL RESULT:

#5 Green Bay Packers (11-5) @ #4 Arizona Cardinals (10-6) {E; O/U 47 1/2}:

This is the third rematch from Week 17 where Green Bay won 33-7 at Arizona. I wouldn't put much stock in that result because the Cardinals rested may of their front line players, knowing they could not get anything higher than the #4 seed.

Arizona QB Kurt Warner has won a Super Bowl and would have won another last year if not for a miraculous last second catch by Steelers WR Santonio Holmes. The Cardinals have a potent offense and will benefit from playing at home.

"To me, everything starts now," says Arizona QB Kurt Warner. "It’s time to go play football. It’s one and done. You don’t show up and play, you go home."

However, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is playing as well as anyone in the league. The Packers flew under the radar this season with all of the attention focused on the Vikings early success and near end of the season collapse. Green Bay also has an excellent offense.

I expect a much closer game with the Packers winning.

MY PREDICTION: Green Bay 28, @ Arizona Cardinals 17; ACTUAL RESULT:

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