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Straight Cash’s Divisional Playoff Picks

There are some juicy, juicy matchups this weekend. Lots of top defenses showcased, a wild gun show on display in the South, and a good old NFC East hatefest. Let’s get it on.

Do the dance, Ray, do the dance.

Do the dance, Ray, do the dance.

Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans, 01/10/09, 4:30pm EST, CBS
Line/Total: TEN -3, o/u 34

The Pick: BAL +3

Everyone’s saying that a rookie QB like Flacco will fold against Tennessee’s punishing front, but New Guy Joe gets to see this type of “D” everyday in practice. The Titans won back in Week 5 (13-10) in a grind it out, defensive battle, but I think the difference this time is the improved play and confidence of Flacco and the growth of Le’Ron McClain as a legitimate back to pair with Willis McGahee. Kerry Collins, LenDale White and Chris Johnson are stabling forces for the Titans, but the loss of Kevin Mawae under center will play a big role at the line. To me, it just seems like the Ravens D is jacked entering the postseason, led by All-world hawk Ed Reed. No doubt, Tennessee is still one of the top 3 defenses in the league, I just don’t think they have enough weapons offensively to put up points. The Ravens will keep it close and may win outright — lots of penalties, trash talking and clock running in this one.

My name is not pronounced Del-Homey

My name is not pronounced Del-Homey

Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers, 01/10/09, 8:15pm EST, FOX
Line/Total: CAR -10, o/u 49

The Pick: Over 49

I’m riding the Arizona “over” train until it falls off the tracks. This team cannot cover anyone and Kurt Warner must try to outgun each opponent they face. And why not? with both NFC Pro Bowl WR starters at his disposal in Boldin and Fitzgerald, could you blame him. Carolina has found gold in their backfield tandem of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. And of course, Steve Smith is a game changer. Need some numbers? The two teams combined for 50 in a 27-23 Panthers win in Week 8. The over is 7-2 in Arizona’s and Carolina’s last 9 games. Carolina has given up an average of 25 points in that span, and Arizona 29.5. It’s Jake Delhomme’s 33rd birthday Saturday and his wish of a Carolina win will come to fruition, just not sure it’s by the 10 points Vegas is projecting them by. So take the over, sit back on the Lazy Boy and watch some fireworks in the Bank of America Dome.

Don't do the dance, Donovan, don't do the dance.

Don't do the dance, Donovan, don't do the dance.

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants, 01/11/09, 1:00pm EST FOX
Line/Total: NYG -4, o/u 38

The Pick: NYG -4

The Eagles are playing excellent ball at the right time. The Donovan McNabb Hall of Fame talk has resurfaced. Philly’s defense has been dynamic with Johnson at the helm. I’m still taking the Giants to win and cover. A few reasons why: 1) They’re at home. 2) Eli has more weapons to pass to than Donovan. 3) Brandon “Frankenstein” Jacobs is at full force. 4) The 3-headed monster that is Jacobs-Ward-Bradshaw is more effective than a nicked up Westbrook and Buckhalter. 5) The Meadowlands field will be slick and there’s a 90% chance of snowfall/rain, which bodes well for the Giants ground attack. 6) The Giants have been there, done that, and coach Coughlin has had an extra week to prep the troops. And finally, 7) Those two “MENSA” candidates Andy Reid and McNabb will find a way to implode on the big stage. ‘Nuff said.

Now if I could just "PLAY like a champion" on Sunday.

Now if I could just "PLAY like a champion" on Sunday.

San Diego Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers, 01/11/09, 4:45pm EST, CBS
Line/Total: PIT -6, o/u 37.5

The Pick: PIT -6

I still don’t believe in Philip Rivers. While everyone waxes poetic about his natural ability and competitiveness, I still think he’s just a gunslinger who lacks the leadership quality (charisma) to inspire his team. That said, the Steelers will bring the pressure in waves at the Chargers, and Rivers will have to get rid of the ball quicker than he’s used to. Darren Sproles has to be ready to catch short dinks from the backfield ala LaDainian Tomlinson, while Gates must push hard off the line for SD to be effective. Now, what concerns me for Pittsburgh is the offensive side of the ball. Big Ben is holding on to the ball longer than he should be, resulting in multiple sack games, while the deep threat in Santonio Holmes has been nullified throughout the year. Look for the Steelers to give the Chargers a big dose of Fast Willie Parker and Mewelde Moore. The -6 points from Vegas is pretty steep, but the Steelers have gotten all the breaks of late and it’ll be a game-changing turnover (maybe by the wavy-haired Samoan) that’ll put the Steelers over the top. Also, that same competitiveness that Rivers is lauded for will be his undoing as he’ll attempt some unnecessary deep throws into the Pittsburgh’s secondary. The only thing that worries me is Big Ben’s bell being rung to the tune of another concussion.

Went 3-1 in last weekend’s Wild Card matchups. Let’s keep up the good vibes.

2009 record: 5-2.

Straight Cash … Homey!

January 10, 2009 Posted by | General, NFL, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wild Card Playoff Picture

Does Peyton have what it takes to make a playoff run??

Does Peyton have what it takes to make a playoff run??

The NFL Playoffs start this weekend and I’m more excited to watch the postseason unfold than I was for my high school prom. Mainly because I love football, but also because my prom date looked like Marshawn Lynch.

Now, the StatDragon isn’t one for tooting his own horn, but he’s not one to let his genius be overlooked either. Last year I predicted correctly on 8 of the 11 postseason games, including a NY Giant Super Bowl birth (I was embarrassed to have wrongly predicted the Pats as Super Bowl Champs).

Lets take a look at the wild card match ups this weekend:

#5 Indianapolis Colts @ #4 San Diego Chargers (AFC)

 

I used to be scared of LaDainian Tomlinson. Now I’m scared of anyone coming out of that backfield. Darren Sproles has added a lot to the offense in attempts to relieve LT and keep fresh legs out on the field and the Colts run defense is (capitol W) WEAK. However, the Colts are riding a hot streak with 2 months of consecutive wins in their back pocket. I can’t think of any other quarterback that I’d least like to face in the post season than Peyton Manning (yes, over Tom Brady). And keep this in mind; although there are questions regarding the Colts defense, they rank 8 better than they did the season they won the Super Bowl. StatDragon takes the Colts in this matchup, and likes the potential of longevity for them in the postseason.

#6 Baltimore Ravens @ #3 Miami Dolphins (AFC)

 

Don’t let the rankings fool you here. These teams share the same regular season record and are relatively, closely matched. While Miami has the home field advantage and a tricky ‘wildcat formation’ to boot, they only rank 12th in the league in offense this year, and 15th in defense. The Ravens will come into Miami with a hard-nosed 2nd ranked defense and (mediocre) 18th ranked O. Because I found myself so baffled regarding the Dolphins improvement this year I did some research. In the NFL a win is a win. However, I noticed that 7 of the Dolphin’s 11 wins were over teams that posted a .500 record or less. They also lost 2 out of 3 games to teams currently in the post season. Meanwhile 3 of the 5 losses that the Ravens suffered were by a margin of 4 points or less to Goliath teams (Pittsburgh and Tennessee). StatDragon takes the Ravens in this matchup…just look at the facts.

#5 Atlanta Falcons @ #4 Arizona Cardinals (NFC)

 

I would have bet my life savings before the season started that Atlanta would not play in the post season. I’m glad I didn’t. StatDragon takes the Falcons in this match up for the same reasons that he likes the Ravens. The Falcons consistently played and beat better teams this season than the Cardinals have. Atlanta proves that their place in the playoffs is well deserved with wins over Carolina, Minnesota and San Diego. Although Arizona has an impressive ariel attack with threatening wide receivers, they were one loss away (to the 49ers) from not playing in this game.

#6 Philadelphia Eagles @ #3 Minnesota Vikings (NFC)

 

 Let’s just put it out there. There’s no way the StatDragon is going to predict ALL upsets this week, right? Well, let me tell you something. I don’t believe in ‘upsets’ in the Wild Card round of NFL playoffs. So yes, I’m predicting Philly to take this game. Although McNabb has had as rough of a time this year as Lindsay Lohan, the Eagles come into the postseason with experience and the fire off a recent winning streak. Although the Vikings support a highly touted rush defense, Philly is right behind them ranked at 4th in the league and have managed a better pass defense than the Minnesota Vikings this season. Undeniably, Adrian Peterson is a monster in the backfield, but I really love Brian Westbrook when it comes to the clutch. I have a feeling that this game is the closest to a blowout (if there is one) favoring the Eagles.

Stop by the SportsFly Blog next week, as StatDragon corrects his mistakes from this week and looks into the Divisional Playoff Matchups.

December 30, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment