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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

Time to Change the Overtime Rule?

In the wake of the Colts/Chargers game–a game that went into overtime and was won by the Chargers’ Darren Sproles scampering into the endzone–many critics are suggesting that the rule (which states that the first team to score wins) should be changed.

Should Overtime Be Changed?

Should Overtime Be Changed?

While everyone would certainly have loved to see what the Colts could’ve done had they won the coin toss, the rule is fair.  Simply because a team wins the coin toss does not mean that the opposing defense will roll over and die.  If the opposing team wants to win, have the defense step up and make a play.  Remember, the Eagles and Bengals played all the way to the end of overtime without anyone scoring a point this season.

While the college rule is exciting, it’s almost too fair.  The ball is placed on the 25 yard line with a first and ten without the help of special teams.  The offense is almost guaranteed to score at least a fieldgoal.  If anything, it gives the offense too much of an advantage.

The mantra in this country is that soceity is going too soft.  Kids complain that they lost in a Championship game and feel sad, so parents petition the school to hand out “runner up” trophies.  Hell, they have even banned dodge ball and tag in some schools.  And we wonder why there’s a child obesity problem? 

Yet at the same token, we want our kids at the college level to have an “equal chance to score?”  We need to realize that the concept of overtime is implemented because both teams couldn’t seal the deal in four straight quarters.  Overtime should indeed be a “sudden death” approach–if you couldn’t win the game over the course of regulation, you have one last, limited chance to do so in overtime.  Regardless of whether or not it’s fair.

If the overtime rule was indeed altered, I wouldn’t mind seeing the NFL ban field goals.  While it’s perfectly acceptable to kick a field goal to win a game, I think if you eliminated the ability for a team to make this attempt, it would allow both the offenses and defenses to truly go toe to toe.  And more than likely, I would imagine that the team that wins the coin toss won’t immediately score on their first drive, thus allowing more of an opportunity for both opposing teams offenses to get a chance on the field.  It would also allow for a bit more of an exciting finish, without feeling as though the ball needs to be placed on an arbitrary yardline without the use of a kickoff.

January 9, 2009 Posted by | NFL | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments