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NFL Playoffs: Wild Card Round

Ohhh boy. It was quite a race to end the NFL Regular season. Lots of angry fans (Indy, Houston) and plenty of fans who are relieved the playoffs are finally here (Dallas, Minnesota, New Orleans, Indy). Here is a look at the matchups this weekend, should be a great first round:

New York Jets (9-7) @ Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): You may remember just a few short days ago the Jets putting up 37 points on the Bengals and not giving up a single point. Not only did the Jets shut down a good Cincy offense, they managed to “shut up” one of the biggest mouths in all of sports, Chad OchoCinco. Well, without a doubt, this game will be MUCH more competitive this weekend. Even though the Jets have a stellar defense led by shut down (or “shut up”) cornerback Darrelle Revis, the Bengals will be firing on all cylinders. Look for this one to be low scoring, both teams combined may not score more than 37 points.
My Pick: Cincinnati 23 New York 17

Baltimore Ravens (9-7) @ New England Patriots (10-6): The Ravens made the playoffs by winning a “must win” game against the Raiders last week. The extra time for the starters allowed them to keep things fresh as well as shake some rust off, primarily for playmaker Ed Reed. The Patriots (who I liked as a playoff surprise) come stumbling into the playoffs and will be without their #1 playmaker Wes Welker. That could prove costly for Tom Brady and the Pats. If the Ravens can sustain some drives and put some early points on the board, they could pull off the first round upset.
My Pick: Baltimore 26 New England 24

Green Bay Packers (11-5) @ Arizona Cardinals (10-6): It is hard to imagine, but this game seems to be the matchup of 2 “unsung” playoff teams. The Cards have kept their NFC West title under wraps and look to sneak up on teams like they did in last years playoffs. Even though Anquan Boldin has a bum ankle, the Arizona offense is still a scary matchup for most defenses. The Packers are the forgotten team out of the NFC North. Even though they have 2 losses against rival Minnesota, the Packers seem to be a legitimate threat to win it all this year. If Aaron Rodgers continues his great play, and Charles Woodson can take away one of the Cardinals WR’s, the Pack could be looking at a first round playoff win.
My Pick: Green Bay 30 Arizona 20

Philadelphia Eagles (11-5) @ Dallas Cowboys (11-5): Another repeat matchup from last week. Even though the Cowboys have won twice over their heated rivals from Philly, this 3rd matchup will not be an easy one for the Boys from Big D. At some points in the game last week, Philly looked to be going through the motions, trying not to show the Cowboys too much. Crazy thought? Perhaps, but I would assume the Eagles feel much more comfortable playing a team they are familiar with than one they have not seen all year. If Tony Romo and the Dallas offense can continue their consistent play, and the Dallas D keeps putting pressure on Mcnabb, the Cowboys could win their first playoff game since 1996. This should be the game of the weekend.
My Pick: Dallas 27 Philly 21

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