Here we are a playoff round away from the Super Bowl with two teams in the NFC nobody thought would be playing at this point and two on the AFC side that were expected to a point. No I don’t have a point, thank you every little.
Let’s get to the predictions already…
#6 Philadelphia Eagles at #4 Arizona Cardinals
Matt (6-2 2009 prediction record): With so many big names on the offensive side of the ball for both teams, it will be the defense that dictates the pace of this game. Arizona has been great defensively as of late, and with a beat-up Westbrook, will be looking for the death blow.
Anquan Boldin appears to be playing, and will make a huge difference as Warner looks to unload the ball early to avoid the nasty pass rush of Philly. The home team will win in the desert, and be the most unlikely thing to make it to the top since Al Franken.
Look for Andy Reid to retire, and manage a chain of IHOP's. The Eagles will run McNabb out of town, and then realize that he was pretty good roughly 9 months later as they miss the playoffs.
Rambler (5-3): Metaphorically, the Cardinals are no match for the Eagles, if one compares them bird against bird.
Cardinals are passerine birds, or perching birds; Eagles, predatory birds, birds of prey. Ornithology aside, the Cardinals preyed on the higher-seeded Panthers, 33-13 last week and before that, ornithology back in play, they took down the Falcons, 30-24.
As the sixth seed, the Eagles, meanwhile, true to their mascot, have been preying on the higher seeds for the entire playoffs, first with the Vikings and then the top-seeded Giants.
The two faced each other once this season with the Eagles rolling 48-20. This time, though, I believe the Cardinals will be more ready than they were back on Thanksgiving.
Despite being more ready, I still think the Eagles win, with McNabb and Westbrook leading the charge as usual, but not by as large a margin, 37-27.
To make up for my lack of humor this week, thanks to a stomach flu, which I’m still battling, I’ll throw out videos, for the teams who I think will win their games that…uh…capture each team’s spirit. Yeah, sure.
Chris (4-4): Will the Cardinals defense be like a woman dating Randy Vanwarmer and leave them just when they needed them most? If they don’t stop Westbrook then yes.
(On a side note I have to say that "Just When I Needed You Most" is the most frigging depressing song ever.)
Warner has been sacked once in the post-season. Once! Warner! This week the Eagles will show him what blitzes are all about. They will be very aggressive at the line of scrimmage, putting the squeeze on Kurt, thus leading to Samuel and Dawkins being fed INT’s like a Gerber baby.
Phili wins 38-14 as Warner finally gets rattled in the postseason and the “Eggles” wait to see if it is a Pennsylvania Super Bowl. Ugh.
#6 Baltimore Ravens at #2 Pittsburgh Steelers
Matt: If I could pick a game to end up 2-0, this would be the one. Is 1-0 possible? Maybe there should be a coin flip.
This game will come down to a battle of the field goal kickers and turnovers. Unfortunately for the Ravens, Pitt will take charge on special teams, and their defense will resemble a tornado through a cheap Texas trailer park. I like Joe Flacco, and I like saying Joe Flacco even more, but this will not be his day. A QB rating of 40 is in his future.
Nobody's buying steel from Pittsburgh, but I'm buying the Steelers.
Rambler: Do I need to say this? Defense is the name of the game here.
The Steelers, the No. 1 defense during the regular season, and the Ravens, the No. 2 defense during the regular season, have matched up twice this year.
The Steelers won the first one 23-20 in overtime on Sept. 29 at Pittsburgh, and then the second one 13-9 at Baltimore on Dec. 14. In the first game, Willie Parker was out; in the second game, he might as well have been with a mere 47 yards. This time again, I don’t think he will be a factor, and the passing game once again will prevail with Ward, Washington and Holmes leading the charge.
The Steelers win another close one to the Ravens 16-14.
Chris: You like lists right? Me neither.
The Top Five reasons why purists will love this game and casual fans will hate it:
5. The Ravens have not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 35 consecutive games.
4. The Steelers’ offense is methodical but boring.
3. The #1 defense vs the #2 defense
2. It will be low scoring. I think the over/under is like six.
1. The over/under on the usage of the word “defense” by the announcers is 232.
Steelers beat the Ravens for the third time this season 13-10 and the final sign of the apocalypse, The Pennsylvania Super Bowl manifests itself. The Rapture even.
Don't miss the Super Bowl Round of the Playoff Predictions Friday January 30th.