Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday's NFL playoff football picks (and other stuff)

I was only 1-3 last week. Got to do better! Let's see...

INDIANAPOLIS 6.5 over Baltimore. PICK: COLTS. I respect the Ravens. But--they won last week largely due to uncharacteristic Patriot mistakes, which allowed them to run the ball, eat clock, and on defense rush the passer. I don't think the Colts will make all those kinds of errors; and Indy is rested, healthy (especially Mathis and Freeney on their D-line) and ready to go. Gotta go with Indy.

NEW ORLEANS 7 over Arizona. PICK: CARDINALS. Actually I think the Saints will win this game. But it will be close, with both offenses rambling up and down the field. I'm sure Arizona will move the ball and score points. But if Aaron Rodgers can shred that Cardinal defense, surely Drew Brees, rested and healthy, will too. New Orleans to win. But 7 pts is too much in what should be a shootout.

MINNESOTA 3 over Dallas. PICK: COWBOYS. You have to respect both teams here, especially both defenses. But ask yourself: on the whole, over the past month, which team has played better and looked better? I'd have to say the Cowboys, who have won 4 in a row now, none of them close, and played shutdown defense the whole way. Yes, the Vikings won their last game...but that was against a Giants team that, you hate to say it, had already run for the bus some time before. And before that, yes, the Vikings forced the Bears into overtime...but they lost that game to a sub-.500 Bears team. And then there are those puzzling losses at for example Carolina and Arizona. The Cowboys look to me to be at a bit of a higher level right now. Ride 'em.

SAN DIEGO 7 over NY Jets. PICK: JETS. Not to win. I think the Chargers will pull this one out in the end. But to keep it close--that Jets defense is playing well, their blitz packages are tough to handle, their running game is functioning well. I think Philip Rivers and the Bolts will find a way to win this one, but it'll be a close one.


Democratic lawmakers in Washington try to frighten Massachusetts Democrats into turning out to vote next week:
"A senior Massachusetts lawmaker says if Republicans win a special Senate election there next week, President Barack Obama's health care overhaul is dead. Democrat Barney Frank told reporters Friday: "If Scott Brown wins, it'll kill the health bill."

The good news: Democrats are worried. The bad news: who knows, their ploy might work.

By the way, here's why Democrats are so worried:
"Republican candidate Scott Brown has taken the lead over Democrat Martha Coakley in the race for the Massachusetts Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy, the latest poll shows. The Suffolk University/7News poll showed Brown leading Coakley by 4 percentage points. Brown had 50 percent, Coakley had 46 percent and independent candidate Joseph Kennedy, who is not related to the late senator, had 3 percent.
The race is still within the 4.4-point margin of error, but David Paleologos, the university's political research center director, said in a statement that the survey shows Brown has "surged dramatically."

And now even CNN has Republicans leading in the 2010 generic Congressional ballot, by 3 points.

Hmmm. Let's hope Republicans don't peak too soon.