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Posted on: September 5, 2011 11:43 pm
Edited on: September 6, 2011 5:25 pm
 

2011 NFL Season Predictions

I'll try to follow up my Packers 31-17 Super Bowl prediction over the Ravens prediction of 2010 with a familiar set of predictions this year. Enjoy!

NFC EAST

Philadelphia Eagles- 11-5 - Philly improved their secondary,
but still weak in the middle of the defense. Offense still lacks a big target
for Vick. Can Vick and small WRs stay healthy?

Dallas Cowboys- 10-6 – Romo needs to utilize his young
offensive weapons and finish drives in the end zone to counter suspect defense
with newly charged DC Rex Ryan.

Washington Redskins- 7-9 – Redskins inconsistency at QB will
doom them in the end. If Coach Shanahan can trust a QB to manage the game, the
Redskins have a chance.

New York Giants- 7-9- Giants should have learned from the
Cowboys last year and realized that you can’t play that bad in the preseason
and expect a change in the regular season.

 

NFC NORTH

Green Bay Packers- 14-2- Packers were a 12-14 win team last
year but injuries got in the way. Packers improved dramatically by just getting
healthy. Cheese heads may forget who Favre is by season’s end.

Chicago Bears- 11-5 – Bears start the season off with the
three best teams in the NFC, two at home. A win or two in the first three will
determine their season and will show what this team is made of.

Detroit Lions- 10-6- The playoffs will be early for the
young cubs as the Week 1 and Week 4 match up against the Bucs and Cowboys will
be crucial. Stafford’s health is the big X factor for this team as usual.

Minnesota Vikings- 6-10- Donovan McNabb will feel young
again for the wrong reasons. Great RB, but his receivers will be one of the
league’s worst groups like they were when he was on the Eagles.

 

NFC SOUTH

New Orleans Saints- 13-3- Veteran team with some hungry
newcomers will wreak havoc in the toughest division in the NFL. Saints have a
chip on shoulder and will refuse to let weak NFL rule make them travel.

Atlanta Falcons- 12-4- Got to admit that Julio Jones is on
every one of my fantasy teams, but I’m not biased. Jones will prove to everyone
why the Falcons traded for him. Ryan has an extra weapon.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers- 10-6- The young Buccaneers will prove
to everybody that last year’s success was not because of favorable schedule.
Can stud QB Josh Freeman and the young Bucs make the playoffs?

Carolina Panthers- 1-15- Cam Newton is getting paid more
than he did in college, but his success will be dramatically different. Good
games will not be awarded with wins, but moral wins in the NFL pay off well.

NFC WEST

Arizona Cardinals- 8-8- The NFC West is still the worst and
will only slightly improve. QB Kevin Kolb is a big improvement for the West,
but won’t mean much in the NFC playoffs.

St. Louis Rams- 7-9- Things don’t get better or worse for
the Rams but the experience of the season will give Rams hope for years to
come. NFL fans will get to see great RB Steven Jackson in the playoffs in future.

Seattle Seahawks- 4-12- Season ticket holders who call
themselves the best “12<sup>th</sup> man” in league will regret buying tickets.
Seahawks will regret not losing more games than winning games.

San Francisco 49ers- 3-13- That won’t be “suck” you are
hearing in the crowd, it will be for Stanford QB Andrew Luck, and 49ers fans
will try to ignore that sick feeling in their gut as Alex Smith looked the
same.

 

AFC EAST

New England Patriots- 13-3- My hatred for the Patriots won’t
make me ignore their solid winning system led by QB Tom Brady. Will two misfits
(Haynesworth and Johnson) be greater than one? We will see…

New York Jets- 11-5- Defense will prevail once again. The
best thing from the offense will be parolee WR Plaxico Burress won’t shoot
himself during the season. Fans will wish he shoots QB Mark Sanchez.

Buffalo Bills- 5-11- Bills will be one of the most exciting
teams to watch all season, but end results will be the same as losing has
become the norm. This is a playoff killing team as I expect upsets.

Miami Dolphins- 4-12- The best thing Reggie Bush brings to
Miami is community support which I commend him for and hope he keeps up on.
Other than that, not much, if anything at all on the field.

 

AFC NORTH

Pittsburgh Steelers- 12-4- Easiest schedule for defending
AFC champs will get them in the playoffs, but how much further after that? The
league’s most hated team will struggle with loyalty and health.

Baltimore Ravens- 11-5- The Ravens weak off season will come
back to haunt them. Age will be looming on the team as the defensive era’s end
may come to an end before the season’s end.

Cleveland Browns- 6-10- Record won’t reflect great strides
the Browns will have made by season’s end. Record could flip flop on
progression of QB Colt McCoy.

Cincinnati Bengals- 1-15- Record will be reflection of
ownership, management, and coaching. Best thing for the Bengals this season
will be RB Cedrick Benson’s 20 day prison sentence was reduced to 5 days.

 

AFC SOUTH

Houston Texans- 11-5- Texans finally live up to experts
predictions the last five years and make the playoffs. Division win will be scrutinized
because of another team’s player’s health.

Indianapolis Colts- 9-7- My heart bleeds with the news of
Peyton Manning’s health, even as a Cowboys fan. It may be for hatred of Brett
Favre’s only meaningful record. Good guys don’t always win.

Tennessee Titans- 7-9- They paid CJ2K but it won’t mean
much. QB Matt Hassleback is an improvement with a huge health risk. Add that to
WR Kenny Britt’s prison risk, it doesn’t add up too well.

Jacksonville Jaguars- 3-13- Not sure why Coach Jack Del Rio even
stays as coach of this team. Jaguars will need to evaluate rookie QB Blaine
Gabbert to see if they should enter the “Luck” sweepstakes.

 

AFC WEST

San Diego Chargers- 12-4- QB Philip Rivers will have huge
year and the special teams unit won’t ruin it. Chargers will look for revenge
but a mirror is not allowed on the playing field. Will they make a run?

Kansas City Chiefs- 6-10- Chiefs will come back to life with
first place schedule. QB Matt Cassel has to play beyond himself for this team
to challenge. Fans will still enjoy electric RBs Chiefs offer.

Denver Broncos- 6-10- Broncos defense will again destroy any
hopes of Broncos success. Hall of Fame QB John Elway, will right the sunken
ship ex coach Josh McDaniels sunk. Ship will be repainted by next year.

Oakland Raiders- 5-11- Raiders will still be playoff killing
team late in season instead of playoff competing team. Raiders seemed to have
invade beach with quicksand, AKA Al Davis.

 

NFL PLAYOFFS

WILCARD

Falcons @ Cardinals- Matty Ice finally wins a playoff game and the Falcons look like a team on the verge like the 2010 Packers. Kevin Kolb gets his feet wet in the playoffs and the Cardinals future will be looking good despite the loss.

Bears @ Eagles- Bears defense knows how to contain Vick and they will do it again. Vick will receive blame for
loss, but small WRs rarely win the big games.

Jets @ Texans- Revis Island looks more like Shutter Island. Andre Johnson plays the
doctor.

Ravens @ Steelers- Ravens steal the show and doesn’t
squander early lead. True NFL fans wil enjoy this match up as it may be the end
of several future hall of famers’ careers.

DIVISION

Bears @ Packers- The Bears will get a chance to avenge their loss to the Packers in last year's Championship game, but Rodgers will prevail once again. A lack of a possession WR will be the top of the Bears list for the offseason. A year too late.

Falcons @ Saints- QB Matt Ryan will be questioned again despite ridding himself of the "one and done" label. The Saints seem like a team destined for another taste of the Lombardi trophy.

Ravens @ Patriots- Revenge game comes through for hungry
Patriots. Ravens playoff failures squawk “evermore”.

Texans @ Chargers- Great battle will result in home playoff
advantage. Rivers elevates status.

 

CHAMPIONSHIP

Saints @ Packers- The Saints march right into their
kryptonite and that is outdoor weather. Packers wear beach gear in celebration
despite going to Indianapolis.

Chargers @ Patriots- Revenge plays a factor again and people
will start to question Patriots playoff legacy. QB Philip Rivers finally gets a
chance to shine.

 

SUPER BOWL

PACKERS vs. CHARGERS- Experience trumps inexperience as QB
Aaron Rodgers elevates his status from Favre status to Starr status in Cheese
Head lure. Packers 34, Chargers 24

 

SEASON AWARDS

MVP- QB Aaron Rodgers- Packers’ Rodgers is no surprise and
Super Bowl status puts him above QB Tom Brady who has similar stats overall at
end of season. Vikings RB Adrian Peterson will have supporters as well.

COACH- Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy will follow his QB and
receive an award he deserved last year with all of the injuries he had to deal
with.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER- WR Andre Johnson, Texans, won’t receive
the proper amount of votes he deserves for MVP, but will be rewarded for
stellar year with OPY.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER- DT Ndamukong Suh, Lions, will be mentioned
in MVP talks but not seriously enough. Young DT will already start “greatest DT”
talks.

ROOKIE- WR Julio Jones , Falcons, will not disappoint the
many draft picks the Falcons used to get him with 1,000 plus and near ten TD
season.



Posted on: September 27, 2010 9:24 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2010 7:00 pm
 

Week 3 Thoughts

The NFL is proving again why it's America's sport. NFL teams truly do start 0-0 and have a chance of making the playoffs. The short season makes every game count. There is no time to relax during the season and there are always storylines to keep us talking on even the boringest of off days.
Here are my thought from Week 3:
- The Cowboys finally looked good, but they are not off the hook just yet. I still question Garrett's game plan. He has shown in the past that he can put a game together, but quickly reverts to his stupid pass happy play calling. He still needs to manage the run game better. Marion Barber should be the main focus of the run game and if he is running well, should never come off the field.
- I was waiting for one of two things when the referee stuttered his way through offsetting penalties. Either a "wanna get away" Southwest commercial or a "I'm not really a ref, but I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night" Holiday Inn commercial.
- The young Buccaneers learned a tough lesson against the Steelers. It's a good lesson to learn from.
- Call me crazy, but Coach Tomlin may not have wanted this. It's going to be tough to put a guy like Ben Roethlisberger back on the field after his team has rallied around the back up QBs. Big Ben has put his ego before the team and chemistry could be an issue.
- The Patriots have a lot of scoring to do this season with that swiss cheese defense.
- Jets WR Braylon Edwards should have had his BAC read after his TD. He actually caught the ball. He must have been drunk.
- Ravens WR Donte Stallworth is going to run over a defender before he scores a TD. That was cheap. I know.
- Anquon Boldin looks like the stud he is. Hoowazthat other guy they picked up? Scary win for the Ravens.
- Bengals win, but QB Carson Palmer looks more like Trent Edwards than the franchise guy they had hopes for.
- Coach Mike Singletary fires another OC. Mike Martz looks good in Chicago. Singletary may want to drop his drawers again.
- The Chiefs have some explosive players. The most explosive may be QB Matt Cassell who may blow the season up if he doesn't play better.
- Who's that with the worst QB rating as a starting QB? That's right. Vikings Brett Favre who looks more like the INT record breaker than the TD record breaker so far. That was a bad pass to Percy Harvin who made a great diving play for the TD. I'm not scared to say it.
- Saints Garrett Hartley better mark his calendar for the next job fair in New Orleans. Just ridiculous.
- Drew Brees looked more like Eli Manning than Peyton Manning.
- I'm the carries watch for Titans RB Chris Johnson. It will be tough for him getting 30 plus carries every game.
- I'm not falling for Eagles Michael Vick just yet. I want to see him face a tough defense that has game tapes against him. The Jaguras and Lions (who the Eagles barely beat last week) may not combine for 6 wins this year. I need to see more.
- They make a QB high profile QB change and the Redskins remain the same. Losing to the Rams is inexcusable. No pride still.
- Somebody should tell Albert Haynesworth that he isn't winning anybody over with his pathetic remarks. He made a quote tying his contract to slavery. I don't even think Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton would be dumb enough to defend that garbage.
-- If I'm Dan Snyder, I'm not calling other teams for trades, I'm calling Tony Soprano.
- Raiders Sebastian Janikowski should read my Hartley remarks. Oh wait, he has Al Davis for an owner. His job is secure.
- Only Colts Peyton Manning can bring in a rookie practice squad player and not appear to miss a beat.
- The Chargers special teams is horrible. That's two games they choked in big situations.
- Why would any player in the future consider the Chargers?
- The Packers fans who hated on Ted Thompson can start kissing his feet. He made a great call going with Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers looks to have the ability to equal Bart Starr's super bowl total.

Posted on: September 14, 2010 5:05 pm
 

Week 1 Thoughts

The NFL is off and running. Week 1 had a lot of games come down to the wire. Here are some thoughts I had during Week 1 throughout the NFL.
- The Vikings and Brett Favre better realize this year's schedule is much more difficult than last year's. They can't treat the first four games like its preseason games for Favre like they did last year.
- I hope the NFL looks into why the referee overruled the Visanthe Shiancoe catch. The first ref called it a completion, but was overruled by a ref who appeared to have no angle on it. If it was called complete like it should have, it would not have been reversed.
- Thank you Cris Carter for supporting what I have been saying the past three years. Jason Garrett doesn't seem to know what he is doing and it looks like the Cowboys don't believe in his offense. Not calling a kneel is on him. Why is he not on the hot seat?
- That wasn't a hold at the end of the game...that was attempted murder. Is strangling covered in the rule book?
- Redskins fans should enjoy the Week 1 win, but remember, your defense is outscoring your offense.
- Albert Haynesworth is a disgusting joke  to say the least. How can any owner justify trading for him? He's not an American.
- It didn't even take 30 minutes before controversy hit the Bengals. Not a surprise by any means. Bengals looked like kittens.
- A win is a win, but the Dolphins and Bears have to feel like they're 0-1. 
- The Colts Bob Sanders has to have the saddest career. The Defensive Player of the Year has now missed more games than played.
- The Texans have finally made their mark. They still have a tough schedule, but they look like they're ready to dethrone the Colts.
- The most hyped player I ever have seen makes his debut in his college area. 2 carries for 2 yards. Nice debut Tim Tebow.
- Did anybody else hear the Giants crowd cheer for their ex punter? They chanted "Feagles, Feagles" after a blocked punt. Funny!
- Good win for the Steelers. The fans were excited when they woke up in overtime.
- Vince Young looks really good. Nice to see him mature. What happend to that QB he beat in college? What was his name again?
- I watched Stewart Bradley get up and stumble to the ground to walk off the field. When I saw him back on the field a few plays later, I was absolutely stunned. Did the Eagles want to see a player die on the field? Is there a fine for an obvious lapse in judgement?
- It didn't take long for the Eagles to boo Kevin Kolb. You see Donovan McNabb, the Eagles fans aren't racist, they're just stupid.
- Mike Williams is a feel good story about a young man who lost his way, matured, and has found himself again. Michael Vick is not a feel good story. He would still be murdering dogs right now if he wasn't caught. He looks good, but he will never win back certain fans.
- I wasn't surprised to hear the Cardinals tried to get Kurt Warner to come back. Thank you for not making a soap opera about it.
- If I hear a peep of smack talk from the Jets again, I'm going to laugh. Good job Rex Ryan for putting pressure on your second year QB Mark Sanchez who appears to be a long ways away from being a good NFL QB.
- To top it off, the Jets haven't learned from the past. Don't get Ray Lewis fired up. He actually lives up to the talk.
- The Jets kept on talking; quoth the Raven "Nevermore".
- The Chiefs look like early winners in the 2010 draft. They have explosiveness like no other team. Now all they have to do is sustain a drive.
- There is a line between being a competitor and being a crybaby. Chargers QB Phillip Rivers was being a crybaby. The QB is supposed to be the leader of the offense. Pointing at your teammates and crying like a baby is not being a leader. It was embarrassing to watch.

Posted on: January 22, 2010 12:49 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2010 12:52 pm
 

Playoffs- Conference Championships

New York Jets @ Indianapolis Colts (-7.5)
This is an interesting match up as karma could come back to haunt the Colts. In week 16, the Colts had a 15-10 lead in the third quarter over the Jets and pulled their players and lost the game. The fans were verry disgusted with the decision and rightfully so. The Jets would have been eliminated from the playoffs if they lost that game and are now just one win away from the Super Bowl.
Neither team can worry about the past. The Jets #1 defense against the Colts and Peyton Manning will be a fun chess match to watch. The Jets have Darrelle Revis, arguably the best cover corner in years, and it will be interesting how the Jets use him. Revis usually covers the #1 WR, but last week was used to cover different WRs in an upset victory over the Chargers. Revis was only thrown at four times last week and one was completed for a loss of four yards and he had one INT. The Jets could use him to cover Reggie Wayne, but Peyton Manning has a few other weapons in WRs Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie. And of course, the great Dallas Clark.
On the other side of the ball, the Jets have a new found weapon, Shonn Greene. Greene has been big for the Jets this post season with two great games. It will be important for him and Thomas Jones to get the run game going and moving moving the chains so there isn't as much pressure on rookie QB Mark Sanchez. The Colts will do their best trying to put as much pressure on Sanchez and that starts with stopping the run and forcing obvious passing situations. Sanchez cannot make mistakes or this game could get ugly.
My Prediction: The Colts have the twelth man with the home crowd and have a solid defense that doesn't allow big plays. I expect the Colts to stop the run and take control of this game with turnovers. The Jets will play close most of the game, but the defense will be on the field too long and wear out in the end. Colts 27, Jets 13.

Minnesota Vikings @ New Orleans Saints (-3.5)
This game is subtitled "The Starcaps Bowl" as it features four players, two from each team, that avoided suspension for illegal substance abuse. Both teams have a balanced offense. Surprisingly, the Vikings have been the more pass happy team the last half of the season. The Vikings have been able to win games without Adrian Peterson having great games, but that will need to happen this week. The Vikings won't have the luxury of a home dome crowd and wil have to deal with the same level of noise on the road. They will have to use a silent count which means the Saints DEs will have a jump on the ball over the tackles which could spell trouble for the Vikes Brett Favre. The Vikings will have to find success running the ball and take an early lead to silence the crowd. The Cardinals did last week, but allowed the Saints to easily march down field for a score and the game was over from that point on.
The Saints will have to prevent the big plays that killed the Cowboys last week and that starts with covering the deep threat, Sidney Rice. Percy Harvin has the ability to make the big play with his speed, but Rice has been the main guy down field. The Saints have Darren Sharper, a veteran leader who is familiar with Favre as they were teammates in Green Bay. Will Sharper be able to bait Favre into throwing INTS is the question. The answer will depend on how much pressure they can put on Favre.
The Vikings defensive line will have to play the way it did against the Cowboys last week. If they give Drew Brees too much time, he will pick them apart with all the weapons they have. The Saints have seven receivers with 35 catches or more.
My Prediction: I have to give the edge to the team with the twelth man again. The Saints have too many weapons and if the Vikings are forced to be a one dimensional pass happy team again, I think the Saints will be able to pressure Favre who will have to use a silent count. Saints 30, Vikings 20.

I haven't seen any information on this but when was the last time there were three dome teams in the championship round? The Super Bowl has never featured two dome teams and will have at least one there this year. The Rams, 1999, were the first dome team to win the super bowl.

Posted on: January 15, 2010 11:40 pm
 

Playoffs- Divisional Round

Last Week- 2-2
Prediction: Bengals 20, Jets 13. Actual Score- Jets 24, Bengals 14. I thought the Bengals went to sleep on purpose in Week 17, but they apparently went into hibernation until next year.
Prediction: Cowboys 27, Eagles 17. Actual Score- Cowboys 34, Eagles 14. Was close and predicted a rather easy Cowboys victory.
Prediction: Ravens 23, Patriots 17- Actual Score- Ravens 33, Patriots 14. I thought the Ravens could win with the run game and they did with the first play. The Patriots looked very old and senile without Wes Welker.
Prediction: Packers 30, Cardinals 21. Actual Score- Cardinals 51, Packers 45. This wild west shootout ended in dramatic fashion. Too bad fans will forget because of all the missed penalties on both sides of the ball.

Now for the Divisional Round:

Cardinals @ Saints (-7)
A rather surprising spread favoring the Saints who are a three game skid ever since talking about going undefeated. Drew Brees is a true leader, though, and will have his team refocused on the ultimate prize. The Saints defense will have to play the way it did early in the season when they were making big plays.
Anquon Boldin is questionable but it's uncertain how big a factor that is after the way Early Doucet played last week. Of course, that's an exaggeration, they need Boldin in every game. Kurt Warner played at a level rarely seen in any game last week and it is impossible for him to do the same against the Saints. The Cardinals could get an early lead, but the Saints have proved several time during the season they can overcome big leads.
A key match up to look for is Jeremy Shockey versus the Cardinals linebackers. Coach Payton will find ways for mismatches and Shockey will be the guy for them.
My Prediction: This will be another shoot out, but not as bad as last week's game. There will actually be some defense in this one. Saints 35, Cardinals 31.

Ravens @ Colts (-6)
It will be interesting how the Colts fans treat their home team after they had to watch one of the worst decisions in any sport, in my opinion. If there is any team that deserves to lose, it's the Colts. They have a histroy of losing playoff games when they rest players. They not only rested their players this year, they quit on making history in Week 16 by killing their own undefeated season, and then came back the next week and made sure their key players made receptions for history. A still angry crowd could deflate the Colts.
Ray Rice had a huge week last week against the Patriots. The Colts will have to contain him and make Joe Flacco make plays against them.
The key match up will be LT Jared Gaither versus Dwight Freeney. Freeney looked like a man against boys against the Jets in the first half of the forfeited game. Gaither will have to help make Flacco comfortable. The Colts will key on the run and Flacco will need time to make the plays to win the game.
My Prediction: The Colts will not be greeted well from the start, but a score or two will win back their fans. The Ravens will play this close, but will fade in the second half. Colts 31, Ravens 17.

Cowboys @ Vikings (-2.5)
Brett Favre will finally get hs chance to prove he was the right man for the job. His recent post season past does not help him. There are many worthless stats in this game with Favre 0-3 vs Cowboys in playoffs and the Cowboys last road playoff win was in 1992 being the most talked about. That was the past and these are two very different teams.
Adrian Peterson will have to come out of his shell and get 100 plus yards for the Vikings to win. Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins have played very well lately and should be able to limit Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin from making big plays.
The key match ups will be for both QBs. The Vikings LT Bryant McKinnie will have to keep DeMarcus Ware off of Favre for success, and the Cowboys LT Flozell Adams will have to contain Jared Allen so the red hot Tony Romo isn't pressured into mistakes.
My Prediction: I think both teams will limit the RBs and it will be up to the QBs to win the game. Favre could revert to the guy who forces plays to win. Ware and Anthony Spencer will put the pressure on and Favre will once again, turn the ball over too many times. Cowboys 24, Vikings 17.

Jets @ Chargers (-7)
This game looks like a blow out in the making but the Jets are the team that won't go away. The Jets will have to control the ball to win this game, and again, have their running game will have to help prevent this game by putting it on Mark Sanchez's shoulders.
Expect Darrelle Revis to lock down Vincent Jackson. Malcom Floyd has done well all season and Antonio Gates and other WRs give Philip Rivers big targets to throw to. LaDainian Tomlinson has been injured the last few playoffs so it will be interesting to see how he does during the game.
My Prediction: I just think the Chargers outmatch the Jets and will be able to move the ball a lot better than the Jets with their veteran QB. Chargers 27, Jets 13.
Posted on: January 8, 2010 12:27 pm
 

Playoffs- Wild Card Round

New York Jets at Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5)
This is the first of three Week 17 rematches. The Jets crushed the Bengals last week, but the Bengals didn't have much to play for and their effort was questionable. I think Darrelle Revis, possible defensive player of the year, will again lock down Chad Ochocinco who is banged up. The big question will be whether Laveranues Coles and Andre Caldwell can step up. Cedric Benson was out last week and will be back and he will also have to carry the load against the league's number one rated defense.
For the Jets, it will be how much weight will be on Mark Sanchez's shoulders. Can Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene continue to pound the rock and move the chains? If they can't and have to throw the ball, Sanchez could struggle against one of the better CB tandems in the league.
My Prediction: I think the Bengals will force Sanchez to beat them and he will make too many mistakes on the road again. Bengals 20, Jets 13

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (-4)
The last time these two teams met three times was back in 1995. The Cowboys won 30-11 in the playoffs after splitting the regular season meetings. The last time the Cowboys swept a division rivalry and met them in the playoffs was in 2007 and they lost to the New York Giants who went on to win the super bowl. It's never easy to beat a team three times in the NFL and the Cowboys will have to win two in a row in back to back weeks. The Eagles had a lot to gain last week (the number two seed and a bye) and were shut out. The Cowboys ran all over the Eagles and shut down their explosive offense. The interestingmatch up will be the Eagles DeSean Jackson versus Terence Newman. Jackson quickly made bulletin board quotes despite getting getting shut out last week. There were deep opportunities that were missed last week.
The question for the Cowboys will be how will they react to an Eagles score and possibly being down? They have shut out their last two opponents and a score could deflate them. How will they bounce back? Blame each other or press on? The other question will be the Cowboys finishing drives. After a great start this season, the Cowboys have lost their offensive identity. They can't finish drives in the end zone and last week, with a 7-0 lead, turned the ball over in the red zone. They cannot afford those mistakes in the playoffs, especially with the weight of 13 straight seasons without a playoff win on their shoulder. Tony Romo will need to continue to play mistake free.
My Prediction: Brian Westbrook for the Eagles hasn't looked the same and he will hurt as he always gave the Cowboys problems. The Cowboys will stop the big plays from killing them. Cowboys 27, Eagles 17.

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots (-3)
This will be the secon d meeting between the two and the first came down to the wire. The Patriots pulled out victorious, but will be without their outstanding WR Wes Welker. Welker was the key guy that moved the chains. He took care of the middle of the field while Randy Moss concentrated on the outside. Rookie Julian Edelman will have to fill Welkers shoes. The Ravens Ray Rice and Willis McGahee are a great tandem and could have a big day against the aging Patriots defense. The big match up will be how Randy Moss versus Ravens pass coverage. If the Ravens can keep Moss from having a big day, Tom Brady will have to trust other targets he isn't used to in the playoffs. 
The Patriots will have to contain Rice and McGahee to be able to win. 
My Prediction: The loss of Wes Welker will be big and if the Ravens can grab an early lead, the running game will help them keep it. Ravens 23, Patriots 17. 

Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals (PK)
This last Week 17 rematch isn't exactly a rematch since the Cardinals didn't even try. The Cardinals did leave Anquon Boldin in too long and he injured his knee which looks to limit his ability this week. The Packers have been one of the hottest teams in the NFC and Aaron Rodgers has been taking a lot less sacks. It also helps that Ryan Grant has found his ways again. 
The best match up of the week will be Larry Fitzgerald versus Charles Woodson. If Woodson can clamp down Fitzgerald, it could be a very long day for Cardinals fans just like it was last week. 
With Boldin injured, the Cardinals running game with Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower will have to run the ball well. The two, however, have combined for nine fumbles. They will be facing the leagues number two defense.
My Prediction: I think the team that wins the turnover battle will win the game. The Cradinals will be the team that turns it over. Packers 30, Cardinals 21.  
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com