Well...I was too busy to get my predictions in for Wild Card weekend so I'm taking some time on my day off on this wonderful Pennsylvania January of freezing rain and boredom to get some in for the Divisional Round.
Of course, I'm going to start with our beloved Steelers.
I think the Steelers needed the bye week more than any of the other teams. Big Ben banged up and I think the team was in general after playing such a difficult schedule.
Now a few things to note about the contest. The Steelers were able to get the ground game going against the Browns but that means exactly dick. The Browns mailed it in about a month prior to the regular season finale.
The harsh reality is this: The offensive line isn't going to get any better folks. Out of all the playoff teams, Pittsburgh's is probably the worst. If they are able to run against the Chargers, I'll be shocked. So this will leave the game in the defense/Big Ben's hands.
As long as Arians doesn't call a lot of five step drop passing plays against a defense that can pressure and a line that can't protect the offense should do enough to win. I'm honestly surprised that Arians hasn't taken any shit over this. His playcalling sometimes makes me scratch my head (see the game vs. the Colts for prime examples). Not being able to convert third and shorts on the ground is a little disconcerting as well.
I expect the defense to come out and play well in this one. Big whoop if Tomlinson doesn't play, Sproles is more dangerous than him at this point. We'll be bombarded with a bunch of camera shots of LT pouting on the sidelines. I understand why the media gives him a free pass (good guy, had some amazing years, etc.) but still they have crucified guys for doing the exact same thing. LT pouts when things don't go his way. And the bastard cost me big in fantasy football this year.
Back to the Charger offense....Rivers will probably have to win the game himself. Sproles won't be that big of a factor, as he took a beating in the Colts contest and I don't think he can take a whole lot of beating with his diminutive frame. Gates is hobbling and Vinnie Jackson got arrested for a DUI while on probation for DUI this week. Way to put the team first Vinnie, keep it real.
The other area in which I'm concerned is special teams. I have the terrible feeling that the special teams are due to take a giant shit at the most inopportune time, as they have in the past. Overlooked in the Chargers' win vs. Indy was punter, Mike Scifres. He netted 52 yards a punt and the best field position the Arrogant Hick and his merry men had was at their own 33 yard line all night long.
Prediction: Expect the game to be ugly with some nasty weather, temps in the 10s and a chance of snow. The defense will make a pivotal play to carry the Steelers into the next round.
PITTSBURGH 17, SAN DIEGO 13.
Baltimore @ Tennessee
Hmmm...this game is loaded with enough despicable assholes that if the field caught on fire I wouldn't really care. This will be another ugly hard-hitting game but I'm going with the Titans because I think Collins will fuck up less than Flacco.
TENNESSEE 13, BALTIMORE 10.
Arizona @ Carolina
Since the Cardinals have been terrible on the road, Boldin isn't healthy, they can't stop the run (last week not withstanding, I believe that was a fluke), I don't like their chances. They surprised last week with Edgerrin James looking five years younger and their defense playing well. Snap back to reality, Williams and Stewart will have big games, Steve Smith will make a big play or two and Carolina will advance.
CAROLINA 28, ARIZONA 17.
Philadelphia @ NY Giants
Earn the number one seed in the conference and you're reward is possibly the hottest team in the NFC. An upset could happen but the Giants ground game/offensive line will keep that from happening. The Giants line is possibly the best in the league right now, however they looked like shit against Dallas. Philadelphia blitzes first and asks questions...well never. Once again, don't be shocked if Philly pulls this one out but I don't have the balls to pick it.
NY GIANTS 21, PHILADELPHIA 20.
P.S. Yeah my picks on UFC 92 didn't work out too well. Watching two of my favorite fighters getting their shit ruined was a little troubling.