Here’s a quick and early look at “rematch” weekend around the league in the Divisional Playoffs:
Baltimore at Tennessee – These two teams met in week five and the Titans won 13-10 in Baltimore. This is going to be a hard-hitting game and right now the Ravens defense is going to be tough to score against. The Titans will need to run the ball with success to try and avoid putting Kerry Collins in a tough spot. As for Joe Flacco, the rookie Ravens signal caller looked great vs the Fins, but the Titans defnese with a returning Albert Haynesworth is another story. Don’t expect either team to put up more than 17 points.
Arizona at Carolina – The Panthers had to rally in week eight to overcome the Cards 27-23 at home. Arizona is coming off a bizarre win over the Falcons in which they actually tried to run the ball. They won’t have much success in doing that vs the Panthers, and will have to challenge Carolina in the air a lot, and I wouldn’t doubt Kurt Warner throwing 40+ times. As for the Panthers on offense, they will run a lot, and I think their running game with Jonathan Stewart and more so from DeAngelo Williams is going to have a big night. Expect plenty of points on each side in a shootout.
Philadelphia at New York Giants – The real grudge game of the divisional round pits two teams that know each other all too well. The Eagles are one of just four teams to top the Giants, and that came just six weeks ago on December 7th 20-14 in New York. The Eagles are playing with a lot of confidence, and the Giants had better be ready. Don’t underestimate the Giants though, they were 12-4 for a reason, and Eli Manning and his crew always seem to play big when they need it, and should have a comeback effort for their last outing here.
San Diego vs Pittsburgh – This was a wild game back on November 16th when the Steelers won 11-10. It was the first 11-10 game in the history of the league. The Steelers dominated in the yards department to the tune of 410 to 218. The Chargers will be likely without LaDainian Tomlinson, and that will put a lot of pressure on Philip Rivers and Darren Sproles. Ben Roethlisberger is coming off a concussion, but he says he’ll be ready to go. The Steelers are six-point favorites, the biggest line of any of the games this weekend.