It should be a terrific slate of games this weekend. As for picks, I’ll start with Cards-Eagles:
I like the Cardinals. Larry Fitzgerald is a beast, and will constantly command a double team, opening up the suddenly potent running game, led by Edgerrin James. I also think that the Eagles secondary can be exposed. Asante Samuel is great, but Sheldon Brown was having a tough time last week against the Giants. Look for Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston to take advantage of that. The defense has been quite good. Blitzing, being aggressive has led to turnovers. The home crowd only helps. The Eagles have been playing well, but their running game has been kept largely in check the past two weeks, and eventually, McNabb’s lack of receivers has to catch up to him. I think it happens
Final Score: Cardinals 24, Eagles 14
As for the Ravens-Steelers, this game will be a physical battle from the start. The Ravens are banged up–Samari Rolle, LeRon McClain, Terrell Suggs. That will be hard to replace. But, as a friend told me, the world is 3/4 water, and the rest is covered by Ed Reed. Seriously, has there been a better safety in the last 10 years than Reed? I can’t think of one. He, Ray Lewis and company can make big plays. Forcing turnovers will be huge. With McClain out, the running game becomes slowed, as Willis McGahee has not been as effective without McClain tiring the defense.
Joe Flacco has been great. But the Steelers defense is pretty good. They’ll try to frazzle him, throw some exotic blitz packages at him. Ben Rothlisberger is playing spectacular, and knows how to win in the playoffs. A big key is Willie Parker. Can he get to the outside and exploit the same holes that Chris Johnson had last week? If so, this will be a cake walk.
Final score: Steelers 14 Ravens 10
Enjoy the games this weekend.