Free NFL Picks: Wild Card Weekend Edition

WesAnalyst IJanuary 5, 2010

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 04:  Ray Rice #27  of the Baltimore Ravens carries the ball in the second half against the New England Patriots on October 4, 2009 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

This week, everyone is going to sit down, crunch numbers and over-analyze everything.

We will look at trends, stats, past season performances, and how teams ended their season. Did they rest starters? Did they play starters? We will also look at the difficulty of beating a team three times in one year and the list will go on and on.

Maybe you want to bet on the Eagles and you're aware of the daunting task of beating a team three times in one year and before you know it, you will tell yourself it is next to impossible to beat a team in back to back weeks.

Well, you may pick the right winner, but it is not because of sound logic. You got flat-out lucky. And if you continue to use bad logic, you will get steamrolled in the playoffs.

Throughout the regular season I used theories, read into lines and finished at 38-41-1.


Now I'm going to look at matchups and figure this thing out the right way.

I'm also going to apply a value to the predictions and see where we come out in the end. The biggest value I can use is 100 and the smallest value is 10. Next to my selection is the value I'm risking and the value I am trying to obtain. All of the lines are based on as of Monday, January 4.

Cincinnati (-2.5) vs. New York (28.25/25)

The Bengals do not have an explosive offense even though the weapons are there with players like Carson Palmer, Chad 'Ochocinco' Johnson and Cedric Benson to name a few.

Cincinnati is going to try and control the clock, win the battle of field position, and ask Palmer not to make any costly mistakes.

You can take the above sentence and substitute New York for Cincinnati and Mark Sanchez for Palmer.

The Jets would win this game, but I think Sanchez is going to make a costly mistake against a very solid defense. And if he does throw a pick or two, you really can't blame him or be surprised. He's a rookie playing in his first playoff game and it's on the road.

That is not a good scenario for a rookie, but I would not be shocked if the kid pulled this one out so I'm going to tread lightly here.

Bengals 20 - Jets 14

Dallas (-4) vs. Philadelphia (110/100)

The Cowboys are the better team and I'm going to back the better team every chance I get.

How do I know they are better?

Because they already beat the Eagles twice. How much more proof do you need? Out of the 19 teams that have won the first two meetings, they have a 12-7 record in the third encounter.

The Eagles offense is incredibly good, but the Dallas defensive line can get enough pressure to mess up Donovan McNabb's timing and cause plenty of problems.

Meanwhile, the only way the Eagles can get pressure on Tony Romo is through blitzing. Their defensive line stinks. And if you blitz Romo right now he is going to get one-on-one matchups with Miles Austin, Roy Williams, Patrick Crayton or Jason Witten.

Well, the Eagles can't stop any of them.

It pains me to say the Cowboys are this good, but it's all about picking winners.

Baltimore (+3.5) @ New England (55/50)

Everyone wants you to believe that New England is a scary team to play in the playoffs and yadda, yadda, yadda.

Well good. I'll take the better team catching points every day.

In the playoffs you need to have some balance on offense and I don't see the Patriots taking the ball out of Tom Brady's hands. Could the hooded freak possibly have a change in philosophy and come out running the ball now that Wes Welker is gone?

Possibly, but I doubt it.

And this Patriots defense is not what it used to be. They can play well at home, as evidenced by their 11 consecutive home playoff wins, but this is not the same Pats team that strung together those wins.

Don't forget that Baltimore went into Tennessee last year and knocked off the No.1 seed and hung around with the eventual Super Bowl champs Pittsburgh Steelers.

The half point is huge here and it gives the game good value.

Baltimore 31 - New England 27

Arizona Cardinals (-2.5) vs. Green Bay Packers (22/20)

The Pack is on fire right now.

At least it seems that way, until you actually look at what the Packers have done on the road this year.

They are a rather mediocre team with a 5-3 record on the road, but who did they beat on the road?

Green Bay knocked off the Rams, Browns, Lions, Bears and a Cardinals team that rested a lot of its starters.

In their three road loses they were beat by the Steelers, Buccaneers, and Vikings. All of those teams were successful passing the football and I see the same thing happening with Kurt Warner back under center in the desert.

It is true that Arizona is not a world beater at home and actually have a worse record (4-4) than Green Bay does on the road.

But I like how well Warner and the offense looked in their last three home wins against the Seahawks, Vikings and Rams. All of those games netted at least 30 points.

If the Cardinals continue to throw the ball well at home and the Packers struggle against the pass on defense, this could actually turn into a blowout.

Cardinals 34 - Packers 14


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