Liver's 2008 NFL Playoff Picks: Wild Card Round
Does anybody really follow through on their New Year’s resolutions?
I say every year that I’m gonna cut back on the boozing and whoring...but that doesn’t last very long.
Maybe you have to really WANT to lose weight or stop drinking in order to do so.
At least the Orange Bowl was somewhat entertaining. Can’t say that for the rest of the meaningless, money-grubbing bowl games.
Are we all ready for Roger Clemens on 60 Minutes this Sunday?
“Yes I took a shot in the butt...BUT it was only B-12.”
See, I know what he’s going to say before he even says it.
Let’s see if I can manage a better playoff performance than the regular season debacle I just wrapped up.
Of course it goes without saying that the following picks AGAINST THE SPREAD are for RECREATIONAL USE ONLY. Only Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Kiefer Sutherland, Roger Goodell, and Travis Henry's nine kids and nine mommas would be drunk enough to question the Esteemed Liver's picks.
Saturday, January 5th
Washington (+3 1⁄2) at Seattle
Washington has been on an emotional high the last month, but it ends in Seattle.
The Sean Taylor tragedy has unified the team—and with Joe Gibbs’ guidance, they arrive streaking into the playoffs. QB Todd Collins has revitalized a dormant career by playing error-free football.
Unfortunately, this game is where missing Taylor, Carlos Rogers, Jon Jansen, Randy Thomas, and Rocky McIntosh will hurt the most.
Seattle has struggled of late, but the Seahawks play best at home. Qwest Field remains one of the toughest stadiums in football.
Having home-field advantage can be sometimes overrated—but in this case it will be enough, provided the Seahawks don’t turn the ball over. The holdovers from the Super Bowl run can get the job done.
Against the Spread Pick: Seattle
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh (+2)
Funny, but Jacksonville looks more like Pittsburgh than Pittsburgh does.
They Jags are playing as well as any AFC team not named the Patriots or Colts—and are doing it on offense, defense, and special teams. They led the AFC in rushing and were second overall in the NFL—which translates into long, clock-controlling drives.
I know it’s asking a lot for one team to go into another's house and beat them twice in less than a month, but the Steelers are banged up on the offensive line, at QB, and in the running game—and have played their worst football of the year in the last month.
No Willie Parker means not much consistency on the ground—and no, I don’t count Najeh “I’ll take a dump in a girl’s closet” Davenport as consistent.
The only tangible advantages that Pittsburgh has over Jacksonville are playoff experience and an NFL-leading defense. They won’t be enough.
Against the Spread Pick: Jacksonville
Sunday, January 6th
N.Y. Giants (+3) at Tampa Bay
The Bucs have been sitting players the last few weeks, while the Giants put forth a valiant effort against the Pats in their final regular-season game.
The Giants have some serious injury issues to deal with (e.g. no Jeremy Shockey), while the Bucs are relatively healthy except for Jeff Garcia.
This game will come down to QB play—and while I think the Giants are capable of winning, Garcia doesn’t make the mistakes that Eli Manning does.
As soon as the Giants lost the lead against the Pats on Saturday, I thought, "Here comes the INT"—and gee, what happened?
Manning has 20 INTs and five fumbles on the year—and Tampa Bay's D allowed the fewest yards and points in the NFC.
But even for all of that, I still think the Giants are the better team, with better playmakers on offense and a better pass rush. And in today’s NFL, a great offense is better than a great defense.
Add to that Garcia's health woes and my complete lack of respect for Tampa and...
Against the Spread Pick: Giants
Tennessee (+9) at San Diego
When Kerry Collins stepped in for Vince Young Sunday night, the Tennessee offense actually looked somewhat crisp.
That said, the Amazing Vince is the heart of that team—and his absence this weekend would eliminate any chance the Titans have at an upset.
The Chargers are playing their best ball of the season. San Diego led the NFL with 48 takeaways, and got eight combined TDs from defense and special teams.
Still, the McFly factor of Norv Turner makes me nervous. That and the fact that Philip Rivers isn’t playing well.
The QB threw for fewer than 200 yards in 10 games, and the Chargers finished 26th in the league in passing. Aside from LT, no playmakers have emerged here—not Chris Chambers, not Antonio Gates.
If the Amazing Vince were healthy, I'd be all over the Titans to win. He ALWAYS comes to play in big games. But since he’s hurt, this becomes the Chargers' game to lose.
The Titans don’t have a receiver in the TOP 40—so you figure it out.
Then again, don’t discount the immaturity of the Chargers players. That immaturity cost them against the Pats last year.
Shawne Merriman will be looking for revenge after accusing Jeff Fisher of ordering his players to take him out in a game three weeks ago. If Merriman can’t control his emotions, the Chargers will have another disappointing playoff exit.
These teams went to overtime in their first meeting.
Against the Spread Pick: Tennessee
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