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Tuesday January 6, 2009 3:21 am

Ravens, Chargers, and Cardinals Make Me Look Bad

Kurt Warner

I went 1-for-4 with my Wild Card picks. Only the Philadelphia Eagles came up with one of my predicted victories.  Meanwhile, San Diego, Baltimore, and Arizona looked good and moved on despite my putting the “whammie” on them.

Arizona Cardinals beat Atlanta Falcons:
The Cardinals used big plays to wide receivers, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin to pick up 14 points.  Atlanta rookie QB Matt Ryan was very respectable in leading drives and providing Atlanta with a 17-10 lead going into the half.  But the second half got off to a disastrous start as Arizona’s Antrel Rolle picked up an Atlanta fumble and ran 27 yards to paydirt.  Arizona took a lead that they did not relinquish. Then Cardinal QB Kurt Warner delivered a nice drive to put it away. 

Next up:  Cards go to Carolina to meet the Panthers.

Arizona Cardinals beat Atlanta Falcons:
The Cardinals used big plays to wide receivers, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin to pick up 14 points.  Atlanta rookie QB Matt Ryan was very respectable in leading drives and providing Atlanta with a 17-10 lead going into the half.  But the second half got off to a disastrous start as Arizona’s Antrel Rolle picked up an Atlanta fumble and ran 27 yards to paydirt.  Arizona took a lead that they did not relinquish. Then Cardinal QB Kurt Warner delivered a nice drive to put it away. 

Next up:  Cards go to Carolina to meet the Panthers.

San Diego Chargers beat Indianapolis Colts:
San Diego simply wanted it more as evidenced by the play of QB Philip Rivers, RB Darren Sproles (continuing to perform amazingly in sub and starring roles for the injured LaDaminan Tomlinson) and TE Antonio Gates.  San Diego punter Mike Scifres provided a big punch by continually pinning the Colts deep into their own territory.

The Colts are down 14-10 at the half, but early in 3rd quarter QB Peyton Manning caught the San Diego defense asleep and they pick up a gift 86-yard TD toss. The Chargers come back strong, look poised to score and take the lead, but a Sproles fumble into the end zone is recovered by Indy. However, the Colts can’t muster any more offense. Then in the final minutes of regulation, Rivers leads a drive with catches by Gates and running by Sproles. These efforts leads to a tying field goal.  In overtime, a similar combination of plays, plus a healthy dose of Colt penalties led to the 23 yard Charger TD run by Sproles.

Next up:  The Chargers meet the Steelers in Pittsburgh. If the Steelers defense can stop San Diego early then I like their chances.  But can they keep them down for four quarters? Will QB Ben Roethlisberger do enough to provide Pittsburgh scoring?

Baltimore Ravens beat Miami Dolphins:
My call last week was that the Baltimore defense was overrated. Oops! But was it the defense or was it that Chad Pennington remembered he was Chad “No Arm” Pennington? The wildcat offense was a non-factor, probably due to the respect Miami gave Baltimore’s defense. 

Next up: Baltimore at Tennessee Titans. I believe that the Titans will slip during the playoffs. Will the Raven’s defense rattle QB Kerry Collins and stop the Titans’ two-headed running attack? How will rookie QB Joe Flacco respond in the next round of playoff action?

Philadelphia Eagles beat the Minnesota Vikings:
The Philly offense is only good for field goals in the first half. Adrian Peterson’s TD run of 40 yards gives Minnesota a 7-6 lead. Later Viking QB Tavaris Jackson’s pass is intercepted for a Philadelphia TD and the Eagles lead 16- 7. Jackson shows some grit and leads the Vikings right back for a TD drive making it 16-14 at the half. In the second-half both offenses can’t get anything done until the Eagles’ Michael Westbrook breaks free on a screen pass for 71 yards leading to a 23-14 lead score with 6:40 left.  Nobody believed that the Vikings would have enough for two scores in the remaining time, game over. 

Next up: Philadelphia at the New York Giants, an NFC East slugfest.

Round Two Predictions:

Titans over Ravens: Kerry Collins is a better passer than Pennington, plus the Titans have a week of rest, plus it’s a home game for Tennessee while the Ravens travel (again).
Panthers over Cardinals: Kurt Warner on the road and playing outdoors? Nope.
Giants over Eagles: The Giants are my pick to win it all. The Eagle offensive showing at Minnesota didn’t rock my world.
Chargers over Steelers: I think Ben Roethlisberger is going to come up short. I know that a Norv Turner team cannot go all the way. But have the Chargers matured enough to be able to win a big one on the road- especially after an emotional OT victory? Ok, ok – the Chargers WILL lose, but not in this round.

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Comments:

Frank-o,
  I like your picks but you are wrong in one case…. the SAN DIEGO SUPER CHARGERS will…go…all…the…way!!!!


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