By the time we all shut our eyes tonight, the NFL’s Final Four will be set in stone and the march to Indianapolis one step closer to completion. The stakes get higher, the possessions mean more and that small ounce of depression in knowing the season is damn near over begins to increase. We’ll live though. It’s not like we have to deal with another lockout, you know?
Anywho, while the two games on tap for today both provide gut wrenching subplots and ramifications, something that will hold court around these parts is this. Can David D. run the gauntlet today? Going up against TSS’ OG in Gotty™ and the site’s favorite sports punching bag in J. Tinsley, Double D’s in for one hell of a ride. Let’s get to it.
5 Reasons The Baltimore Ravens Will Win (David D.)
1. T.J. Yates better pop the bubble in the bologna, make a sandwich and pack a lunch. It’s going to be a long day as Baltimore should have its way with the rookie QB.
2. If the Ravens can give Ray Rice 30 touches then the Ravens win. Simple as that.
3. The Ravens front line should be able to keep Arian Foster and Ben Tate below 100 yards and if they force Yates to throw, expect some turnovers.
4. Baltimore already beat a healthier Texans squad earlier this year, so they know how to win against their AFC South counterpart.
5. That Baltimore crowd and weather won’t be anything to take lightly as both will disrupt the dome team Texans.
Score: 21 – 13, Ravens
5 Reasons The Houston Texans Will Win (Gotty™)
1. In their Week 6 matchup, the Ravens won 29-14 and both Foster and Tate were held to under 50 yards apiece. Don’t expect the same rushing results in this week’s game.
2. Offensively, the Texans have the edge in total yards, total yards passing and total yards rushing. TJ Yates is about as strong as a third-string QB as any team could ask for. The Texans’ O hasn’t missed a beat with him under center and he’s continuing to learn.
3. Andre Johnson’s back after racking up five catches for 90 yards and one TD last week against the Bengals. He didn’t play in the December matchup so the Ravens will have to adjust and account for his whereabouts on the field this week.
4. The final score will be low in a game with two of the league’s best defenses pitted against each other (VegasInsider.com has the O/U at 36 points) so neither offense will put up many points. Instead, watch for scoring to come from turnovers and the Texans D will produce them, much like they did last week against the Bengals. Flacco’s been hammered by the press for what’s been a disappointing, turnover prone season. Again, look at Week 6 where Flacco lost a fumble and threw an interception.
5. Baltimore’s a great team when they feel like it, but they’ve also put up some duds that’ll leave you questioning if they’re one of the league’s elite or not (see losses to Seattle, Tennessee and Jacksonville). That Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde condition will come back to haunt them today.
Score: 16-10, Texans
5 Reasons The New York Giants Will Win (David D.)
1. Don’t look now, but the Giants running game has come back. 170 yards against a pretty stout Falcons running defense might be the kick the G men need to control the ball and keep Rodgers off the field.
2. Two points. A layup. An elbow jumper. That’s how many points the once high-powered Atlanta Falcons offense scored against the Giants. The defense is clicking at just the right time.
3. The Packers O-line has been struggling ever since they went to Arrowhead and they’re decimated by injuries. Expect Aaron to be under pressure.
4. The Packers’ secondary is still horrible. Victor Cruz is going to cha-cha all through Lambeau Field thanks to Eli’s arm. Remember the Giants gave them a good game in the regular season and they’re playing way better now.
5. Tinsley drew the Packers as his NFC team in the postseason. The Giants are 2-0 in against teams Tins roots for, so they’ve got a good streak going against Sir Justin. Expect that to continue.
Score: 28 – 24, Giants
5 Reasons The Green Bay Packers Will Win (J. Tinsley)
1. Green Bay ain’t Atlanta. The Giants are clicking at the right time, and while shutting down Matt Ryan is admirable, Aaron Rodgers is a totally difference breed of beast.
2. The Packers defense may give up points, but they were among the league’s finest in creating turnovers (+24 in that category). Look for Charles Woodson, Clay Matthews, B.J. Raji and company to do their best to produce as many #ManningFace moments as possible, just like they did a few weeks ago.
3. Greg Jennings is back and while GB’s secondary has appeared horrific at times, so has the Giants. I’m expecting seven grabs for 110 yards and a touchdown.
4. New York beat Green Bay at home in Brett Favre’s last game. If A-Rod can right the wrongs of 2008 and somehow win a second Super Bowl, does this make Favre – who happens to be one of my all time favorite players – dare I say…nahh, nevermind. I won’t.
5. Green Bay’s playing with a heavy heart following the drowning death of offensive coordinator Joe Philbin’s son Michael. As Dick Vermeil once said, they’ll rally around Coach Philbin and play good football.
Bonus: Lord knows my heart cannot take the Giants one step closer to another Super Bowl.
Score: 28-17, Packers