Well, it's that time of year again: the best weekend in professional football. Three of these four games have #Revenge angles to them so this should be one helluva fun ride. Here are my picks.
New Orleans Saints (11-5) @ Seattle Seahawks (13-3) (-7.5) -- 4:35 pm -- FOX
Rain is predicted for Seattle (shocking, I know). That obviously hurts Drew Brees and the Saints. The Saints are a home team, plain and simple. I was a little surprised that defeating the Eagles in the Wild Card game (despite being in Philly) came down to the last drive and a late FG. I thought the Saints would take care of business, no problem. The Eagles defense, though improved at season's end, is nowhere near that of the Seahawks. That troubles me for their changes in this game.
The Saints might have revenge on their mind after getting throttled here in-season but I just don't see it. Rain, stifling D, #BeastMode, 12th Man and all that crap. Seattle laying the points is the play. They'll definitely win and I think cover.
Speaking of #BeastMode, it has been a little bit more than three years since he busted out, to these Saints even:
Indianapolis Colts (11-5) @ New England Patriots (12-4) (-7) -- 8:15 pm -- CBS
God would I love for Andrew Luck and the Colts to go into Foxboro and send Tom Terrific and the Greatriots packing but I simply don't think the Colts have enough playmakers on offense or that its defense can keep up. This should also be an interesting test for Chuck Pagano and the Colts coaching staff going up against Belichick. Personally, I look for Pagano to get thoroughly out-coached. He might be able to beat cancer but I don't see him beating Grumbles McGee.
|There will be hoodies and grumbles|
San Francisco 49ers (12-4) (-1.5) @ Carolina Panthers (12-4) -- 1:05 pm -- FOX
This is shaping up to be the closest looking game in the sports media world. SF lost at home to the Panthers 10-9 earlier in the season but were decidedly not at full strength on offense. Michael Crabtree is back and he has been playing out of his mind. I still struggle with Colin Kaepernick, however. Before smacking the Packers upside the head with that late 40+ yard run, he really was not playing all that spectacularly last week.
My issues with Kaep are minor compared to my issues with Carolina. I think their vaunted defense is a tad overrated and that Ron Rivera, while maybe a defensive guru, is a dunce as a head coach. I fully anticipate Jim Harbaugh to gameplan the shit out of Rivera. Harbaugh might be a complete fucking maniac but as a Michigan Man AND former Bear, he's my kind of maniac.
Also not sold on Cam in high pressure NFL games and, most importantly, simply don't think they have enough weapons to do real damage to the Niners. All in all, Lurch Papa should be happy Monday morning. 49ers are the pick despite the whole West-Coast-to-East-Coast stuff and make it to their third straight NFC Championship game in Harbaugh's first three seasons. Impressive stuff if it happens.
San Diego Chargers (9-7) @ Denver Broncos (13-3) (-9.5) -- 4:40 pm -- CBS
Ah yes, The Battle of the FACES.
To me, this is the most intriguing game AND betting line. Considering San Diego beat the Broncos in Denver only a month ago, 9.5 seems like an awful lot to lay here. Nevertheless there's too much pressure on Pey-Pey for him NOT to win this game. Wes Welker is also back and healthy, leading me to believe that Denver will put at least 45 points. As well as Marmalard has been playing this year I don't think there's quite enough firepower on the San Diego side to keep up.
Enjoy the games, everybody. A little Yes and Please! to send us to the weekend. In honor of SI's Swimsuit Issue coming out next month, I'll just steal today's featured model of the day from CNNSI.com, Emily DiDonato: