24 Hours 'Til Sunday — Andy Richardson
Posted Jan. 16 at 09:12 PM
Only two more football games this year, unless you count the Super Bowl, which I guess we should, even though it's kind of hard to focus on the game when you're trying to keep track of what hilarious thing some monkey is doing with a case of beer. In any case, we've got two games, although sadly I'll be at my parents' house and since they don't get CBS (a long story involving a big tree and flawed satellite dish) I won't get to watch Ravens-Steelers until I check out TiVo at home on Monday. So shh! I'm going to avoid all media from Sunday night until Monday morning (which isn't as difficult as you might think at my parents'). Anyway....
Eagles at Cardinals: I'm assuming that Brian Westbrook is a-OK and all this talk about him "reinjuring" his knee and stuff is just exaggerated nonsense. That's kind of what he says, and even though he's not practicing there's almost no doubt he'll play. Still, that little sliver of risk is worrisome. He'll play, but maybe he won't be as dangerous as normal and maybe Correll Buckhalter will play more. As for Arizona's big injury concern, I don't think there's much doubt Anquan Boldin will play; he's practiced some this week. How often do you get a chance to go the Super Bowl? I'm taking the Eagles to win this game, for what little it's worth. Thus far I'm 5-3 picking the game, which I suppose isn't much worse than everyone else given that there are three teams left who were 4 seeds or worse. I think Philly's defense will cause problems for Kurt Warner. I know Arizona won't run the ball. I'm not overly confident in Philly's offense, either, but I think they'll have more short fields to work with than Arizona. Good game, though.
Ravens at Steelers: As I started thinking about this game it occurred me how lousy it is to be a Titans fan, or player, right now. They blew it last week. They had ample opportunity to just win the thing and they lost. They moved the ball well, then lost their best offensive player to injury (Chris Johnson). They absolutely got screwed by that huge Ravens' completion to set up the winning field goal; there's just no way a mistake like the play clock expiring 2 seconds earlier shouldn't have been spotted. OK, moving on. There's no way the Ravens should win this game, either, but I can't help thinking they will. They've just got that ugly team of destiny, nobody really wants to see them in the big game and thus they'll probably get there, kind of feel to them. They could easily have won either of the games during the season; Pittsburgh just made one more play. Injuries? Troy Polamalu is fine. Derrick Mason's shoulder is wrecked but it hasn't seemed to affect him thus far. Maybe four more quarters against the Steelers will have an effect. LeRon McClain may be limited a little with an ankle injury. A lot of players are banged-up, particularly on Baltimore's defense. Samari Rolle is expected to miss the game, as could Terrell Suggs. A lot of guys playing will be hurt; it's that time of year. Sounds like the injury situation benefits Pittsburgh (particularly with Rolle out), but I don't want to overrate that stuff at this point. I'm not even going to bother with a formal prediction since everyone knows this game will be close and could go either way, just like Ravens-Titans. In terms of skill position players, if you're in one of those leagues, I guess I like Mason, Hines Ward, and the tight ends, but we're not talking a lot of production regardless. Nice game for the defenses. One additional factor, there's an 80 percent chance of precipitation during the game, which given the temperatures will most likely be snow. Again, do you really want to use any offensive players here?
Enjoy the games.
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