I already did this on the air, but for the blog purposes, here are the picks for today. Please keep in mind, I am not very good at picking games, and would never fancy myself to be a game handicapper. Frankly, I don't gamble on sports, don't understand those that do, and certainly don't feel bad if you lose money because of one of my hunches. But with that being said, here we go:
Atlanta at Philadelphia: Figuring that weather will play a dramatic role in this game, and figuring that the Eagles will be trying to play themselves as much as Mike Vick, this game is difficult to predict. But, I think if you can believe anything in this world, it is that Jim Johnson, the defensive coordinator of the Eagles, will not back off of his blitzing schemes that have stymied even the most seasoned QB.
The blitz actually should be most effective against Vick. The name of the game against him is to make his arm beat you over his feet. His feet can beat you as he is the fastest man on the field. With snow, he should only get better, as he knows where he is going, but the defenders do not. If you blitz with 8 or 9, then his running lanes are shut down and he will be forced to throw the ball. That is how you beat him.
I would so like to be wrong, but I see Philly finally getting over the hump, and beating the Falcons, 24-17.
New England at Pittsburgh: Ah yes, the game we have all be waiting for. Pittsburgh, likely the most impressive team to be an underdog in a playoff game since the 1972 Dolphins were dogs entering the 72 Super Bowl versus Washington. But, again, I am trusting the coaching of Belichick and the quarterback play of Tom Brady.
Don't underestimate the play of special teams in this one, as the 2001 AFC title game between the same teams at the same stadium was turned on 2 special teams touchdowns from the Patriots. The Patriots are 8-0 in the playoffs with Belichick and Brady, and as far as I am concerned, will not be picked against until they lose.
Patriots 27, Steelers 21