Last week, I wound up going 2-2 on the wild-card playoff games, which were … a little wild, after all. The Jets and the Ravens stunned fans with wins on the road, especially the Jets, while the Cowboys and the Cardinals won at home. Now the top seeds play the winners of last weekends games, and it starts today with the New Orleans Saints taking on the Arizona Cardinals. The Saints went deep into the season rolling up big offensive numbers before getting their first loss in their fourteenth game — and then seemed to lose the string on winning. The Cardinals played tough in the second half to clinch a win in their weak division, and looked good against a Green Bay team that had roughed them up the week before. Still, the Saints will be at home, after a week to rest and recalibrate, and it’s hard to pick against Drew Brees and that explosive offense. I’ll pick the Saints over the Cards, 31-17.
In the late game, the Ravens play the Colts. Baltimore took advantage of early New England Patriots mistakes to run up a big lead in the first quarter, and then played about even with the Pats the rest of the game. Indianapolis won’t make those kind of mistakes, and their own defense is going to be rested. In fact, their entire team will be well-rested, thanks to a curious decision to bench the starters against the Jets while still undefeated. Indy’s playing at home, and, well … Peyton Manning. Need I say more? Colts over the Ravens, 27-20.