Seattle (-4) vs. Washington: I really hate this game. Part of me wants to take Seattle because they are so tough at home, they’re rested, and there is no way I should bet on Todd Collins on the road in the postseason. On the other hand, the Redskins might be the hottest team in the NFL and have the whole Sean Taylor thing going on. In the end, I’ll take the cowards way out: choose Seattle to win the game but not cover the spread. I think Hassellbeck will do just enough to win this game despite having no help from the running game. Seattle 20, Washington 17.
Jacksonville (Pk) vs. Pittsburgh: It scares me that everyone is so sure of next week’s great New England-Jacksonville matchup. I know the Jags are one of the best teams in the league and are “made for January football”, but this is still the Steelers at home in the postseason. The injury to Willie Parker is not quite as huge in this game, I think, because the Jags stop the run really well and the Steelers would have used the pass anyway. Big Ben is having a terrific year, and I think he leads the Steelers to a rare surprising home win. Pittsburgh 24, Jacksonville 20.
Tampa Bay (-2.5) vs. NY Giants: I was really close to taking the Giants here. Eli looked awesome last week and always plays better on the road. Plaxico is running as well as he did in Week 1. Brandon Jacobs is strong. The Giants’ pass rush is fantastic. But Jon Gruden has been resting his regulars and preparing for the Giants for three weeks. Gruden against Tom Coughlin? Please. I also love Jeff Garcia and Earnest Graham. Finally, I think this may be the first time in NFL history that a team has a letdown for its first playoff game after a Week 17 battle. Tampa Bay 27, NY Giants 13.
San Diego (-9.5) vs Tennessee: This game makes me nauseus. If you have read my NFL reviews of each week, you know my disdain for the Titans. They are so fucking boring its ridiculous. But, I do get to watch LT here. As much as I hate to watch the Titans, I love Jeff Fisher and I think they are a great bet this week. The Titans are strong against the run, and if they can shut down LT and make Philip Rivers beat them, they have a chance to pull a huge upset. Plus, the Chargers are coached by Norv. However, I think this will be that late Sunday game that makes you sleepy, with very low scoring and some bad, bad quarterback play. San Diego 16, Tennessee 13.