After Danny and Wes both correctly picked the Texans and Packers yesterday, they return justify their selections once more with Garr, who wrongly picked the Bengals. Their picks for Sunday’s games are below.
Colts at Ravens
Danny: BAL 24 IND 20 – Which Andrew Luck do we see in this game? The rookie who turned the ball over 27 times this season? Or the franchise quarterback who protected the ball last week vs. Houston? I think will see a little bit of both. Chuck Pagano is the x-factor in this game. No, not the emotional lift his story gives, the lift he gives as the former coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens. Pagano knows what this defense is trying to do and he probably knows how to fluster Flacco. A boisterous crowd will do everything they can to keep Mr. Raven, Ray Lewis, and his career alive, and I think that is enough for Baltimore against the baby Colts, the Ravens will fly to Denver.
NOTE: If the Ravens do that thing where they forget to get Ray Rice the ball they will lose this game.
Wes: BAL 31 IND 20- Yes, the Colts will still be playing with the same emotional motivation that helped propel them into the playoffs, but I think some of that impact has worn off. Meanwhile, the Ravens received a big motivational factor this week after learning that this would be Ray Lewis’ last home game because he has decided to retire at season’s end. In any case, the Ravens are the more complete team even though their defense hasn’t been performing to nearly the same high level as in years past. With the home-field advantage and the extra motivation, Baltimore should win by double digits.
Garr: IND 24 BAL 17 – Like Houston, Baltimore’s stumbling into the playoffs more than anything. If it weren’t for Pittsburgh playing even worse than them, the Ravens wouldn’t be in the postseason. I said it (to myself) a couple of weeks ago; if the Colts are going to win a playoff game, it’s going to be against Baltimore. I know it’s early, but I’m ready to put Andrew Luck ahead of Joe Flacco on the QB list. If he wins this game, there will be no doubt in my mind.
Seahawks at Redskins
Danny: SEA 27 WAS 16 – My rule this season when picking Seahawks games is to pick them if they are at home which worked, except for that time I didn’t and they beat New England and made me look like an idiot. If they were on the road, I picked against them nearly all the time. I actually took them over Miami in Week 12, a game they lost. I built this theory that the Seahawks were not a good road team which was not entirely fair. Sure the Seahawks went 3-5 on the road but sans the Detroit game, they were excusable losses to teams with good home records (even Miami was 5-3 at home) and by the end of the season, they figured out how to win road games. The turning point was vs. Chicago the week after Miami. Russell Wilson led a 97-yard touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter and then another 80-yarder in overtime to defeat the then NFC North-leading Bears in a game that signified their rise and caused the Bears their fall. Seattle would win their next four including a thrashing of Arizona 58-0 the following week at home and then the destruction of Buffalo north of the border. Point is, the Seahawks are confident they can go into another teams building and beat them, and their winning streak will stay alive on Sunday.
Wes: SEA 23 WAS 20- This ended up being the hardest game for me to pick, but in these situations, I almost always go with the team with the better defense. The Seahawks have a far superior defense, but the Redskins’ D has played well in recent games. In several other areas, these two teams are quite similar. Most notable is that both teams’ offenses are led by a rookie quarterback and an outstanding running back. Washington’s Alfred Morris finished second to Adrian Peterson in total rushing yards with Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch right behind him in third place. With the teams being so evenly matched, the Seahawks’ defense is the deciding factor even though Seattle was just 3-5 on the road this season. The Redskins have won seven consecutive games to end the season, but I say Seattle advances with its sixth win in a row.
Garr: SEA 17 WAS 14 – You might think the Vikings are the top rushing team in the league, but they’re number two. Number one goes to the Redskins thanks Alfred Morris, and even RG3. But, the Seahawks have one of the top defenses in the league, and defense wins championships. Both Russell Wilson and RG3 have had great rookie seasons and it’ll be sad to see one of their seasons end. I have to give the edge to the more complete team, Seattle.