Red was 4 of 6 in his picks last weekend. The Seahawks and FTs failed to come through. Those picks were not against the spread and Red would have done okay in that regard. The Bills failed to cover but the FTs did so Red was also 4-2 against the line. Not a bad day. On to this week:
Packers over Rams – Beating the Seahawks in the playoffs is no mean feat – even in a sloppy game featuring a lot of punts, turnovers (by Seattle) and field goals. Despite a good record the Seahawks had been inconsistent all season and it proved fatal on Saturday. Beating the Packers at Lambeau Field in January is another matter altogether. Beating a team led by arguably the best passer in NFL history is also another matter altogether. While the temp will be in the teens or twenties at kickoff it doesn’t look like snow in the forecast right now. Even so, Red just doesn’t see the Rams knocking off a well-rested team with the best record in the NFC. Green Bay 27 Los Angeles 17.
Ravens over Bills – A very tough call here. But Red has to stick with his preseason prediction of a Chiefs-Ravens AFC title game. The Bills late-season offense was very impressive but was not really on display against a game Colts defense on Saturday. The Ravens were equally unimpressive in eking out a win over the Titans. Maybe both squads come alive on Saturday and give us the barn-burner we deserve. It won’t even be that cold on Saturday with temperatures at game time around freezing. Red won’t be surprised in the least to see the Bills win. Baltimore 38 Buffalo 33.
Chiefs over Browns – The Browns won a playoff game for the first time since defeating the Patriots in 1995 and won a playoff game on the road for the first time since crushing the Cowboys in the Cotton Bowl in 1969 (a game that featured the first ever playoff appearance of one Roger Staubach – in garbage time). The Browns beat down the Stealers from the get-go. That is all well and good, but the Chiefs are a different matter altogether. The biggest problem for the Chiefs will protecting Mahomes from the Browns deadly serious pass rush. Andy and crew need to come up with some plays to slow down the Browns front four, force more blitzes and take advantage of matchups down field. Browns need to control the ball and get lucky on turnovers to have a chance. They’ve got a chance – just not a very good one. Kansas City 30 Cleveland 21.
Saints over Buccaneers – The Saints have only won more than one playoff game in a season one time. That was in their NFL Championship run in 2009. They will change that this week. While everyone was raving about Tom Brady – Red was impressed that the FTs hung in this game this long despite giving up huge chunks of yardage. The Bucs won’t torch the Saints defense for 500+ yards. Meanwhile in Louisiana, the Saints just took care of business against the Bears on Sunday – albeit with some help from the refs. Back to back questionable calls against the Bears secondary helped put the game almost out of reach. Who will the refs favor this week – Red votes for the Saints again. New Orleans 24 Tampa Bay 20.