We move on to a divisional weekend that sees cities that most people envisioned hosting 2nd weekend games when the year began. Green Bay, Baltimore, Foxborough.....San Francisco??!! Ok, maybe not the last one. Let's get down to the business of making more drachmas (those who played Carmen Sandiego will appreciate that). We'll go in chronological order.
SAN FRANCISCO +3.5 vs. New Orleans: You have no idea how much it pains me to know that America's Crappiest Stadium will be filled with annoying Niners fans the 2nd weekend in January. You have no idea how much more it pains me to pick said Niners. But, this is about making money so we have to take emotion out of it. New Orleans has never won a road playoff game in their franchise history (Super Bowl is technically neutral-site). Dome teams don't fare very well outside in the playoffs as it is, even though this game won't be a cold weather game. San Francisco's defense is a force to be reckoned with. My one hesitation is that the Niners offense is pretty inept inside the red zone. Normally, you wouldn't be able to stay with Drew Brees with that handicap, but the defense makes up for it. Holding my nose and closing my eyes, I'll put down $300 on Harbaugh's boys.
BALTIMORE -7.5 vs. Houston: The playoffs return to the Big Crab Cake. I hesitated on this one a little bit since this shapes up to be a pretty defensive battle. However, Baltimore has been dominating at home this year and that crowd should be able to rattle ol' TJ Yates into a couple turnovers. The Whiny Joe Flacco (see his tantrum for not being included in the "elite qb" list) will do just enough and that running game should be able to grind the Texans into submission. I feel bad for our tailgating friends from Houston, but the ride ends steps away from the Inner Harbour. $300 goes along with that thinking.
GREEN BAY -7.5 vs. New York Giants: The Cheeseheads welcome back the last team to break their hearts in the playoffs at home. The nice part for the fans is that Brett Favre won't be on the field throwing back-breaking interceptions in overtime. Also nice is that it'll be about 40 degrees warmer than that game 4 years ago. True, the Giants have the pass rush needed to disrupt that Packer juggernaut. But, I've got this sneaking suspicion the Giants team that played the Seahawks will show up this week and the Giants win by at least 2 touchdowns. I'll take that lumber and lay $500 on it.