One Out Of Four Ain’t Bad

I found out this weekend why I’m not a Las Vegas oddsmaker. Jimmy the Greek, I am not. All things considered, though, that’s not a bad thing.

I said Friday on — shameless plug warning! — "Sports Talk," which runs from 1-2 p.m. weekdays on 970-AM WDAY Radio, that the winners of this weekend’s NFL playoff games would be: Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers.

Well, I got one right, and that was the Cowboys. For the record, colleague Heath Hotzler picked NONE of the games right, while my other colleague Dan Haglund picked ALL of the games right. Nice work, Dan.

So, what happened?

The only one that really stuns me is the New York Jets beating the Bengals. But in hindsight, maybe I shouldn’t be stunned. It comes back to what I blogged a couple weeks ago about the Indianapolis Colts opting to bench their starters while holding a five-point lead – and an undefeated record – in the third quarter of a game against those same Jets. The Colts went on to lose the game, with MVP QB Peyton Manning watching from the sidelines.

I said at the time that the Colts always fail miserably in the playoffs in the years they go this route, and there’s no reason to think it won’t happen again. Going a month without playing a meaningful game will hurt a team.

But for the Jets, they’ve played to win all season long because they had to. The Bengals didn’t have that sense of urgency, losing three of their last four before the playoffs started.

Same for the Baltimore Ravens, which needed a win and a lot of help in the final week of the regular season just to make the playoffs. They jumped out to a huge lead early against the Patriots before hanging on for a win and a trip to Indy to face those Colts.

The Packers game against the Arizona Cardinals was the high-scoring matchup everyone thought it would be. It was a fun game to watch, as the offenses carried both teams into overtime in a game decided when Arizona’s defensive decided to join in on the end zone fun.

And, of course, the Cowboys beat the Philadelphia Eagles again. Dallas will go to the Metrodome for Sunday’s playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings. It’s the "Herschel Walker" bowl, with a spot in the NFC championship game on the line. Should be fun to watch, as the Cowboys are red-hot, and both teams can put a lot of points on the scoreboard. And the Vikings are really tough to beat at home.