This one's going to be short, but sweet. There's only four teams remaining in the 2008-2009 NFL playoff field, and that can only mean one thing. There will only be two left on Monday. I know, lame joke, but it'll do. Here are the two teams I expect to play under the lights on February 1st.
Ravens (13-5) vs. Steelers (13-4)
The Steelers are 2-0 against the Ravens this year. But they're pretty much as close to being 1-1 or 0-2 as can be. Their second matchup this season, in Baltimore, was arguably the most controversial game of the season. Pittsburgh wideout Santonio Holmes, from!?!? The Ohio State University, caught a touchdown pass at the edge of the goal-line late in the fourth, as he fell back towards the field of play to give the Steelers a 13-9 victory. The play was challenged, but the evidence, inconclusive to overturn. It was so close, yet there was no way to tell if Holmes had possession for the fraction of a second the ball was across the goal-line. The result: a happy Steeler team and an irrate Ravens team. In Week 4, the Steelers narrowly defeated the Ravens 23-20 in overtime at Heinz Field as well. A hungry Ravens defense leads us to believe that they'll come out on top this weekend. However, if there's one team that's stood the test of a tough schedule this season, it's the Pittsburgh Steelers. Week in and week out they've battled teams to the wire, and almost always prevailed. They've got playoff experience and just as much motivation to win as the Ravens. A healthy "Fast" Willie Parker should help as well. It's going to be another hard-fought defensive battle, and should once again come down to the wire.
I'll take the Steelers as they 3-Peat over the Ravens in exciting fashion once again.
Ravens 13 - Steelers 16
Philadelphia (11-6-1) vs. Arizona (11-7)
Don't worry Philly fans. Donovan is well aware there are no ties in the playoffs. Well, maybe not now for sure. But if the opportunity presents itself, I'm sure he'll be informed. Lately I've been leaning towards taking Philly. The Phillies won a pretty improbable World Series (I guess you could say that. Right?). Why can't the Eagles win the Super Bowl? Their biggest concern should be the health of Brian Westbrook. Their smallest concern should be experience. Let's face it. Philadelphia has been to a few Conference Championships. Try 5 in the last 8 years. It's safe to say they've been there before. They haven't been successful (1-3 in that time span), but they've definitely been there. On the other side, the Cardinals would probably have trouble spelling Conference Championship if you asked them. Except for the wily vet, Kurt Warner, who could spell it forewards and backwards. The former Super Bowl and league MVP has the Cardinals playing great football right now, and he's ready to roll over Philadelphia for the second time en route to a Super Bowl. Anquan Boldin should be ready to play. Whether that really matters anymore, I'm not sure. Larry Fitz will be on top of his game as always, but it should be a tough test for the Cards. The Eagles embarrassed them on Thanksgiving, 48-20, ruining their Turkey Day. I expect a much closer game, surprisingly, defensive minded. The young Cardinals "D" is playing well at the right time, and the Eagles defense has never been questioned. In the battle of the birds...
It's all in the Cards. Michael Westbrook scored 4 TDs in the Eagles 48-20 route of the Cardinals earlier this year. He's just not healthy right now. Don't expect that kind of production from him again, giving the slight edge to Arizona.
Eagles 13 - Arizona 20
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