Cardinals-Steelers - Couldn't think of anything catchy for this one. Sorry, not feeling the creative juices today. But I still think this game could be a good one. The pass happy Cards going up against the high octane defense of the Steelers. Maybe a sleeper shootout game with both teams scoring 24-30 points.
Ravens-Cardinals - "The Underdog Bowl" / "The Rookie vs. The Wily Vet"
Both teams here are underdogs going into this weekend and most people are thinking that this game doesn't have a prayer. I am not one of those people, but as an Eagles fan, I'm not praying for it obviously. Rookie QB is going up against former NFL MVP and Super Bowl Champ Kurt Warner as the Ravens make their first SB appearance since 2000 and the Cards make their first SB appearance ever. I think.
Eagles-Ravens - "The Redemption Bowl" / "Backyard Bird Brawl"
As everyone knows by now, Donovan McNabb was benched after the first half of the previous Eagles-Ravens game. And now a few people think that it would be great if the Eagles had another shot at the Ravens (instead of playing the Steelers, who they've already beaten this season). Either way, this game should be entertaining to say the least, and the over-under for big secondary hits is about 20. And I'm taking the over.
Eagles-Steelers - "The Keystone Bowl" / "Steelheads vs. Steakheads"
My favorite story line about this bowl is something that I wrote on Thursday involving PA Gov. Ed Rendell. This would be the 3rd* bowl that would feature two teams from the same state (and we use the term state losely). One was the 49ers and Chargers and the other was the Bills and NY Giants, who actually play in NJ, but whatever. One of my Steeler friends mentioned that you cook steak on steel grills, and since Philly loves cheesesteaks, well you get the idea. I should also mention the idea of CBS community member Pirateball who commented on a previous blog of mine that this game should take place in State College, PA at Happy Valley, home of the Penn State Nittany Lions. JoePa should be the honorary coin-flipper at the captain's meeting (along with Gov. Rendell). This would be sold out faster than the Cardinals -
Oh, and two more bonus storylines for Sunday's games.
Did you know that the Pittsburgh mayor changed his name from Ravenstahl to Steelerstahl?
And, that Donovan McNabb and Cards coach Ken Wisenhunt are neighbors?
Oh, yeah, I'm supposed to include my picks for these games, too.
Ravens vs. Steelers
I wouldn't be surprised to see either team win this game, but I am very wary of the fact that the Ravens gave up 400 yards of offense to the Tennessee Titans last week. I understand that the Ravens have a big play defense, but at some point, your offense needs to start producing on it's own, and I think that Joe Flacco is still a year away from that happening. Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers won't have an easy time in beating the Ravens for the third time this year, but I feel more comfortable with the Steelers right now. PICK: Steelers
Eagles vs. Cardinals
I said the Eagles would have lost to the Panthers, because the scare me to death, but the Cardinals took care of that problem for me. The Eagles understand that the 48-20 whooping they put on Arizona on Thanksgiving means nothing, because both teams have improved since then. But the key for this late season run by the Eagles has been the loose and fun-loving mentality that Donovan McNabb and the Eagles have shown lately. I have always believed that Philadelphia plays its best football when they are loose and they certainly are right now. Why else would Donovan McNabb have asked the Giants phone company to book a flight to Arizona last week? PICK: Eagles
Yup, I am gunning for the all-Keystone state Super Bowl. Now, you might be wondering, where is my Super Bowl prediction? You've predicted every upcoming round also, Eagle, why stop now? Why? Because I've cursed two separate teams in back to back weeks. Maybe Carolina was intentional, maybe I was reverse-jinxing the Panthers, you'll never know. But I'm done with Super Bowl Predictions for the year. There's too much on the line and I am a very superstitious fan. I will not tempt the football Gods twice in one postseason (three if you count Week 17 and the Eagles making the playoffs.
Until my recap, enjoy the conference championship games.