The second round of the 2011 NFL Playoffs kicks off this afternoon with the Baltimore Ravens traveling to face the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers traveling to face the Atlanta Falcons. Last weekend's wild card round was a fairly wild affair as three of the four games were decided by five points or less. The only non-competitive game saw the Ravens blow out the Chiefs 30-7.
Today's games kick off at 1:30pm pacific with a fairly evenly matched contest between the 12-4 Ravens and the 12-4 Steelers. This evening at 5:00pm pacific we'll get the 10-6 Packers against the 13-3 Falcons. Neither game features a wide spread and I'd imagine we'll see tight contests.
Saturday, January 15, 2011 (all times pacific)
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens, 1:30pm on CBS (Heinz Field in Pittsburgh)
Announcers: Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf
Atlanta Falcons vs Green Bay Packers, 5:00pm on FOX (Georgia Dome in Atlanta)
Announcers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver, Chris Myers
The Steelers currently sit as 3 1/2 point favorites over the Ravens. On a neutral field I'd have little problem picking the Ravens. However, in Heinz Field with below freezing temperatures and possible snow showers, I'm much more hesitant. These are two very evenly matched teams who split their season series with each game being decided by a touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter. What's even more interesting is that each team won on the opposing team's field. While it might bite me in the butt, I'm going to go with the Ravens in this one. Everything about this game screams at me to pick the Steelers, but I think Joe Flacco steps up his game today.
The Falcons are a slim 2 point favorite against the Packers as a lot of folks seem intent on riding the Aaron Rodgers bandwagon as far as it will take them. The Packers win over Philadelphia wasn't a complete shock, but it definitely surprised a few people given the roll Philly seemed to be on. I think the Falcons will cost a lot of Packers-betting folks some money this week. I don't think Atlanta will be rolling the Packers anytime soon, but the Falcons will handle their business.