| Mark Maske's First-Round Playoff Picks |
Web Posted: Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2004; 11:11 a.m. EST
Rams at Seahawks
Neither team inspires much confidence. The Seahawks won the NFC West. But the Rams beat them twice during the regular season, and St. Louis enters the postseason with its confidence soaring after wins over the Eagles and Jets. The Rams' defense is playing far better, and rookie RB Steven Jackson gives them a running complement to their passing game. What should have been an uplifting victory for the Seahawks over the Falcons last weekend to secure a winning record and the division crown was undermined by the controversies swirling around RB Shaun Alexander and WR Koren Robinson.
Jets at Chargers
The Jets get back DE John Abraham, at least in a limited role, and they desperately need him to contribute as a pass rusher after being carved up by opponents' aerial games in recent weeks. The bottom line, though, is that the Chargers are simply better, and the Jets have not demonstrated an ability to compete effectively with the league's upper-tier teams.
Broncos at Colts
The Broncos actually got things together in the past couple weeks, and they seem to realize that the formula for slowing down the Indianapolis offense is to be as physical as possible with the Colts' receivers. They beat the Colts last weekend in Denver. But Colts QB Peyton Manning threw two passes and RB Edgerrin James had one carry in a game that meant nothing to Indy, and things will be far different this weekend. A QB matchup of Manning vs. Jake Plummer? No contest.
Vikings at Packers
This isn't exactly the Vikings' time of the year, is it? They couldn't beat the Packers at home on Christmas eve with the NFC North title at stake, and there's no reason to believe that they can go to Green Bay and win now. With the Eagles stumbling, Packers QB Brett Favre might view this season as his last, best Super Bowl shot, and he's not going to let it end in the first round of the playoffs against an opponent as underwhelming as Minnesota has been lately.
Last Week: 7-9
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