Note: Every week, I pick games against the spread on the Michael Irvin Show on ESPN Radio, and I'm putting them on our blog.
What a contrast in styles between these two games this weekend. In the desert will be a cordial game between a couple teams that many expected to be watching this game at home. In Pittsburgh, it will be freezing cold, mean and hard-hitting. And in New York City, NBC executives will be praying for an all-Pennsylvania Super Bowl. (Picks in bold)
Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals +4
On paper, the Cardinals defense put on a show last week, forcing Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme to turn the ball over six times. In reality, Delhomme did most of the work; And this week, the Cardinals aren't facing Delhomme. Their heightened play will be enough to keep it close, but I think Philadelphia wins the game. Philadelphia 27, Arizona 24.
Baltimore Ravens +6 at Pittsburgh Steelers
The last time I discounted the Ravens for talking a lot of smack was before Super Bowl XXXV. Ravens 34, Giants 7. This Ravens team is mean and nasty, and that is exactly what the winner of this game will need to be. People have been comparing Joe Flacco to Ben Roethlisberg; But Flacco reminds me of Tom Brady. Not Brady in his first year, Brady in his third year. Baltimore 20, Pittsburgh 19.
Playoffs: 6-2. Season Record: 47-44-2.