Wonder is convalescing, still in withdrawal from his Jets’ implosion. He’ll be back to posting eventually, but in the meantime I spoke to him last night and he was full of nuggets and his typical wisdom.
WILD CARD ROUND
1) MINN-PHL. Thinks Minnesota is ‘live,’ likes Minn +3 with Pat Williams playing, and thinks they have a (decent) shot at beating the Eagles. Like all of us, he understands how vulnerable the Vikings are on turnovers, so he says the Vikes have to RUN THE BALL. This will make Jackson’s job a lot easier, less decisions, less opptys for mistakes. And you can run the ball vs the Eagles. Get behind Birk, Hutchinson and McKinnie and just run it. Make the Eagles blitz you and then dump the ball off, small ball, to Peterson, he beats one guy and it is either 20 yards or a TD. On defense, Kevin Williams will collapse pocket and Allen will be on the edge. And Westbrook is always one play away from injury. The DOME is why Minn has a chance vs the Eagles. Minn is playing with house money.
2) AZ-ATL. Arizona to beat the Falcons. This is another reason why it will be so good if the Vikings win.. not only do you knock out Philly, but also there is 0.0 chance that AZ will beat the Giants in the next round.
3) SD-IND. SD has a shot to beat IND. Some of it depends on whether the Tomlinson injury is serious or not. If not, Wonder likes SD a lot more.
4) BAL-MIA. Ravens will win. Miami does not belong in the playoffs, a weak 11-5 team. Separately, Wonder points out that next year you have to love the ‘Under’ for the Dolphins, their schedule is impossible in 2009. AFC East will have Bills healthier and better, Brady back. AFC South was difficult this year, Houston was a good 8-8 team, Jax was decimated by injuries, they will be back. NFC South is top to bottom a tough division, New Orleans was 8-8 in the basement, and then their two other opponents are Pittsburgh and SD with Merriman back. Good luck!
1) In the NFC it does not matter, form will hold and the Giants and Panthers will both win their games. If there is a prop to take these two coming out of the conference, then go for that.
2) Pitt to beat SD.
3) Titans to beat Ravens.
1) NYG-CAR. The Giants are the team to beat. Barring stellar play by one team or the other, the line should be ~ 3 pts, and the homefield will help the Giants win.
2) PIT-TEN. This is a coin toss. If they were playing in Pit it would be Steelers by 5 or 6 points. Collins to get rattled at some point, is this the spot? Either team can win this one.
Giants have the inside track here. Lots of things, injuries, too far away, but all things being equal will like the Giants. Much tougher game vs the Steelers, but if the Giants faced Tennessee it would be an easier matchup and an easier game.
Misc: Giants get the #45 pick in the draft from the Saints, as they will pick 1 slot higher in Round 2 because of the NFL Draft Tiebreaker Rules. (Separately, the NFL Draft tiebreaker rules are completely flawed. The subject only comes up once per year, but this is my opportunity to deprogram your brains from the Stone Age thinking of the NFL.)