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This week’s AFL Playoff Picks are sponsored by the Barry Bonds Baseball Company*
If you were a home team last week, you didn’t do very well. You didn’t protect your house. Only Cleveland stood up to the challenge. This is now the second round. It’s a new life for the four winners from last week and there will be four teams that were well-rested and looking to prove what they’re worth.
A 1-3 week last week brings me to 88-49 for the season. Not going to worry about that now, I’ll worry about it tomorrow. After all, as Scarlet O’Hara once said, “Tomorrow is another day.”
Here are this week’s picks.
Saturday, July 5
Colorado at San Jose, 3 p.m. ET ESPN - Colorado held off a valiant effort by Utah last week, holding the Blaze to 16 first downs and forced two turnovers in the win in Salt Lake City. The Crush led 24-14 at the intermission and never looked back .
San Jose was idle last week but did beat Colorado in week 13 at San Jose. In that meeting, The SaberCats led 35-28 at half and then held off Colorado 59-42. San Jose did give up 300 yards in total offense but managed to force three turnovers in the game.
Could history repeat itself? If San Jose continues the magic they had the last time they met, it will be a long day for Colorado. If Colorado brings their A game Saturday afternoon, San Jose will be in some serious trouble. Colorado was one of the three road teams to win last weekend.
I’m taking San Jose in this one. The SaberCats have just enough fire power to match up with the Crush.
New York at Philadelpha, 7 p.m. ET ESPN - These two teams met the last week of the season, with the Soul holding New York to ten first half points in the meeting on Long Island. In fact, Philly swept the season series with the Dragons, who turned the ball over three times in the June 22 meeting. All that goes out the window with the baby and the bathwater. Philly can‘t afford to get lazy against New York this time around. They’re also at home, which could be a big help to them. Going with the Soul in this one.
Sunday, July 6
Grand Rapids at Chicago, 3 p.m. ET ESPN - Grand Rapids had better bring their A game to the Windy City this weekend. They barely got by Arizona last weekend in the desert and can’t afford to have a repeat this time around. Chicago swept the series with Grand Rapids this season and after the off week, they’re looking for another color helmet to hit this time around. Fans may have one ear tuned to the Cubs-Cardinals and the other ear tuned to this game. Chicago outscored the Rampage 119-87 in the two meetings. The Rush looked pretty good two weeks ago against Dallas in the season finale and will be riding that wave. Chicago is a toddling town and the Rush run amok on Grand Rapids.
Monday, July 7
Cleveland at Georgia, 8 p.m. ET ESPN2 - These two did not meet in the regular season, so it’s really a battle of the unknown. Georgia did not look all that good against San Jose in the season finale. The Force have to hang on to the football if they want to move to the next round. Four turnovers against the SaberCats did them in.
Cleveland fought off Orlando last week in the first round, coming away with four turnovers in the contest. The game last week on ESPN received a .4 HH rating, including a 2.5 rating in Cleveland, which led all 56 metered markets and is the highest local market rating in 2008. The 2.5 rating is also the most since the Arena Football League and ESPN partnership began prior to the 2007 season. This may be one of the better games in the playoffs. Keep in mind that these two team did not play each other at all in the regular season, which means that this could be one of the most interesting of the four playoff games this weekend. I‘m taking Georgia to win this one at Gwinnett Centre and move on to the next level.