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Only eight teams remain

NFL --

January 08, 2008|By ROBERT KELLER / Pulse Correspondent

The playoffs have begun as the first eight teams faced off for a spot in the second round. Only four survived and some were a surprise.

The best game this past weekend was between Jacksonville and Pittsburgh. The Steelers had only lost one home game this season - against Jacksonville. The Jaguars looked to beat the Steelers and secure a spot in the divisional round. What started out as a close game - 7-7 at the end of the first quarter - turned into a Jaguar romp in the second and third quarters. When the fourth quarter rolled around, the Steelers found their second lead of the game, pulling ahead of the Jags 29-28. It came down to a game-winning field goal and the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Steelers at Pittsburgh, 31-29.

I am 33-31 overall for the regular season. I was 1-3 in my picks for the last week of regular season play. I said Washington would lose to Dallas (the 'Skins won); New England would beat the New York Giants (they did); Houston would lose at home to Jacksonville (Houston won); and Pittsburgh would defeat Baltimore (the Steelers won).

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This week, Jacksonville plays New England; I'm picking the Patriots. San Diego will defeat the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis, the Green Bay Packers will shut down Seattle in Green Bay, and New York will lose to Dallas.

The Patriots have looked sharp this season and have the ability to beat Jacksonville. The Colts have lost the past two times they met up with San Diego; I think they will lose a third time. Green Bay has quarterback Brett Favre; enough said. New York can't seem to capitalize on the key turnovers that will be necessary to beat the Cowboys.

Will the Patriots be able to go undefeated throughout the postseason to win the Super Bowl? In my opinion, no. The Patriots may be good, but now that they're in the postseason, they have to deal with the best of the best. Jacksonville has some of the weapons to stop the Patriots, but will they be able to utilize them? It all depends on Jacksonville quarterback David Garrard.

If the Patriots do beat Jacksonville, they'll have to face San Diego or Indianapolis. Indy will give the Patriots a run for their money, but if they face San Diego, it'll be a no-contest win for the Patriots and they'll go to the Super Bowl.

Only 26 days remain until the Super Bowl. I can hardly wait.

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