Rams will turn it up a notch in the playoffs

December 26, 2000 11:09 AM
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The St. Louis Rams became a Super Bowl contender by the skin of the Bears’ teeth. Take your hats off to the Chicago Bears. They played their hearts out when they could have spit the bit. Instead, they forced Detroit to spit it up.

With the Rams in the Super Bowl hunt, the rest of the contenders hope by some miracle that New Orleans will knock ‘em off. Forget it! The Saints caught lightning in the bottle when they made the playoffs without Ricky Williams and QB Jeff Blake.

Saturday, Dec. 30

Tampa Bay 20, Philadelphia 13 – The Bucs will have no picnic here. With QB Donovan McNabb at the helm, the Eagles are very dangerous. The Bucs’ offense has improved. The Eagles depend mostly on the pass, and their only running back is QB McNabb. The Bucs’ offense comes alive, while their defense stinks. Take the Bucs and give 2½.

Indianapolis 27, Miami 23 – The Colts came storming back at the tail end of the season to make the playoffs. They could be very dangerous. The Dolphins’ lack of an offense hurts them in this encounter. They can’t afford to get into a shootout with Indianapolis. The Colts at pick’em is a strong play. Over in the total is a strong play, too.

St. Louis 33, New Orleans 20 – The Saints are making their first appearance in a playoff game. They’ll make an early exit. The Rams’ defense has improved over the past three weeks, though it’s barely noticeable. The Saints’ offense isn’t that potent. Rams –6 is the play. They’ll terrorize the rest of the Super Bowl pretenders.

Sunday, Dec. 31

Denver 26, Baltimore 23 – The Ravens were exposed last Sunday when the Jets gained more than 500 yards over their vaunted defense. Jets errors and the Raven team saved their bacon. They won’t have that luxury against the offense-happy Broncos.

The Ravens had the luxury of playing in a soft division, with Cleveland and Cincinnati spitting the bit. The Ravens were fortunate to meet Jacksonville early in the season when injuries and a slump slowed them down. Another item to put in your notebook: the Ravens’ quarterbacking corps is nothing to fear, and they have many injuries suffered in the Jets game.

Broncos +3 gets the money. Straight up (money line) is easy.