Ravens heading for return trip to Super Bowl

Jan 15, 2002 5:48 AM

Early playoff games going according to form with Eagles and Packers winning going away, though Packers wasn’t a walk in the park.

Raiders met Jets at a great time for them. The Jets had to make three cross-country trips in six days, which was slightly unfair. However, that’s the rub of the green.

Saturday, Jan. 19

Eagles 24, Bears 16: The Bears have the home field advantage by having the best record after St. Louis, which finished 14-2. The Eagles have played exceptionally well on the road. Chicago has been tough at home. Some say lucky. Well, if they have been lucky early, better be good and lucky now. Donovan McNabb has proven to be an exceptional QB, who can pass and run. McNabb is the difference here. Bears QB (Jim Miller) has been average and that won’t cut it here. Take Eagles (+2).

Patriots 27, Raiders 20: The Raiders played well versus the Jets and were benefited by the fact that the Jets picked up extra Air miles by those cross country jaunts. On the other side of the coin, the Patriots are well-rested, playing at home. Oakland has to travel three thousand miles to play in the cold and wet of New England. Pats handle Raiders with ease. Take Patriots (—3).

Sunday, Jan. 20

Rams 37, Packers 23: The Rams should pass Green Bay silly, then run wild with Marshall Faulk carrying the mail. Brett Favre is as dangerous, but he will have his hands full against a most improved St. Louis defense. The only chance Green Bay has is if Rams QB Kurt Warner is injured. Take Rams (—10).

Ravens 20, Steelers 13: The Ravens are coming off a tremendous performance versus the Miami Dolphins. Baltimore’s offensive line opened up holes you thought weren’t there. Kordell Stewart has had a breakout year, however this time of the season they separate the wheat from the chaff.

Running back Jerome Bettis is supposed to be ready, but don’t believe that until he shows it on the field. The Steelers are a false favorite. They were made that way because of home field advantage, but there is none in this game. Ravens have shown me that they will return to the Super Bowl. Take Ravens (+5½).