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Celebritiy NFL Picks: Cold weather hardly a concern for soaring Eagles

Sal DeFilippo

Celebrity Picks

Final 2008 Standings
Wayne Newton, "Mr. Las Vegas": 31-19-1
Anthony Crivello, star of "Phantom - Las Vegas Spectacular": 30-21
Oscar Goodman, mayor of Las Vegas: 26-24-1
Danny Gans, Encore headliner: 26-25
Lance Burton, Monte Carlo master magician: 25-26
Kevin Janison, KVBC meteorologist: 23-26-2
Carrot Top, Luxor headliner: 17-33-1
Past Winners
2001 – Lance Burton
2002 – Clint Holmes
2003 – Rita Rudner
2004 – Oscar Goodman
2005 – Wayne Newton
2006 – Anthony Crivello
2007 – Rita Rudner
2008 – Wayne Newton

Weather could play a factor in this weekend’s NFC divisional playoff game between the conference’s top seed, the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants and their rival Philadelphia Eagles.

The conditions in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday are expected to be pretty nasty come kickoff time, including freezing temperatures, wind gusts of 25 mph, and possibly some snow.

But I’m betting Andy Reid, Donovan McNabb and the rest of the Philly faithful couldn’t care less about the chance of snow. Especially when you consider that two weeks ago, the likelihood that that they would even be in the playoffs was about a snowball’s chance in … well, you know.

Heading into their regular-season showdown with the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia was clinging to slim hopes of joining the postseason party.

They did their part, to be sure – waxing the Cowboys to the tune of 44-6. The irony is that whipping the Cowboys turned out to be the easy part of the weekend.

For Philadelphia’s season to be extended, they also needed the Oakland Raiders to go into Tampa Bay and knock off the Buccaneers. Forget that the Raiders failed in the same spot as a favorite in the Super Bowl six years ago – this Raiders squad shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same sentence. Still, Oakland was up to the task, stunning Tampa Bay as a 13-point underdog and taking the Bucs – who were once 9-3 and seemed a sure bet for the playoffs -- out of contention.

But that still wasn’t enough. Philadelphia needed one of two other teams to fall for the Eagles to qualify as the sixth and final playoff participant in the NFC. Either the Vikings needed to lose at the Giants (they didn’t), or Chicago needed to lose at Houston. The Bears led 10-0 against a team that has never had a winning season … but couldn’t get the job done, and Philly’s postseason ticket was stamped.

After disposing of Minnesota 26-14 last weekend, the improbable run takes them back to Giants stadium, site of an upset win a month ago that helped keep this playoff dream alive.

Of course, weather and the Giants – coming off a bye week – aren’t the only obstacles: the injury concerns of star running back Brian Westbrook are also paramount in this Hollywood script. But he practiced Friday, and is expected to play.

In another great weekend of NFL playoff action, the Eagles are the quintessential reminder that anything can, and often does, happen.

A 1-3 start to the playoffs shows that a great regular season doesn’t always mean success in the playoffs. This weekend, I’ll try to rebound in the divisional round with the Ravens +3, the Cardinals +9 ½, the Eagles +4 ½ and the Steelers -6.

Wayne’s World (1-3): Ravens +3, Cardinals +9 ½, Giants -4 ½, Chargers +6.

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