Both Antonio Gates and LaDainian Tomlinson missed practice again Friday - as did placekicker Nate Kaeding – for San Diego, putting their status for Sunday's playoff game in doubt.
Tomlinson, in fact, is listed as doubtful to play. Gates is questionable. Kaeding is probable, but will likely be limited.
I wouldn't expect Tomlinson to play with his torn groin and even if he does, he won't last long.
Gates, who already had a high ankle sprain, now also has a sore Achilles tendon. I would expect him to try to play, but he will be very limited.
With that in mind here are the much-awaited playoff picks for this weekend:
Baltimore at Tennessee: I've gone back and forth on this game all week long. On the radio Tuesday, I picked Tennessee, 17-13, then I started leaning the other way later in the week, especially if Tennessee center Kevin Mawae is unable to play. That looks as if it will be the case, so I can't see the Titans pulling this one out without perhaps their best offensive lineman. Baltimore will shut down Tennessee's running game and force Kerry Collins to win the game. I don't see that happening again - though he led them to 10 fourth quarter points in a 13-10 win over the Ravens earlier this season. Take Baltimore, 17-10
Arizona at Carolina: To me, this is the easiest game of this weekend to pick. Arizona manned up and won last week at home as I expected, but on the road at Carolina, that's not going to happen again. Carolina played awful at home offensively in the first half and still managed to beat the Cardinals at home earlier this season. The Panthers should be able to do so again. Anquan Boldin will try to play with his injured hamstring, but it's going to be difficult. Take Carolina, 31-17
Philadelphia at N.Y. Giants: This is another game I changed my mind about this week, but this time due to the weather forecast. There's supposed to be sleet and snow at the Meadowlands Sunday. That will make things awfully difficult for a team that doesn't run the ball - like Philadelphia - to get anything going. I think the Giants are ripe for the picking without Plaxico Burress in the lineup and picked the Eagles in an upset earlier this week. But I don't see that happening now. Take the Giants and their running game, 20-16
San Diego at Pittsburgh: My thoughts on this game really haven't changed since earlier in the week. I just don't know how San Diego is going to score much once the Steelers make them one dimensional, as they will do stopping Darren Sproles. Philip Rivers and the boys have been a nice comeback story, but people forget, this is where this team was supposed to be all along. They just underachieved for much of the season. The Steelers defense will lock the Chargers down and Willie Parker and the running game will control the clock. Take Pittsburgh, 24-13