NFL Playoff Predictions

The NFL playoffs are rarely boring, even a 33-14 blowout by the Ravens in New England last year was very watchable. So this weekend’s games are already must-see-TV. But what about the actual match-ups? Many are rematches of games we’ve seen not so long ago. The Chiefs and Ravens battled in a back and forth game in Week 1 last season, and, I’ll use this moment to drop a name I may never mention again: Brodie Croyle threw two TDs in a losing effort. The Jets and Colts met more recently, and in a much more meaningful setting: an AFC Title game just 348 days ago. The Packers also edged the Eagles in Week 1, during Michael Vick’s coming out party.

Ok, so some of this weekend’s match-ups may seem like no contests. But I assure you, despite New Orleans giving a 10.5 point spread to Seattle on the road, expect stronger seeming road teams to still have their hands full. Sure, over the last 3 years, home teams are 6-6 in the first round of the playoffs (hardly home-field advantage). But how many times have we said “that team played in an inferior division, they’ll get crushed”, only to be proven so wrong on Saturday or Sunday? See Arizona the past two years for evidence. Without further ado, a titillating month of football is on hand…

WILD CARD WEEKEND

SATURDAY:

I like the Colts to top the Jets once again. Rex Ryan may have grabbed more headlines than anyone this season, but his football team isn’t looking all that hot lately. Sure they’ve had tough opponents in recent weeks, Bears, Steelers, Pats… but Sanchez is dinged up, and the running game has slowed down a bit. Plus, again when have we been able to say this before, Peyton Manning is practically flying under the radar right now. In a season decimated by injuries, the Colts still pulled out the division, and managed to rediscover their running game over the last 4 weeks of the season. Pick: Jets 13, Colts 24

Along with 95% of America, I am going with the Saints in their contest at Qwest Field. Don’t get me wrong, Matt Hasselbeck has risen to the occasion in the past, but a 35-year old QB who has missed 3 games due to hip problems is past his prime. Drew Brees may be turning the ball over more this year, but with Reggie Bush back in the line-up, the Saints are obviously a more dynamic team, and will be able to find more ways to win… even if this ends up being a tighter contest. Pick: Saints 28, Seahawks 10

SUNDAY:

While most people are handing this game to the Ravens, i am not. I think this may be the closest game of the weekend. The Ravens haven’t been blowing teams out lately, and the Cheifs may be one of the only teams in the league capable of breaking through the Baltimore D with the running game. Expect a mistake here and there from both Flacco and Cassel, but big plays on defense keeping this one tight. Pick: Ravens 16, Chiefs 17

The Packers – Eagles game promises to be the weekend’s showcase match-up. After Green Bay beat Philly earlier in the season, Michael Vick said “I feel like if I had been out there for four quarters, maybe we would’ve had a chance to win the game;” he entered in the 2nd quarter after Kevin Kolb was concussed. Aaron Rodgers is being touted as the next great QB, but on Sunday he’ll simply be looking for his 1st ever post-season victory. I think he’ll get it, based on the Eagles’ lack of defense the last few weeks. Pick: Packers 30, Eagles 20

DIVISIONAL/CONFERENCE FINALS

AFC: With expected match-ups of Patriots v Chiefs, and Steelers vs Colts, more recent clashes come to mind… Practically a third of the Chiefs coaching/management came from New England; will that give them a leg up on the pole-setters? Not likely… As for the Steelers, they beat a favored Indy team in 2006 in their Super Bowl XL march. I expect a solid Steelers defense to stand strong at home, setting up a NE vs Pitt AFC Championship game. The Patriots simply own the Steelers with Brady, no matter where the game’s played. I’ll take New England as my Super Bowl pick

NFC: As the Saints match-up with the Bears, one thing will determine the outcome: turnovers. Both QBs have thrown their fair-share of picks this season, and if one comes when the game’s on the line, it could determine the outcome. Bears have proved me wrong all season, so I’ll take them to squeak out a close game. As for the Packers, they run up against Matt Ryan, in Atlanta. I like it when teams buck history, and will take GB to pull an upset…. thus, setting up an NFC North clash for the Championship. The Packers looked awful good in weeks 16-17, and really seem to be clicking now. Repeat the low scoring game at Soldier field, with the same result.

SUPER BOWL XLV

The game’s in Dallas, meaning both teams on a neutral field, in a rematch of Super Bowl XXXI. Amazing that both Favre and Bledsoe’s understudies, would be the ones to play, 14 years later. I still think New England will come out on top, but something about Clay Matthews and Aaron Rodgers is really tempting. Since the Pack have developed a tendency for losing close games, I’ll take Bellichick, Woodhead, and Brady’s locks.

Pick: Patriots 27, Packers 23

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One Response to NFL Playoff Predictions

  1. Hey, whitsport. Love your blog and keep going back to it. I just got a comment saying to pass this on. Very, very interesting and he (or she, not sure) said to make sure to pass it on. It’s about abuse at the Outback Bowl this year. here is the link. http://outbackbowlabuse.wordpress.com/

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