Posted on: January 5, 2009 1:45 pm

Divisional Round Playoffs

2 for 2 last week, I guess that's what I get for taking too many road teams. 

This round is all about rematches.  All four of these games took place at least once in the regular season, with the Eagles and Giants playing twice in the regular season. 

Baltimore @ Tennessee

The Titans won in Baltimore by a field goal early in the season but I think that was before Baltimore found itself and started rolling.  This time around is tough to call because of how impressive Baltimore has been.  I'm thinking that the story going into the game is Baltimore's defense so I think people may overlook a Titans defense that should get its two best D linemen back.  With no running game, Baltimore will be in trouble.  I also think the Ravens had a lot taken out of them defensively, and although Ray Lewis will have them fired up, I think Tennessee could wear them down if they stick to pounding the run.  The Titans will be fresh and just ask the Cardinals how much a good, wild crowd can help.  I like the Titans, but I don't like them that much.

Ravens 16
Titans 19

Arizona @ Carolina

Arizona got it's playoff home win and all is good in Phoenix.  Now it's time for them to quietly exit the playoffs and let the real teams play on.  This will be the least competitive of the four games this weekend even though their first meeting was only won by Carolina by four points.  I keep hearing how Arizona found a run game in James and that their defense is playing inspired.  After DeAngelo Williams runs all over them in the first quarter they won't be too inspired.  Carolina's D will do just enough to keep Warner and the receivers under control and they will not be able to run the ball.  I love watching Steve Smith in the playoffs, he is the consummate X-factor.  Going with the rested home team again here.

Cardinals 20
Panthers 34

Philadelphia @ New York

The Eagles are going to be tough to eliminate but the Giants may be the only team that can do it.  It will be close because these two know each other so well.  They split the regular season, each winning on the road.  If the Giants can run the ball they'll be successful.  If Philly's D continues to be dominate and do what they did to Adrian Peterson than they'll be going to Carolina next week.  I'll take the Giants because they lost a few weeks back without Brandon Jacobs.  With him, they're the team to beat in the NFC.

Eagles 27
Giants 28

San Diego @ Pittsburgh

Big Ben's health is an issue here and so is the Steeler offense.  The Chargers played inspired defense against the leage MVP last week and will have to do so again if they expect to move on.  I don't think Darren Sproles will have as much success against the Steeler defense and Phillip Rivers will have to carry more of the load.  Say what you want to about Rivers, but he's money in the playoffs.  The Steeler D always gives them a chance to win, and the week off may have helped this team rest up, but in a game that will be determined by field position, I like the Chargers.

Chargers 17
Steelers 14
Posted on: December 30, 2008 2:40 pm

Wild Card Picks

This weekend will be a very interesting one as the NFL Playoffs begin with the four wild card games.  Don't quote me on this, but this may be the first time in NFL history that the four wild card weekend road teams all win.

Baltimore @ Miami

This will be the best of the games in my opinion.  Not as star-studded as the Colts-Bolts but it showcases two teams with very similar styles.  Neither team scores a lot, and neither team gives up a lot.  Baltimore has a reputation of making quarterbacks look foolish so Chad Pennington and the Dolphins O-line is the key to the game for Miami.  They're very good at giving him time to throw so if that holds up they will be in the game.  On the other side, the question will be whether or not the Ravens can pound the run like they have the past few weeks.  Joe Flacco will just have to not turn the ball over and manage if they have any kind of running game.  If not, he'll have to take on too much responsibility and Miami's D will be a pain.  This game could go OT and will most likely be decided by a field goal either way.  In a coin flip I'll take the experienced D.

Ravens 16
Dolphins 13

Indianapolis @ San Diego

A rematch of a very good game from earlier this season.  The Colts won by a field goal after a gutsy fourth down call.  This time around both teams are rolling and no two teams may be hotter.  Part of me wants to think that the Chargers used everything they had just to get here.  I also don't buy the fact that they are even playoff worthy.  Two of the last four teams they beat had huge collapses (Tampa Bay and Denver).  Tomlinson's groin will also be an issue here.  Because of all of those things I think the Colts run the win streak to 10 games and win by a touchdown.

Colts 27
Chargers 20

Philadelphia @ Minnesota

Philly is the hottest team in the NFC coming into this game.  Something that I think has been overlooked is the Philly D, they've been great down the stretch.  Turnovers cost the Vikings a game against Atlanta a few weeks back and I think the same thing will happen here.  Peterson will be great but will fumble and Tavaris Jackson will turn the ball over too much.  Brian Dawkins looks determined to make another playoff run.

Eagles 24
Vikings 17

Atlanta @ Arizona

Atlanta is hands down the best story of the season.  Miami is a good one too, but no team had to deal with what the Falcons had to deal with in the last two seasons.  The gamble on Matt Ryan paid off, and John Abraham returned to pro bowl form.  Arizona, despite the win last week, is sputtering into the playoffs. Boldin says he'll play but I'm questioning how effective he'll be.  With no running attack the Cardinals just can't win a playoff game, even if it's at home.  I'll go with all four road teams here.

Falcons 31
Cardinals 20
Posted on: November 19, 2008 1:07 pm

NFL Playoff Predictions

Based on the remaining NFL schedule and my thoughts on the teams in the playoff hunt, here's what I predict we'll be seeing come playoff time.


Titans 14-2
Jets 11-5
Pats 10-6
Colts 10-6
Ravens 10-6
Broncos 9-7

Bold denotes division winners

The Titans are an easy pick here.  I think the Jets will coast to the division title because of a weak schedule and capture the first round bye.  The Pats just seem too good to not make the playoffs so they'll have a road wild card game.  The Colts are in great shape in the AFC to finish strong.  A 4-2 finish will get them at 10-6 and in the playoffs by one game over the Steelers who they'd have the tie-breaker over for beating them.  The Ravens will win the North because of their schedule.  The Steelers are banged up and their schedule down the stretch is brutal.  The Broncos win the West by default and somehow get a home playoff game.

So, the bracket would most likely look like this:

New England @ Denver
Indianapolis @ Baltimore

I would predict the road teams to come out on top of these matchups, setting up:

New England @ Tennessee
Indy @ New York

The AFC Championship would be in Nashville:

New York @ Tennessee


Giants 13-3
Bucs 11-5
Panthers 11-5
Cardinals 10-6
Cowboys 10-6
Packers 9-7

The Giants will roll into the playoffs, maybe even at 14-2.  The Bucs will win the division via a tiebreaker over the Panthers.  This could go either way but the Bucs killed Carolina earlier this year so based on that I'll give the nod to the Bucs.  The Panthers are too good at home to fall out of the playoff picture but they do need to figure out what's going on with that pass offense.  The Cardinals win the West by default, that seems like a common theme this year.  The Cowboys win the wild card becasue the Redskins don't have enough fire power and the Eagles can't beat the Bengals.  The North will only get one team, and that will be Green Bay by a game over the Bears and Vikings.  Atlanta misses out by a game to Dallas but don't be surprised if that's the other way around.

So, the bracket would look like this:

Dallas @ Green Bay
Carolina @ Arizona

The Pack get the Cowboys the second time around and Carolina proves that Arizona just isn't that good.

Green Bay @ New York
Carolina @ Tampa Bay

The Giants are just too good and they'll send the Packers home again.  Carolina and Tampa Bay could be a classic.

Tampa Bay @ New York

So, we'll see how wrong I end up.
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