I’ll be making my picks each week throughout the NFL playoffs and then look back on my results when the season is all said and done. I will not predict the score — only the winner and loser — as I believe predicting scores is just overanalyzing it and nobody ever guesses correctly. As we close the regular season chapter and move to the postseason, let’s take a look at the matchups for the weekend.
Saints (11-5) at Seahawks (7-9)
Clearly, the Seahawks go into this game as heavy underdogs despite being a home playoff team in the loudest stadium in the NFL. Qwest Field has generated the most false start penalties in the NFL since it was created, which makes it a very difficult place to play. With that being said, the Seahawks had a losing season and are the worst team to ever make the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Saints were still in contention for the number one seed in the NFC up until last week, and let’s not forget the Saints blew out the Seahawks in their meeting earlier this year.
Prediction: Saints over Seahawks.
NY Jets (11-5) at Colts (10-6)
Peyton Manning sliced and diced the New York Jets in the AFC Title game last year, propelling his Colts to their second Super Bowl in four years. Manning will look to do the same this time around in Wild Card fashion, especially against a vulnerable Jets’ secondary that has been less-than-impressive this season. The Colts are red-hot, coming off of four consecutive wins to conclude the regular season. I’m going with the Colts here, as Manning usually doesn’t disappoint in opening round playoff games. Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan, who enjoys boasting about his team without anything to back it up, said this week that his Jets were the best team in the playoffs. Too bad for him that the Jets are the worst-seeded team in the AFC playoffs.
Prediction: Colts over Jets
Ravens (12-4) at Chiefs (10-6)
In a postseason with powerful wild card teams, the Chiefs have to be nervous about this week’s matchup with the 12-4 Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens have had success in recent years in the playoffs under coach Harbaugh as a wild card team, and fans should expect a strong showing from them yet again this time around. The Chiefs have struggled at home in the postseason, most recently in 2003 when they fell to the Colts despite having a first round bye and a promising 13-3 record. The Ravens are the more experienced playoff team heading into this game, and they clearly know how to win on the road. This could be close, but I think the Ravens should pull away in the end.
Ravens over Chiefs
Packers (10-6) at Eagles (10-6)
Following their huge win against the Giants in Week 15, the Eagles appeared to be running away with the number two seed in the NFC. Instead, they dropped down to a division winner playing on wild card weekend, losing their final two games of the season. The Packers, on the other hand, come into this game red hot after winning two games in week 16 and 17 in which they were facing elimination both games. They responded well with their high powered offense against the Giants, but their offense slowed down in week 17 in a game that their opponent, the Bears, had nothing to play for. This should be cause for concern for Packers fans, but the Green Bay defense has been powerful enough to give the Packers that extra boost they need in this game against an Eagles offense that has slowed down significantly in the last few weeks.
Packers over Eagles
BYE: Falcons, Bears, Patriots, Steelers