The field is set, the 32 teams have been cut down to the final 12. The NFL Postseason is upon us.
There are some big time surprises this year. Who expected the Chiefs and the Seahawks to be the #4 seeds for the AFC and NFC, respectively? Certainly not me. Who expected only one playoff team to come out of the NFC East? Again, not me. With the surprises comes the standards, almost everyone expected the Saints, Patriots, Ravens, and Packers to make the playoffs. One thing is for certain, the 2010 postseason will be a good one.
Wild Card Weekend
New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts
As good as the Jets’ defense is, Peyton Manning seemingly owns Rex Ryan. I expect it to continue this week, but for a different reason. The Colts have been playing great football of late, and they needed to in order to make the playoffs. During the final three games, the Colts have held opponents to under 70 rushing while averaging more than 130 yards rushing per game. If the Jets get down early, I don’t have confidence in Mark Sanchez to be able to control the game in the air.
Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs
Even though the Chiefs are home and the higher seed, they are the underdog in this game. I actually like the Chiefs to “upset” the Ravens. The Chiefs are the best rushing team in the NFL and they don’t turn the ball over. They may not pass the ball for tremendous amounts of yards, but Cassel has thrown 27 TDs to only 7 INTs. He takes care of the ball and I don’t think he will allow Ed Reed to dictate the passing game. Also, the home field advantage will play a big factor. They Chiefs are tremendous at home having gone 7-1.
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks
The Saints have struggled some this season, specifically their run game, but they have more talent and should win this match-up easily.
Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles
Three weeks ago, the Eagles were my team to beat in the NFL. After that amazing win against the Giants, I was leaning Eagles in the Super Bowl and Michael Vick as the MVP. Since then, the Eagles have not played well and the MVP will definitely go to Tom Brady. The Eagles’ offensive line is simply not good enough. Vick is seemingly hit on every play and the Packers’ defense will come after him, early and often. On the other side, the Packers are on fire of late. They have basically already played two playoff games just to get into the playoffs and I expect them to ride the momentum.
Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers
I don’t like the Colts having to play in Heinz Field. The Colts and Steelers match-up nicely and this would be a tremendous game, but in the end the Steelers are the better team this season.
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots
Two words: Tom Brady. The Chiefs were a below .500 team on the road and the Patriots were a perfect 8-0 at home. The Chiefs simply won’t be able to score enough to win this game.
New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears
Interesting fact: The Bears and Saints were both better road teams than they were at home. I think that will negate the Bears home field advantage, even if it snows. The Saints have the 6th ranked offense and 4th ranked defense, while the Bears have the 30th ranked offense and 9th ranked defense. The Saints are the better team with the better QB and should win.
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons
Again, I like the Packers momentum. The Falcons have a tremendous home field advantage, but they are beatable. The Packers have the 9th ranked offense and the 5th ranked defense, while the Falcons have the 16th ranked offense and 16th ranked defense. The Falcons generally play close games, and I expect this to come down to the wire.
Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots
The Steelers clearly have the better defense in this match-up, but the Patriots have been able to score points on everyone this season (even the Steelers in Pittsburgh), especially at home. The Patriots are beatable and they have had some close games at home (Packers), but I’ll take Tom Brady and Bill Belichick over Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Tomlin. Although, Tomlin is one of the best coaches in the NFL.
Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints
Let me lead this off by saying I am not a Green Bay Packers fan and I am not a resident of Wisconsin. I think the Packers defense will be able to slow down the Saints and Aaron Rodgers is one of the more under-rated QBs in the NFL because he hasn’t won a playoff game, yet. This game will most likely have over 500 combined passing yards, since both teams don’t have the best running games.
Green Bay Packers vs New England Patriots
This will be a tremendous rematch of the Week 15 Sunday Night Football game. This time instead of Matt Flynn leading the way, the Packers will have Aaron Rodgers at the helm. I think that actually favors the Patriots. I feel the Patriots struggled against Flynn since there was not much NFL film of him available. The Patriots will be well prepared and should be able to beat the Packers because they are the more balanced offensive team.