Wildcard playoff predictions:
Saints over SEAHAWKS, by 13
I’m not gonna get cute and predict the Seahawks to upset the Saints or anything crazy like that. Seattle is the first 7-9 team to make the playoffs in NFL history, and New Orleans is the defending Superbowl Champion; let’s leave it at that. But you just know all this talk about reseeding the playoffs, or even not allowing division winners to have an automatic playoff bid, would be completely nullified by some miraculous upset in which the Seahawks sneak up on and take down the Saints. Hey, don’t say it wasn’t at the back of your mind in the off chance that a scenario like this actually happens…
COLTS over Jets, by 7
The only division winner I’m picking this weekend, simply because of past history. There’s the Peyton factor, the Rex-Ryan-talking-too-big-for-his-team-even-though-his-teams-are-usually-pretty-good-but-they-still-lose-slash-get-jinxed factor, and the Lucas Oil Stadium factor. I don’t know… I guess I just can’t see a Jets defense that’s almost seemed to be struggling as of late take down a revived and determined Manning and the Colts’ newly found running game.
Ravens over CHIEFS, by 10
Kansas City’s cinderella season stops here. Baltimore is way too experienced and only-slightly-to-way-more talented than the Chiefs are. Let’s see… Flacco can match Cassel (if not outright outperform him), Rice is better than Charles (but Jamaal isn’t as far behind as you might think), and Boldin and Bowe are an even split, although Bowe might be better (right now). That leaves the rest of the Kansas City roster versus the rest of the Baltimore roster, and you can give me the juggernaut over the Unexpected Team of the Year any day of the week- this is, after all, football, and not the NCAA Tournament, where (almost) anything can happen.
Packers over EAGLES, by 6
Argh, this pick pains me to make. Usually, I’d normally bet against the Eagles winning playoff games solely because it helps me feel better when they invariably lose (I know it’s a horrible strategy, but we can’t all be as lucky as Patriot fans). But this weekend, I honestly think the Packers will come out with the victory in the most competitive game of the four. Vick is electric, but the Vikings and other teams this year have used DB blitzes to ground Philadelphia’s electricity. The Eagles’ will need production from their spark plugs (WR’s Jackson and Maclin) and a steady contribution from their constant current (read: RUN THE BALL, ANDY!)… how’re these electricity metaphors working for you, only so so? The Packers need Rodgers to come out firing, taking advantage of Philly’s depleted secondary. If he does this, I don’t see how the Eagles can prevent the Packers from hanging 28+ on them. Which usually won’t win you a playoff game.