The Schedule Is Set: NFL Playoffs Ready To Go

2 01 2011

So with one game to go, all 12 spots have been decided, and now it’s time to look at the matchups for Wildcard Weekend.

AFC

1. Patriots (14-2)

2. Steelers (12-4)

3. Colts (10-6)

4. Chiefs (10-6)

5. Ravens (11-5)

6. Jets (11-5)

AFC Matchups:

(6) Jets @ (3) Colts – Saturday, January 8th, 8:20 PM

It's too funny NOT to post

This is just the matchup that Rex Ryan did NOT want to see, you know during that whole game he was just WAITING to look at the Jumbotron and see that the Ravens had taken the L.  Regardless, his team has a challenge ahead of them, they’ve been here before, as the 6-seed, and last year, they were able to take things all the way to the AFC Championship……funny enough, this is who they faced.  The Colts haven’t looked all too impressive, but they have 3 things: Peyton Manning, and 2 of the best defensive ends in the league in Freeney and Mathis.  The Jets need to keep themselves in the game, keep it close and the Colts can’t unleash that defense on you.  But if you let Peyton Manning get a quick score or 2, and jump out to a 7-0….10-0…..14-3 lead, you’re in trouble.  Sanchez has struggled, and if the Jets are smart, they’ll make this playoff run go through LaDanian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene.  The Colts have shown trouble on defense against the run,  but the Jets haven’t been stellar on offense period, they’ve been up and down, and will need to get it together if they want to have a chance at winning.  In this matchup, I take Peyton Manning in the clutch over Mark Sanchez, who still has a lot of questions to answer and needs to be the reason they win games, not the reason that it’s hard for them to do so.  Watch out though, because once again, the Colts have found their running game at the right time.

Colts over Jets, 23-14

(5) Ravens @ (4) Chiefs – Sunday, January 9th, 1 PM

As long as he's on the field, no QB is safe

First things first, let’s give the Chiefs their credit, Todd Haley somehow turned things around for this team.  Charlie Weis has been huge for this offense, and it’s going to be interesting to see what happens once he leaves (one begins to wonder why he took the OC job at Florida if he has a legit chance to win a ring with KC).  Kansas City has their hands full this first game, the Ravens are coming off a rough game against the Bengals and want to show the world that their 11-5 record is no fluke.  The Chiefs are a young team that have a lot of growing up to do, and their offense revolves around what is probably the best running back DUO in the league in Charles and Jones.  In the playoffs it’s about running the football, and that’s what both these teams can do, so from there, it’s going to be a matter of the defense vs the respective QBs.  The Ravens defense isn’t what it was in 2000, and some may argue it lives off its name, however, there’s no denying the impact that future Hall of Fame veterans can have on a defense in playoff time.  Ray Lewis and Ed Reed by themselves will give Matt Cassel problems, and as good as the Chiefs’ defense has been, I don’t know if they’re ready for the big time and an experienced playoff QB like Joe Flacco.  This game is going to be close, but when it comes down to it, I’m going to take Flacco over Cassel (who did have a great year).

Ravens win 20-10

That would set up the following divisional round matchups:

Colts @ Steelers, Ravens @ Patriots

NFC

1. Falcons (13-3)

2. Bears (11-5)

3. Eagles (10-6)

4. Seahawks (7-9) *LOL

5. Saints (11-5)

6. Packers (10-6)

(6) Packers @ (3) Eagles – Sunday, January 9th, 4:30 PM

Even with all the hype around Vick, you can't forget about this guy

Probably the best matchup of the weekend, a re-match from the opening Sunday where we first found out exactly what Michael Vick can do.  Since then, both teams have been on wild rides to the postseason, the Packers have been chasing the Bears all year long and the Eagles have just been trying to stay ahead of the Giants.  Now here we are, with two of the best QBs in the NFL, and two of the most opportunistic defenses in the NFL.  While the Eagles have the more explosive players, the Packers can pile on points as well, the trick will be in the running game, where the Packers rank 25th, and the Eagles rank 5th. Expect LeSean McCoy and Jerome Harrison to get a lot of touches with Michael Vick being a little banged up, they can break plays open and keep the Packers defense off-balance.  As long as the Eagles keep Vick protected they will be fine not only in this game, but for the rest of the post-season, but despite what he did for them in the regular season, they cannot let Vick dropback 35 times and get absolutely destroyed all 35 times.  Run the ball, keep the defense on their toes, and go over the top with the vertical game, but do whatever you can to keep Vick off his rear, or else Green Bay wins this game.

Eagles win 34-30

(5) New Orleans Saints @ (4) Seattle Seahawks, Saturday, January 8th, 4:30 PM

He's LOLing all the way to an NFC West Title

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to announce that I called someone winning the NFC West at 7-9……though I called the Niners, can I still be half-right?  Regardless, this matchup looks to be the most one-sided game Wildcard Weekend.  While we know the playoffs are essentially a “new season” and “anything can happen”, let’s look at this realistically: the Seahawks defense would need to throw things at the Saints that they’ve never seen before and force Brees into a few turnovers.  Not only that, Matt Hasselbeck has to somehow guide this team to AT LEAST 24 points, while that’s possible, he doesn’t have the weapons around him to get it done.  Marshawn Lynch looked like a disappointment, Forsett looked explosive, but seems to be a risk-reward type back (either you got -2 yards, or 25), this offense has no balance and will run through an aging Matt Hasselbeck.  Can he get it done? Yes, will he? Probably not.

Saints win 38-14

That sets up the following matchups in the divisional round:

(5) Saints @ (1) Falcons, (3) Eagles @ (2) Bears

Let’s get started!

 

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