NFL Postseason Preview & Predictions
The #1 seed Colts and #2 seed Chargers are rewarded with a first round bye.
#6 Ravens @ #3 Patriots
The Ravens have the advantage on the defensive side of the ball, but this years’ defense isn’t nearly as dominant as years past. The Patriots lost Wes Welker, their most consistent wide-receiver to injury (torn ACL & MCL) in week 17 and will be without him for the postseason. I think even without Welker, the Patriots still have too much on offense for the Ravens to keep up with. I look for it to be a good game, but in the end the Patriots will be advancing into the divisional round.
Prediction – Patriots
#5 Jets @ #4 Bengals
The Jets absolutely demolished the Bengals in the Meadowlands in their week 17 matchup. The Jets ran all over the Bengals injury plagued defensive line. Their effectiveness on the ground allowed for only 15 pass attempts for Mark Sanchez which limits the chance of turnovers and greatly increases the Jets’ chances for a victory. With that being said, I think the Bengals have the advantage in the playoffs. Chad Ochocinco is questionable with a left knee injury, but Cedric Benson will be back along with many key players on the defensive line. The Bengals have to be able to move the ball through the air and stop the run in order to defeat the Jets. They must force the Jets to throw the ball with rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez. If the Bengals can execute their game plan than they have a chance to win, if not then we might see a repeat of their week 17 matchup.
Prediction – Bengals
The #1 seed Saints and #2 seed Vikings are rewarded with a first round bye.
#6 Eagles @ #3 Cowboys
The Cowboys and Eagles are familiar with each other to say the least. The ‘Boys have beaten the Eagles both times they have played them this season and have shown that they can win with both stout defense and an offensive explosion. With that being said, the Eagles are a veteran team with a lot of weapons on offense and a defense that is superb at creating turnovers. I think that the Eagles’ experience coupled with the Cowboys’ lack of performing under pressure are the main factors that will ultimately send the Eagles into the next round.
Prediction – Eagles
#5 Packers @ #4 Cardinals
The Packers versus Cardinals is one of the most intriguing matchups in the wild-card round. Both teams have explosive offenses with big-time play-makers at the wide-receiver position. So this game will come down to two things: who can run the ball and who can get the big stops on defense? The Packers and Cardinals have both shown the potential to sustain a consistent running game, but neither team has totally committed to the run game. Therefore, I think that the team with the most consistent defense will ultimately prevail with the win and the Packers are that team. The Packers have veterans in the secondary like Charles Woodson who create turnovers and young, athletic linebackers like A.J. Hawk, Clay Matthews, and Nick Barnett who fly to the ball.
Prediction – Packers