It is playoff time and while people like you and me will be enjoying the postseason, the NFL is wondering where the hell all the major tv market teams are. Good thing the Giants are in right Roger Goodell?
Last season I headed up the predictions on my own blog but sports over there results in the blog version of crickets and tumbleweeds. Much better fit here.
This year I am joined by fellow fantasy league members Unfinished Rambler and Matt a.k.a The Hypocritical One and at some point this post-season Rickey Henderson.
Let's get to the predictions shall we?
#5 Indianapolis Colts at #4 San Diego Chargers
Matt: I honestly think these may be the 2 hottest teams in the AFC. Indy is on a tear, and beat everybody to get to the playoffs. San Diego was written off as dead, but now has new life. Unfortunately, Tomlinson isn't healthy, and Norv Turner likes to lose big games. Indy will continue their role in So Cal this weekend.
Rambler: The Chargers are coming off a huge thrashing of the Broncos that cost Mike Shanahan his job; the Colts, off a not surprising shellacking of the Bengals that will probably see the end of T.J. Houshmandzadeh’s career as a Bengal. Sproles and LT combined for over 200 yards, with surprisingly Sproles stealing the show with 115 yards last week.
As of Wednesday, LT is listed with a sore groin, but he and Sproles will stick kick the Colts, with whom I’m not that impressed, where it hurts—and um, leave an impression.
Prediction: Expect the Chargers to light it up at home, and roll again, 47-21. Sorry, no Manning vs. Manning matchup in the Super Bowl this year.
Chris: Chargers play the Colts? Bad news for San Diego. Sproles has done very well replacing both Turner and LT but they need a 100% Tomlinson, something we have not seen in two postseasons now. Emmitt Smith played with a separated shoulder for crying out loud.
An NFL playoff team has to have a hell of a defense if they do not have a good running game in order to win. With an ailing LT and a pass defense that is shaky at best the Chargers will have a hard time trying to stop Indy's array of offensive weapons. Oh and Bob Sanders is back.
The Colts' playoff experience and their offensive weapons will be too much for the Chargers. Indy wins 35-10 and faces Pittsburgh next week.
#6 Baltimore Ravens at #3 Miami Dolphins
Matt: Miami has the Wildcat offense, Bill Parcells, and a QB who won the "most improved player" for the 2nd time. (so does that mean he won the crappiest player for 2 years also?) Miami has the press on their side, the nation is cheering for the little guy, and it seems like nothing can go wrong for the fins.
Oh...except Baltimore. The Ravens vaunted defense destroyed any Dolphin offensive game plan when these two teams met earlier in the year, and it will be no different this time.
Rambler: The first time these two teams met, the Baltimore defense (here’s a shocker, because really, who’s ever heard of this defense? Wink, wink) shut down the Miami running game en route to a 27-13 win.
The Dolphins naturally will look to capitalize on Flacco’s inexperience, and get their running game going with Williams. Oh, and Chad Pennington was just named AP Comeback Player of the Year for the second time in three years after embarrassing his successor in New York, Brett Favre. However, I still think the Baltimore D is too much and stops the Dolphins from any more comebacks.
Prediction: The Ravens’ D is too much for Pennington and company in a tight one 17-14.
Chris: What do you know, Miami is in the playoffs and true to form, Bill Parcells takes a team to the postseason with one foot out the door. This time he even got to buy the groceries.
Anyways, a key to this game will be third down conversions. Only eight teams have a worse percentage then Miami, who lack a really good offense and face the brick wall that is the Raven defense. The Dolphins do have Joey Porter though but he is one man.
Baltimore takes care of Miami easily, 30-14 and gets ready for another team that doesn't do well on third down, the Titans.
#5 Atlanta Falcons at #4 Arizona Cardinals
Matt: This match up is the battle of the "ugly step-sisters." On one hand you have a story of an over-achieving QB leading his team to the playoffs. On the other hand, you have the story of an over-achieving QB leading his team to the playoffs.
So which over-achieving QB will triumph?? I'll take Kurt "I screwed over all my fantasy owners over the last month of the season" Warner over Matt "just happy to be here" Ryan.
Arizona has no running game, and will be soundly trounced in the next round...but they are at home against a newby QB.
Rambler: Michael Turner vs. Kurt Warner. What? Isn’t that how everybody else is touting this? Well, I am. Sixteen hundred yards and what do you get? Another day to play and deeper into the playoffs, that’s what you get. Kurt Warner’s got the playoff experience, of course, but his team? Plllllllease.
Prediction: Say goodbye, Kurt. 42-10.
Chris: Never mind the Cardinals winning, will the home fans be able to watch the game? The NFL extended the blackout deadline to Friday afternoon but that might not be enough.
This is an interesting matchup because Arizona has a crappy running game and Atlanta doesn't force a lot of turnovers which points to a lot of passing. I forsee a lot of frequent filer miles being racked up.
The Falcons pull out the win 42-37 and keep one of the three top-ten tv markets involved in the NFL playoffs.
#6 Philadelphia Eagles at #3 Minnesota Vikings
Matt: Tarvaris Jackson is the Tecmo Super Bowl equivalent of Bernie Kosar. He is terrible, and will single-handedly lead a good Minnesota team to ruin.
If you're in the NFC, is there any team you want to face less than the Eagles?? They were in shambles a little over a month ago, and now are playing like world-beaters. They made a talented Cowboys team look like the Clippers of the NFL.
Rambler: Adrian Peterson vs. Donovan McNabb/Brian Westbrook? Seventeen hundred yards and what do you get? Unlike Turner, I don’t think you get another day to play. What?!? I know, I must be crazy and a homer because I live in Pennsylvania, but I’m going with the Iggles in this one. McNabb/Westbrook have been too much all season. It doesn’t stop now. I won’t say it’s going to be easy though.
Prediction: 42-39, Eagles continue to soar.
Chris: Andy Reid is a genius. We have never seen a pissed-off Donovan McNabb before and look at the results. A happy Donovan didn't work. The puking version in the 2005 Super Bowl wasn't a success either.
Reid should bench him more often.
Like my partners in the predictions I also find a lack of faith in Jackson not disturbing. He is the Vikings' Achilles heel after all but really is more like a Jekyll and Hyde type player.
Expect Hyde to show up on Minnesota's side, McNabb to stay mad and the Eagles to win 28-14 leading long-time radio announcer Merrill Reese to yell out “Herschel Walker!” while Via Sikahema puts on his boxing gloves.
Do you have a prediction for the Wild Card round of the 2009 NFL Playoffs? Post it in the comments and join in on the fun.