The second NFL season kicks off this weekend, although it may be deja vu since the matchups are mostly rematches of the regular season finale.
Since part of this blog’s name is “Football,” I figured I’d go ahead and make picks for each week of the post-season for you to view, comment or make fun of.
Jets at Bengals: One of the rematches of Week 17, which saw the Jets get into the playoffs by hanging one on the Bengals, 37-0. I don’t think the game will quite go this way on Saturday. The Bengals surprised everyone this year by winning the AFC North, especially since the division has the defending Super Bowl champs Pittsburgh Steelers and a good Baltimore Ravens team. But the Bengals have looked shaky at times and are probably the most unimpressive of the six division champs. The Jets, despite getting in the playoffs, are really not a good football team. They play good defense, but the offense is real spotty, especially with a rookie quarterback at the helm. Mark Sanchez will be a good NFL Q, but not yet. Still, I think the Jets’ D is capable of shutting down Cincy’s offense, so I’m going with New Jersey in this one, 23-14.
Eagles at Dallas: The Cowboys swept the Eagles this year, so logic says it’s next to impossible to beat a team three times in a season, although it has been done before. Dallas has also appeared to have gotten past its inability to win in December, and closed the season with shutout division wins over the Redskins and Eagles. However, even though they got beat down by Dallas, Philadelpha at one point was 5-4 and looking up at the Giants and the Cowboys before reeling off six straight wins. However, when they bring their “A” game, Dallas is about as good as anyone else in the league and may be the most dangerous NFC team in the playoffs. I think the Cowboys are out to make a statement, and I see them winning what may be the best game of the weekend, 31-26.
Ravens at Patriots: New England won the regular season matchup, 27-21, although this is the only Wild Card game that’s not a Week 17 rematch. I still haven’t determined whether the Patriots are a good football team, because there were times this season that the team looked like the teams that won three Super Bowls in the last decade and their were other times they looked just like a middle-of-the-road franchise. Baltimore is the same way, and needed to win on Sunday just to get in. The Ravens’ D isn’t the same dominant force it has been in the past, although it’s still a very good unit. Baltimore’s offense has also been up and down, although it’s good enough to compete with a lot of teams. New England lost it’s key playmaker, WR Wes Welker, to a nasty knee injury against Houston, and that’s going to hurt them. In fact, that, and the fact that New England simply doesn’t have a great defense, will be the reason why Baltimore wins an ugly one, 22-16.
Packers at Cardinals: Don’t let Green Bay’s blowout of the Cards on Sunday fool you; Arizona had absolutely nothing to play for. I must admit, I’m a huge fan of Aaron Rodgers, and I think if he had some protection from his offensive front line and a decent running game, he’d be in the conversation when you talk about the NFL’s top-tier quarterbacks. Green Bay’s defense has also vastly improved over last year. The Cards, when they’re clicking, can score on anyone at anytime, and is also getting improved play from their defense. Unlike last year, when Arizona shocked everyone by getting to the Super Bowl, I think the NFC is ready for them. I think Green Bay’s defense can do enough to keep the Cards from scoring too much, and the Packers’ offense will be able to move the ball enough to pull this game off, 27-23.