Wildcard weekend is over and now it’s time for the good ‘ol divisional round. The four teams with byes finally get a chance to show what they are made of. I hope you’re ready for New Orleans, Indianapolis, San Diego and Minnesota, because they are coming atcha’ in high definition (hopefully), smash mouth majesty.
I wasn’t perfect in my picks for last week. Well, I should say that I was very far from perfect. I only picked one correct game out of the four wildcard games. Feel free to discontinue reading my previews if you don’t trust my in depth (pin the tail on the team with a blind fold on) analysis (guessing) of this weekend’s games. Don’t worry. I won’t feel bad. Ok? You’re staying? Good, let’s get this party started.
Last week, I only predicted that Dallas would win (my prediction was 35-24 and they won 34-14). That’s kind of funny because that was the game that I was the least sure of. I was positive that the Patriots would win in front of the home crowd (even sans Wes Welker), I didn’t see the Cardinals beating the super hot Packers (best game of the weekend) and I didn’t think the Jets would be able to beat the Bengals. I guess it’s time I give the wildcard winners a little more respect. 9-7 doesn’t (necessarily) mean that your team is a pushover.
Time: Saturday at 8:15 PM EST on CBS
How they match up: Up until week seventeen, it looked like the Colts were going to finish 16-0. In retrospect, resting starters was a good idea after we saw injuries to Wes Welker and Anquan Boldin in games that meant little or nothing. With their full team, the Colts are undefeated and downright scary. They are only the ninth best offense because their rushing attack is on par with a Pop Warner team, but their passing attack is #2 led by the dynamic duo of Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne. Baltimore has the eighth ranked passing defense. They will need to be at the top of their game if they have any hope of shutting down the Colts.
Last time they played: November 22: Colts 17, Ravens 15.
Prediction: The Colts last place rushing attack (80.9 yards per games) might eventually be their undoing. It’s a lot easier to shut down an offense when they are one dimensional, but it won’t happen this week. The Colts will roll 20-13 in front of the home fans.
Time: Sunday at 4:40 PM EST on CBS
How they match up: Just like the other AFC team that received a bye, the Chargers are pretty frightening. Their defense is only #16 and their offense is #10, but they’ve won their last eleven games. In the parity filled NFL that’s not very easy. The Jets backed into the playoffs, but proved they belonged after a convincing win over the Bengals last weekend. Mark Sanchez had a solid game (12-15 182 yards and 1 TD) and Shonn Green ran for 135 yards in the 24-14 win. The story of this game will be the Jets #1 rushing offense against the Chargers 20th ranked rushing defense.
Last time they played: September 9th, 2008: Chargers 48, Jets 29.
Prediction: I’m probably going to end up putting my foot in my mouth as usual, but I’m going to completely overlook all the statistics that say that the Jets are the better team. The Chargers don’t seem as talented as the Jets, but the proof is in the record. San Deegs will bring its winning streak to twelve after taking out the Jets 24-10.
Time: Saturday at 4:30 PM EST on FOX
How they match up: This is definitely the second round game that I am most looking forward to, especially after the crazy amount of points that were scored in the Packers game. Neither of these teams have great defenses, but the Saints have the #1 offense and the Cardinals are capable of putting up big numbers.
Last time they played: December 16th, 2007: Saints 31, Cardinals 24.
Prediction: The Saints haven’t been rolling lately and their offensive line has some question marks, but I still think the Saints will win this one 38-31.
Time: Sunday at 1:00 PM EST on FOX
How they match up: This is probably the best match up of the weekend. Both teams have top ten offenses and defenses and both teams won their respective divisions. The Brett Favre comeback tour hasn’t seemed to hit any snags this year. Favre led the Vikes to 13 wins and threw for 4,202 yards and 33 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. But, Dallas actually won important games at the end of the season and look like a potential Super Bowl sleeper.
Last time they played: October 21st, 2007: Cowboys 24, Vikings 14.
Prediction: The Vikings have had an easy time of it all year. Adrian Peterson is one of the nastiest pure runners in NFL history and Favre seems to have found the fountain of youth, but it feels like Dallas will continue its roll. I’ll take the ‘Boys 34-20.