Time: Saturday at 4:30 PM EST
Last time they played: December 5th – Steelers 13, Ravens 10
Prediction: Everyone loves a good division battle, especially in the playoffs. These two teams don’t like each other. It has a lot to do with the fact that they both play in the AFC North, but more to do with the fact that they are so similar on both sides of the ball. Both teams have rugged, old school, punch-you-in-the-mouth style defenses that allow less than 17 points per game. Both teams have star running backs (Rashard Mendenhall and Ray Rice). But most importantly, both teams have strong field generals. The only glaring difference is the fact that Pittsburgh only allowed 62 rushing yards per game to Baltimore’s 93. Because of that, I see the Steeltown boys taking this one 24-17 in front of the home fans.
Time: Saturday at 8 PM EST
Last time they played: November 8th – Atlanta 20, Green Bay 17
Prediction: This game is another match up of superior defenses. But, in this case, both Green Bay and Atlanta have explosive offenses as well. This will be a battle between young combos of Matt Ryan and Roddy White against Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings. There are a few big questions marks on both sides. Will the defenses step up or will this be a shootout? Is Ryan ready to start his first ever home playoff game? We know Michael Turner will be carrying the rock for Hotlanta, but who’s getting the ball for Green Bay? Rookie James Starks embarrassed the Eagles with his 123 yard game last week. Was that a fluke? Since I have to make a prediction, I’ll give this one to Atlanta 21-13.
Time: Sunday at 1 PM EST
Last time they played: October 17th – Seahawks 23, Bears 20
Prediction: I made fun of the Seahawks last week and even when I was doing it a little voice in my head told me that I was in for a little bit of déjà vu. Clearly, the Cardinals 9-7 record in ’08 still looks way better than Seattle’s. It doesn’t matter though. The Seahawks are still in it even if they can only finish above .500 by reaching the Super Bowl. Marshawn Lynch was in full “Beast Mode” last week, including one of the greatest runs in playoff history. The Seahawks even beat the Bears already this year. I’m just not buying the hype. Without the support of their home fans, the Seahawks Cinderella run will come to an end when they lose 28-14.
Time: Sunday at 4:30 PM EST
Last time they played: December 6th – Patriots 45, Jets 3
Prediction: Another division battle will finish off the divisional round of the playoffs. The Jets are a decent team. I mean, they won eleven games and beat the Colts in the first round. That being said, the Patriots look downright unbeatable. Tom Brady had one of the all-time greatest statistical season, their offense seems to score at will (32 point average) and they NEVER lose at home. Also, their coach Bill Belichick could coach a group of octogenarians into a playoff team. The Jets barely scored more points than they gave up (22 to 19) and they got walloped the last time they went into Gillette Stadium. The Patriots offense is so dynamic and scary that it doesn’t even matter that their defense is one of the worst in the NFL. Nobody can outscore them and it won’t change this week. The Patriots will win easily 31-13.