Tag Archives: NFL playoffs

NFL Playoff Predictions

By BJ

Wild Card

AFC

Houston over Cincinnati – These two teams actually met in Week 14 with the Schaub-less Texans scoring the game-winning touchdown with two seconds left at Cincinnati. Now that this game will be on Houston’s turf and rookie Andy Dalton having postseason jitters, the Texans won’t have to dig themselves out of a hole this time.

Pittsburgh over Denver – The Broncos are the worst team in the playoffs, not only by record, but in my eyes, they’re not even the best team in their division (they’d lose at home to San Diego if they played this week). Tim Tebow has come down to Earth and will close out the season with four straight losses. He’ll finish the 2011 season 7-5 as a starter, but more importantly, 0-3 against playoff teams by an average deficit in the first two contests by 26.5 points. Kyle Orton was 1-1 against playoff teams in the first five games. Steelers by 25.

NFC

New Orleans over Detroit – The Saints took care of the Lions at home in Week 13, 31-17, and the score this time around should be similar. Both QB’s–both 5,000 yard passers this season–will put up big numbers, but the record-holder will rack up the touchdowns and the W.

NY Giants over Atlanta – If the right Giants show up, they should win a close one. They may have home-field advantage, but they have an NFC playoff-worst 4-4 home record.

Divisional

AFC

Baltimore over Houston – The Ravens took care of Matt Schaub and the Texans 29-14 in Week 6. It won’t get any easier with T.J. Yates at the helm.

New England over Pittsburgh – The Steelers beat the Pats 25-17 in Week 8, but so many things scream about as an aberration or a red flag. NE: Tom Brady was held to under 200 passing yards; Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker combined for 133 receiving yards and no touchdowns. None of that will happen again. Pittsburgh: Ben Roethlisberger threw the ball a season-high 50 times, although that may happen again if Isaac Redman has a game anything similar to what he had the last time out against New England. The new starter had seven carries for just 11 yards; Rashard Mendenhall went 13 for 70. The Pats, along with the Saints, roll into the playoffs as the hottest team, having scored at least 27 points in each of their last eight games – all wins. Oh, and this time it’s in Foxborough.

NFC

Green Bay over NY Giants – The Giants lose by 3 to an (almost) undefeated team in the regular season, then beat them in the playoffs. Sound familiar? The Pack will be at home for this one, unlike that Week 13 scare, but this could be closer than most people think.

New Orleans over San Francisco – It’s too bad the best defense in the NFC never faced the Packers or Saints. The best offense they faced all season was the Lions in a tough 25-19 win. The 49ers also have the lowest-scoring offense out of all the NFC playoff teams, and they won’t be able to keep up with the Saints, who will put up points.

Conference

AFC

Baltimore over New England – The Pats are the popular pick to make it to the Super Bowl, but their No. 1 seed in the AFC has been padded by an absolutely weak strength of schedule. They’ve played just three playoff teams all year and have gone 1-2, including a 25-17 loss to defensively-stout Pittsburgh, their lowest points scored all year. The Ravens sneak into Super Sunday.

NFC

Green Bay over New Orleans – The Packers won the season opener against the Saints 42-34. Expect another shootout from the previous two Super Bowl winners and the same victor in what should be the most entertaining game of the playoffs and the real Super Bowl matchup.

Super Bowl XLVI

Green Bay over Baltimore – While the Ravens deserved this trip to Indianapolis, this game is a mismatch. The best offense they faced all year was the Chargers, who blew them out 34-14. This one could get that ugly, as the Packers repeat as champions for the first time since the Patriots did it in 2005.

MVP – Aaron Rodgers – I could see Jordy Nelson stealing this away with 100+ yards and a couple of touchdowns while Rodgers holds it to under four touchdown passes or not without a couple of turnovers. But the obvious choice is Rodgers, who hoists the championship belt (aka the Super Bowl MVP award) for the second time in a row, joining Bart Starr and Terry Bradshaw as the only players to do so and capping the greatest season ever for a quarterback.

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Preview of the Conference Championships

By Bryan Jeon

Apologies for my near-three week hiatus while taking care of personal matters. I’m back on the Couch and ready to share my wisdom.

The NFL has not featured the regular season’s top two teams in the Super Bowl since 1993. That streak will stretch for one more year, as the Cowboys fell to the New York Giants last week, 21-17. Hell, Dallas became the first top-seeded NFC team to fall in the divisional playoff round since the current 12-team playoff system began in 1990. The San Diego Chargers also repeated their regular-season win over the Colts, upsetting them in Indy despite a slew of injuries to their stars for a 28-24 victory. Meanwhile, the Patriots stayed perfect with a 31-20 win over the Jaguars while Brett Favre‘s magical season continued with a 42-20 romp over the visiting Seahawks. I give to you a quick preview of what each team must do to advance to the NFL’s biggest game.

AFC Championship – San Diego (11-5, 4-4 away) @ New England (16-0, 8-0 home), 12 PM PT on CBS

What San Diego must do to win: First off, they’ll need an absolutely healthy corps to have a shot against the Pats. If LaDainian Tomlinson (bruised left knee), Antonio Gates (dislocated toe) or Philip Rivers (partial ACL tear on right knee) spend a significant amount of time on the sideline during the game, the Bolts’ offense will sputter. Right now, it’s looking like that will happen, as Rivers is listed as doubtful, despite his optimism in playing. I’ll tell you right now, Billy Volek will not be able to engineer any game-winning drives this time around. He hasn’t attempted more than four passes in a single game this season. With that, the weight of the offense will fall back on L.T.’s shoulders, who has 28 carries for 70 yards (2.5 YPC) and one touchdown in the Chargers’ two playoff wins. The Pats have never scored less than 20 points all season so L.T. must have a monster game (100+ yards rushing) and hit paydirt multiple times for the Chargers to contend.

What New England must do to win: Play like they’ve been playing, play like they did last week and especially, play like they did in Week 2. These two teams met up then in New England, which is where this game is as well, giving them a thorough 38-14 spanking. In that game, they limited L.T. to 18 carries for 43 yards and no scores. What’s the game plan this time around? Much of the same, really. The Chargers led the league in takeaways and turnover margin so Tom Brady and co. will focus on ball control and time of possession. Brady showed the world last week that he can win a big game without giving the ball to Randy Moss, who had just one catch for 14 yards. So if the Chargers think that by shutting out Moss, who had 8 catches for 105 yards and 2 scores against them in Week 2, will win the game, they better think again.

My take: With a high of 25 degrees expected Sunday in Foxboro, things will get really cold and dark quick for the Chargers, who are riding an 8-game winning streak. I say the Pats cover the spread of 13.5 to improve to 18-0 and be just one game away from shutting up every member of the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

NFC Championship: NY Giants (10-6, 7-1 away) @ Green Bay (13-3, 7-1 home), 3:30 PM PT on FOX

What New York must do to win: For Eli Manning, every game is the most important game of his career. The more surprising Manning to remain in the playoffs has made it three consecutive solid performances, and a win here could salvage his disappointing regular season. His most impressive statistic in the two games combined is throwing for four touchdowns and no interceptions. He needs to keep that up, and the Giants ‘D’, which has four takeaways, needs to contain Brett Favre and Ryan Grant for the Giants to pull off the upset at Lambeau Field.

What Green Bay must do to win: Think those two early fumbles had rookie running back Ryan Grant packing it up and calling it quits. Think again. He finished with an impressive 201 yards on 27 carries and 3 scores, as the Packers recovered from an early 14-0 deficit to score touchdowns on six consecutive possessions. Snow showers usually make for an ugly, low-scoring game but the Packers went on to score the most postseason points in franchise history. Brett Favre continued his magical season with 3 touchdown passes and no interceptions, and what better way to end his 17-year career with another trip to the Super Bowl (granted, he retires after the season).

My take: No NFC team in the last 20 years has been able to win a third time on the road in the playoffs and for the Giants, that stop would be here in the conference championship game. The Giants are on an amazing 9-game winning streak on the road, including the playoffs, but will have never encountered a tundra like in Green Bay, where more of the same snow showers that covered the field last week will come again. The high is currently 6 degrees with wind chills possibly approaching -20 degrees, perfect for Favre’s liking.