clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Divisional Playoff Predictions

The first weekend of the playoffs provided lots of entertainment. From the Colts defense surprisingly shutting down Larry Johnson to Tony Romo costing Dallas the game in a way no one expected to the Pats rout of the Jets and to the Eagles' last second field goal to end Tiki Barber's career, all were featured in Wild Card Weekend. Now, as we head into the second weekend of the playoffs, there are just about as many storylines for each game.

My predictions for last week's game resulted in a 2-2 record with the Chiefs and Giants losing. The Chiefs got rolled over since their run defense was taken away, and then the Giants nearly came back to take the Eagles to overtime to save my upset pick, but couldn't pull it out.

In this weekend's games, there are four great match-ups that showcase some of the league's best teams. Let's see if I can improve my record any this time with these four predictions.

AT
My pick against the Colts last week ended up being a mistake, but I'm going to tempt my luck again this weekend. The match-up I see here is one that actually features one team with more momentum, the Colts, and one that may be better overall, the Ravens. Despite Baltimore having one of the best defenses, I do see the Colts scoring some points on it. However, the Colts defense will not be nearly as good as they were against Kansas City.

This game really is a toss-up as both teams have explosive units. Baltimore will fall behind early but catch-up with a big defensive play. That vaults them back into the game and propels them to a victory.

AT
New Orleans makes their playoff debut this season following one of the best stories ever. After a 3-13 season ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, the Saints turned everything around by heading back to New Orleans and getting the second best record in the NFC. Philadelphia has also turned things around, just in a different sense. The Eagles slipped by the Giants on a last-second field goal to keep their winning streak alive.

In this game, the Saints win by a few touchdowns. A lot of people are jumping on the Eagles bandwagon, but I'll be one that leans toward Drew Brees and company. The passing attack for New Orleans will allow the Saints to get up by a couple of scores quickly, and then the running duo of Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush will seal it. The Saints go marching in to the NFC conference championship.

AT
Folks, be prepared for one of the ugliest and sloppiest playoff games in some time. Possibly the worst playoff team goes against the potential worst best team, if that even makes sense. It is the Seahawks coming to Chicago to play the Bears following a win that couldn't have gotten any closer over the Cowboys. Chicago, although they control the best NFC record, has more question marks then you would expect for a number one seed.

This game ultimately comes down to the quarterbacks in my mind. Rex Grossman cannot have one of those games where nearly everything goes wrong, which would cause the Bears to lose. I don't think he will. Grossman will make his mistakes, but not ones that are harsh enough to cost Chicago their playoff chances. In the end for this game, Chicago plays with a small lead all day long and then pulls away in the final quarter to win.

AT
One of the most interesting match-ups in the playoffs this year is the Patriots versus the Chargers. San Diego was the best regular season team, equipped fully with MVP LaDainian Tomlinson. But will that translate into playoff success? Well, their toughest test comes to town to see if that success will carry over into the postseason. New England is an experienced playoff team with great leaders.

Since I did choose San Diego to beat New England in the AFC conference championship below, I will stick with that in this game. I do see the Patriots having an advantage simply because they are the Patriots, but San Diego will come up with a way to win. I will go very specific and say that L.T. breaks a big run in overtime to win the game and to put San Diego one step closer to reaching the Super Bowl.


Below are my updated long-range predictions. I did have San Diego and New England playing each other, but just one round too late. Nonetheless, I'll keep my predictions like this to see how they pan out from my first picks.

AFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
*San Diego over Kansas City
*New England over Baltimore

NFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
*Chicago over New York
*New Orleans over Seattle

AFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP
*San Diego over New England

NFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP
*New Orleans over Chicago

SUPER BOWL XLI
*New Orleans over San Diego