With the Wild Card round having gone on this past weekend; the NFL playoffs are down to their Elite 8 teams all vying for a world championship.
The Wild Card round turned out to be not nearly as exciting as everyone was expecting it to be so hopefully the second round of the playoffs will give us a bit more entertainment. Local fans will surely get plenty out of it considering the New Orleans Saints will be stepping onto the field for the first time in 2010 and facing the defending NFC champion Arizona Cardinals.
In the first Wild Card game on Saturday, the New York Jets came out and handily defeated the Cincinnati Bengals for a second straight week. The final score of 24-14 shows the game a lot closer then it actually was because it was all J-E-T-S Jets Jets JETS! The other game on Saturday saw another rematch from the final week of the season and also another game with the same result as the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 34-14. It was just another thrashing and it seemed like Philly never even showed up.
Sunday was day number two in the Wild Card round and our first game pitted the Baltimore Ravens against the shell of their former selves New England Patriots. This game was over by the end of the first quarter as the Ravens embarrassed the Pats in Foxboro by a score of 33-14. Tom Brady, the NFL comeback player of the year, looked awful. Game two on Sunday almost seemed like another blowout as the Arizona Cardinals were thrashing the Green Bay Packers until a monster comeback made way for a hell of a game. The Cards prevailed 51-45 in overtime in a not soon to be forgotten thriller.
Those four game winners combined with the four teams with first round byes are what now make up the Divisional Round of the playoffs which kickoff on Saturday, January 16 at 3:30 Central Time. Here are the four games on tap for this weekend with short and sweet predictions, but more to come as the week goes on.
- #4 Arizona Cardinals @ #1 New Orleans Saints
- New Orleans Superdome
- Saturday, January 16, 3:30 P.M. Central on FOX
Drew Brees and the Saints are hoping that a week of rest and then a week of hard-nosed practice can get them back into early to rather late season form and not the end of the season form they were in. Kurt Warner and company will be bringing a high-powered offense and virtually non-existent defense into the very loud Superdome after a brutal overtime game and short week. It may end up closer then my prediction, but I truly think a healthy Saints’ squad is going to show up with all guns blazing. Brees will lead that offense up and down the field and defensive general Darren Sharper will get his guys in order to keep the Cards in check.
Prediction: Saints 41 – Cardinals 24
- #6 Baltimore Ravens @ #1 Indianapolis Colts
- Lucas Oil Stadium
- Saturday, January 16, 7:15 P.M. Central on CBS
Baltimore went into New England and simply shredded a Patriots’ team which many experts and fans alike were thinking were going to be the “sleeper” team of the playoffs. This loss can’t be blamed on Wes Welker’s injury either because the whole team played like absolute crap and deserved the loss they got. The offense could barely move the ball and the defense couldn’t stop a soul. Indy is going to have their hands full with a Raven defense that is just loaded with nothing but beasts and an offense that has both the running (Ray Rice and Willis McGahee) and passing (Joe Flacco) aspects to blow up the scoreboard. I’m going out on a limb here and saying that the Ravens’ momentum is going to carry over here. Baltimore will jump out to a big lead quickly with that smothering defense tormenting Peyton Manning and forcing the Colts to abandon the run game which will be their downfall. Upset city.
Prediction: Ravens 27 – Colts 21
- #3 Dallas Cowboys @ #2 Minnesota Vikings
- Sunday, January 17, 12 P.M. Central on FOX
Dallas is on a tear lately all throughout December which was supposed to be their achilles’ heel, but they proved that wrong quick. After getting the franchise’s playoff victory in thirteen years; the Cowboys are on fire heading into Minnesota where Tony Romo is hoping he can match wits and throws with future Hall of Famer Brett Favre. Favre and the Vikes have had a week off, but didn’t look very good in the final weeks of the season. Except for the season finale where they destroyed the Giants; Favre showed his age in some awful losses that showed the Vikes really may not be able to hang with the big boys. I’m going for another upset here although my gut is screaming at me not to.
Prediction: Cowboys 31 – Vikings 24
- #5 New York Jets @ #2 San Diego Chargers
- Qualcomm Stadium
- Sunday, January 17, 3:30 P.M. Central on CBS
The Jets are really on a nice little streak after handily baeting the Bengals two weeks in a row. Quarterback Mark Sanchez and running back Shonn Green have looked like anything but rookies and combined with a monstrous defense to advance in rookie coach Rex Ryan’s first season. Ryan’s statements though that his team should be considered Super Bowl favorites is a bit premature though because they won’t make it past this round. Philip Rivers and the Chargers won the final eleven games of the season and most to all in impressive fashion. There is no way they’re going to let rookies come into their house and push them around will they? Nope, not even close.
Prediction: Chargers 35 – NYJets 20
I’m going to be around all this week with more on the playoffs and especially the Saints as they match up with the Cardinals. This could be Kurt Warner’s swan song so he’ll want to go out on top, but I’m sorry old man…I seriously doubt you’re getting past the black and gold. Here’s hoping to God I’m right and our magical season continues on for a rematch with the Cowboys where there is no way in hell we get pushed around again.
If you liked this article then be sure to check out:
- Saints’ playoff foe revealed: Cardinals
- Peyton Manning lands MVP; Brees a distant second
- Saints/AFC Playoff Match-Ups
- Analyzing the Arizona Cardinals
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