For starters, all of the visiting teams are favored in these matchups, and for good reason. They are all much more dangerous than the home teams. Additionally, the last 3 Super Bowl Champions have all played in the divisional round, with Pittsburgh
and the Giants
coming out of Wild Card positions and Indy coming from the #3 seed. Is one of these 8 teams this year's champion? Hopefully not.
hosts their first playoff game since before I was born. The story of this game centers on whether or not Arizona's offense can get back on track. They have laid eggs in December, save the season finale against Seattle
. Arizona completely forgot how to run the football in December, and they will face a challenge against an Atlanta
team that was all about clock control and efficient offense behind Michael Turner and Matt Ryan
. True, Ryan is a rookie, but this team can win even if he has a bad game. Look for Micheal Turner to have the advantage over Arizona's relatively weak run defense.
Ian's Prediction: Falcons 31-10
John's Prediction: Cardinals 31-21
If there is one team that has had Peyton Manning
and Indy's number in recent years, particularly in the playoffs, it has been San Diego
. The Colts
survived a game in San Diego in the regular season on the strength of a long field goal by Adam Vinatieri. Look for this game to be a lot closer than expected. It is very, very, very likely that the last team to get the ball in this game will win. San Diego's offense has been clicking lately and no one has been hotter than Indy (winning their last 9 games). This should be an entertaining matchup with both sets of running backs getting the lion's share of work, both running against poor run defenses and catching passes out of the backfield.
Ian's Prediction: Colts 27-26
John's Prediction: Chargers 20-16
The CBS crew gets to oogle over the Ravens
defense once more. Sadly, the Ravens defense is likely what wins this game. Baltimore's offense is mediocre at best and Miami
's defense should be able to hold their own. However, Miami's offense will probably struggle against Baltimore's defense. If there is any consolation for Miami, it rests in Chad Pennington's arm. While no quarterback threw for over 300 yards against the Ravens this season, Pennington came the closest with 295. However, he also threw a pick-six to Terrell Suggs which was the difference in the earlier meeting. If Miami is going to win, Pennington is going to have to have a big day and, most importantly, they have to not turn the ball over. This comes down to defense, and I hate to say it, but when it's a defensive battle against anyone except Pittsburgh, you have to like Baltimore.
Ian's Prediction: Ravens 16-10
John's Prediction: Ravens 14-13
Potential MVP candidate Adrian Peterson
gets his first whiff of playoff action against one of the better run defenses in the league. This game will come down to the passing game. Philly will stack the box against Peterson and force Tavaris Jackson (or Gus Frerotte) to beat them through the air. Philly has some big names in their secondary and will likely leave them on islands against Minnesota
's recievers. The Vikes tight end Vinsanthe Shiancoe could make the difference here. On the other side of the ball, the Eagles
offense has been great when they're hot and awful when they're not this season. The Vikings boast the league's #1 run defense but a mediocre pass defense. Donovan McNabb
will be the deciding factor in this game. If McNabb has a big game, the Eagles cruise to a date with the Giants.
Ian's Prediction: Eagles 31-13
John's Prediction: Vikings 10-7