With the 2009 NFL regular season over, the playoffs are beginning this Saturday, and many people are wondering who will win the Super Bowl. This slide show contains my playoff predictions for each round and my pick to win the Super Bowl. My predictions are not likely going to be what you expect. The seeds are:
1. Colts 1. Saints
2. Chargers 2. Vikings
3. Patriots 3. Cowboys
4. Bengals 4. Cardinals
5. Jets 5. Packers
6. Ravens 6. Eagles
The Patriots have been dealt a heavy blow with WR Wes Welker out with a knee injury. He is arguably their No. 1 receiver. The Patriots don't have that great of a defense, and the Ravens have a playmaker in RB Ray Rice. WR Derrick Mason is a good receiver too, and he should be able to make catches against the Patriots' secondary. QB Joe Flacco has playoff experience too, and he will do fine against the Patriots.
What you saw Sunday was completely fake, and the Jets were at home, and they had something to play for. Now that they're going to Cincinnati, the Bengals will shut down the Jets' weak offense. QB Mark Sanchez is playing in his first playoff game, and he has had a shaky rookie season like most do. The Bengals have great defense, and they will easily be able to shut down Sanchez and RB Thomas Jones.
The Colts are skating on thin ice right now, and they are known to choke in the playoffs. That dumb decision made by Jim Caldwell to rest Manning with a five-point lead will come back to haunt him, and the Ravens are a playoff sleeper. The only season where Manning didn't rest in Week 17 was the year the Colts won the Super Bowl. Resting before a first-round bye is a common fatal mistake in football that will sink the Colts' ship.
The Chargers are a Super Bowl favorite, and they have been hot lately, and that will serve them well. They have weapons such as Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates, and they will be difficult to contain. Rivers has matured as a young QB and should lead the Chargers to a victory over the Bengals, who aren't a Super Bowl contender.
The Ravens are an underdog team being the No. 6 seed. With the Colts out of the way, the Chargers would gain home-field advantage. The Ravens have a great coach in John Harbaugh, but the Chargers are too powerful of a team for the Ravens, and Rivers had his best season in his career. The Ravens' weak pass defense will finally come back to kill them.
The Cowboys have shocked the football world by doing well in December and winning the NFC East by beating the Eagles on Sunday. The Cowboys go into this game as the favorite, but they have a very bad recent playoff history, and Wade Phillips is a terrible coach. WR DeSean Jackson will explode like he did against the Giants, and RB Brian Westbrook is healthy again. QB Donovan McNabb has won many playoff games, and will prevail over Tony Romo. Plus, the Eagles have a lights-out defense with CBs Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown, who will be able to contain Miles Austin just fine.
This game is going to be a very close one. The Packers have the No. 1 rush defense while the Cardinals' defense is enigmatic. QB Aaron Rodgers will play in his first playoff game, but that shouldn't matter for him because he's always been a great QB. This time, he had the defense to get the Packers more wins. WRs Greg Jennings and Donald Driver are reliable weapons, and TE Jermichael Finley has had a breakout season. The Packers barely rested their players, and that works out better in the playoffs. (2007 Colts)
The Saints rested their starters, and that won't benefit them in the playoffs. DE Charles Grant is out for the playoffs, and their rush defense is already shaky. The Eagles have much better rush defense with DE Trent Cole and DTs Broderick Bunkley and Mike Patterson. Defense wins playoff games, and that edge definitely goes to the Eagles.
The Vikings have been slumping lately while the Packers have been red-hot heading into the playoffs. Favre is wearing down, and he is known to throw crucial interceptions in the playoffs, and that game against the Giants meant nothing. They have a really weak pass defense, and they had nothing to play for. The Vikings have shaky pass defense too, and Rodgers will do just fine against them. The rush defense will be a challenge with the Williams Wall, Jared Allen, and Ray Edwards. Allen is cocky though, like that time he trash-talked Michael Oher. The Packers' offensive line has improved a lot over the season.
This would be a matchup between the NFC wild-card teams, and the Packers would get home field. That would give the Packers the edge over the Eagles. RB Ryan Grant would be able to find a hole where Victor Abiamiri is, since he has been shaky for the Eagles. The Eagles' offensive line is shaky just like the Packers'. The Andrews brothers have struggled, and going against the No. 1 rush defense won't help. The Packers head into the playoffs hot, and not resting the starters too much will pay off.
Rivers is known to choke under pressure, and here is where he will do it again. Norv Turner made the foolish decision to rest the starters after only two drives, and that will cost the Chargers in the end. I pick the Green Bay Packers to win the Super Bowl.