Who will be celebrating after the Super Bowl this year? The quest begins this weekend.
The NFL playoff schedule is officially set with Wild Card Weekend starting the festivities this weekend.
With four games scheduled to kick off the 2010-2011 NFL postseason, the highly-anticipated playoffs are set. Each conference will play one game on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday, the defending Super Bowl champion Saints will head to Seattle and the Colts will host the Jets. Sunday, the Ravens face the Chiefs while the Packers head to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles.
Here is a breakdown of what you need to know and what to expect from this weekend’s four Wild Card games.
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks
When: Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET
Pick: New Orleans Saints
The defending champions are a 12-point favorite visiting the NFC West champions. The Seahawks found themselves in the postseason after winning their division with a 7-9 record. Conversely, the Saints are one of the toughest teams in either conference and fell to a wild card spot only after the powerful Atlanta Falcons locked up the NFC South.
While Seattle’s 12th man advantage is clear, it’s still not enough to tip the scales in the most lopsided game of Wild Card Weekend. The experience and talent of Drew Brees and the Saints’ offense and athleticism and big-play potential of their defense will simply be too much for the Seahawks to handle.
New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts
When: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET
Pick: Indianapolis Colts
Even after the turmoil the oft-injured Colts have endured this season, it’s not wise to bet against Peyton Manning. Whether he’s fading into the twilight of his career or not, Manning has the wits to make the necessary adjustments against Rex Ryan’s defensive schemes. Throw in the fact that Mark Sanchez still has questions surrounding him and his big-game potential and the Colts (at home, nonetheless) should come away with the victory.
Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles
When: Sunday, 4:30 p.m. ET
Pick: Philadelphia Eagles
With both teams entering at 10-6 and Green Bay coming in on a high after clinching a postseason berth in the final week of the regular season, this game is shaping up to be perhaps the best game of the weekend.
Michael Vick has a chance to take another step forward in his epic return from a time away from the game. Aaron Rodgers has a shot at taking a step forward into group of the game’s elite quarterbacks.
Regardless of what happens, one of the league’s most impressive offenses will be on display against one of the best defenses. Philadelphia’s Vick, DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy will go up against Charles Woodson, B.J. Raji and the Packers’ athletic defensive unit.
Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs
When: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET
Pick: Kansas City Chiefs
Slow, steady and meticulous wins the race. And, a solid defense doesn’t hurt either. While the Ravens certainly bring much of those characteristics, it’s time to look towards Matt Cassel and the Chiefs as a team to fear in the AFC.
Cassel helped lead the Chiefs to the postseason with surgical efficiency this season. It will be that style of play that will disrupt the veteran Ravens defense. On the flip side, Kansas City’s 11th-ranked defense (points allowed) can do just enough to stop the efficient Ravens offensive attack behind Joe Flacco and Ray Rice.