The playoffs are finally here!
This weekend, four games are on the slate during the Wild Card round of the 2010-2011 playoffs.
In the AFC, the Indianapolis Colts will play the New York Jets and the Kansas City Chiefs will play the Baltimore Ravens.
In the NFC, the Green Bay Packers will play the Philadelphia Eagles and the Seattle Seahawks will play the New Orleans Saints.
Three of the four games are bound to be entertaining.
Read on for predictions and breakdowns of each of the games.
These two teams met last season in the AFC Championship when Peyton Manning led his team past the upstart Jets into the Super Bowl with a decisive 30-17 win.
This season though, the Colts are the team with the worse record that barely snuck into the playoffs.
The Indianapolis Colts and the New York Jets will face off at 8:00 PM EST Saturday on NBC.
Peyton Manning and the Colts have been on fire lately. The Jets, to put it simply, have not.
Manning can make all the throws he wants to and his cerebral ability can solve whatever problems Rex Ryan throws at him throughout the game. Ryan likes to pressure opposing quarterbacks into making bad decisions with his complicated defensive schemes, but Manning is the player in the league best equipped to deal with that.
Indianapolis' defense has also been playing brilliantly lately, first holding Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jacksonville Jaguars under 100 yards for the first time in seven games then limiting the Tennessee Titans' Chris Johnson to just 39 yards.
If they can continue that type of success against Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson, this one won't even be close.
Peyton Manning has struggled more than usual this season, going 0-4 in games where he threw at least two interceptions.
Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis have the ability to force him into making some mistakes and they must do so to secure a victory.
The running game must also break through the Colts' vastly improved defensive front early and often. LaDainian Tomlinson has been slowing down lately, so either he needs to turn the jets back on (pun intended) or Shonn Greene needs to pick up the slack.
The Kansas City Chiefs have been the surprise team of the NFL this season. Matt Cassel and Jamaal Charles have rejuvenated a dominant offense and the defense hasn't been too shabby either.
Baltimore has to travel to Kansas City despite having the better record. At 12-4 they've been in the mix all year long.
The two teams will square off at 1:00 PM EST Sunday on CBS.
Even though the Ravens' defense is stout, the Kansas City Chiefs should be able to run over them. Behind the legs of Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs have gained 164.2 yards per game on the ground, the best average in the entire NFL.
With the exception of a Week 17 game that didn't really matter, Matt Cassel has been terrific this season and his success should carry over into this game.
As for the defense, stopping Ray Rice is going to be the number one priority. They'd love to force Joe Flacco into having to win the game with his arm.
Expect for the Chiefs' magical 2010 run to continue onto next week's divisional stage.
Winning the battle of running games is going to be key.
The Ravens simply must contain Jamaal Charles and the incredible ground game of the Chiefs. Then on offense they'll need to get Ray Rice rolling quickly to avoid making the offense too one-dimensional against a good Chiefs defense.
Joe Flacco has thrown just one touchdown pass and six interceptions in his playoff career. That too must change.
Aaron Rodgers has yet to win a single playoff game in his short, but great, NFL career. Quarterbacking the other team will be Michael Vick, the breakout star of this season in his return to Atlanta Falcons form.
This should be the most exciting game of the Wild Card round of the 2010 playoffs.
The Green Bay Packers will travel to Philadelphia and take on the Eagles at 4:30 PM EST Sunday on Fox.
Michael Vick has made more mistakes than normal lately and he'll need to change that if he's going to beat the Packers.
The time off in Week 17 should help Philadelphia deal with their numerous injuries, including the one to the aforementioned quarterback.
Vick is definitely the key to this game. The Packers' defense is quick, but so is he. He'll need to elude the pass rush, but still keep his head on his shoulders and make good decisions.
The Packers could win if the pass rush continues to dominate as they have all season. Green Bay's passing defense may very well be the best in the entire NFL.
Obviously Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings and company will be able to make some plays in the passing game, but it will be unbelievably helpful if the running game can get going.
John Kuhn and Brandon Jackson will need to take some of the pressure off Rodgers' right arm.
The Seattle Seahawks became the first team in NFL history to advance past the regular season and into the playoffs with a losing record.
Their reward? A first round matchup with the defending Super Bowl champions: The New Orleans Saints.
Drew Brees and the Saints will look to avoid having an ignominious distinction in the record books when they play the Seahawks at 4:30 PM EST Saturday on NBC.
Hmmm, this is a tough one.
Maybe because they're a superior team in every way?
Seriously though, they are. Drew Brees is going to be able to make all the throws he wants to and the defense should be able to limit Charlie Whitehurst and/or Matt Hasselbeck quite easily.
I don't expect this one to be close at all.
The Saints winning would be an "upset" only because Seattle is playing at home and has a higher seed in the playoffs.
To win, the homefield advantage will have to be more than a 12th man. It will need to be a 13th, 14th, 15th and maybe even 16th man.
Matt Hasselbeck or Charlie Whitehurst, whoever plays, will need to improve drastically. The running game will have to actually do something.
And the defense will need to be able to limit an explosive Saints offense.
Basically, it's not happening.