The regular season is done. The contenders have emerged, and the pretenders have gone home to watch. There are enough head coaches out on the street now to fill the area behind the Today Show window, and Brett Favre is done... again.
Here are my thoughts and picks on this weekend's NFL Playoff games.
New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks (Saturday, 4:30pm Eastern, NBC)
The 7-9 Seahawks might be getting a lot of razzes from NFL fans and analysts for even being in the playoffs, but the defending Super Bowl champion Saints are not going to run roughshod over them.
The noise level in the stadium in Seattle gives even the most disciplined team a hard time making playcalls. Also worth noting is the long flight the Saints must take to play this game, while the Seahawks final regular season game was at home.
That being said, the Saints will win this game, but they are going to have a harder time than some expect.
Final Score Prediction: Saints win 24-14
New York Jets @ Indianapolis Colts (Saturday, 8:00pm Eastern, NBC)
After a less-than-typical season, the Colts made it to the playoffs and are likely to stay a while.
Peyton Manning is simply too experienced in the post-season to lose at home. He'll turn this game into another chess match and win.
The Jets won't go down easy and are likely to run the ball to death when they hold a lead, but the odds are stacked against them here.
Final Score Prediction: Colts win 28-17
Baltimore Ravens @ Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday, 1:00pm Eastern, CBS)
The first of Sunday's matchups could go either way.
The Chiefs were 7-1 at home in the regular season, but their awesome running attack will have a hard time against a pretty stout run defense.
Ray Rice is the key to this game. Kansas City cannot allow him to get going if they want to win, and given Rice's ability as a pass-catcher, it may be too much for the Chiefs to stop.
Final Score Prediction: Ravens win 28-21
Green Bay Packers @ Philadelphia Eagles (Sunday, 4:30pm Eastern, CBS)
This one has the makings of a shootout. The Packers pass defense matches up well against the Eagles, but they cannot expect to perfectly gameplan for Vick. As much as the Packers like to force opposing quarterbacks to alter their plan, this is something Vick can do better than anyone in the NFL.
Clay Matthews will haunt Vick all night, but if the Packers try to bring others up to pressure him too often, it's only a matter of time before the speedy Eagles offense breaks out into thin coverage for big plays.
Final Score Prediction: Eagles win 34-28
Feedback? Agree or disagree? Think I'm a genius or a total hack? Comment below and sound off!