NFL Playoff Predictions With a Green Bay Bias
As a Green Bay fan, I am going to give some NFL predictions through the Super Bowl. I went through the playoffs and noticed my picks lean towards the Packers. That isn't because I want them to win the Super Bowl, therefore they will. And they have injuries which knocked them out of the heavily favored pick to compete in the Super Bowl or win it.
I am a fan of the Packers, but can be realistic with my expectations. And certainly through the year, my expectations were to make the playoffs but not make the Super Bowl. So, I will proceed with my picks and some reasoning for them. I am not a stats guy. I think stats are important but don't tell the whole story. And so much goes on in a game that can't be statistically measured. There are lots of intangibles. And before I go further, sometimes being a homer or fan doesn't necessarily cloud judgment.
Before last year's March Madness, I predicted (as a Duke fan) that Duke would win the championship. I could rationalize my reasons. I didn't get their competitor correct nor the score, but I did predict them to win. So we'll see how close I am with the NFL.
New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts
The New York Jets come into the game under-performing against their own standards. Mark Sanchez is a good, serviceable quarterback. But whether or not he is a true leader remains to be seen. I call him good and serviceable because he can be as bad as he is good. The Jets' success depends a lot on what kind of game Sanchez is having. As for the defense, they have slipped since last year. Revis Island has taken on some water apparently.
As for the Colts, this year also started looking like a disappointment. So many injuries exposed Peyton Manning to force throws he normally wouldn't have to. It made him look human and like an average NFL quarterback. But in a playoff game I want Peyton Manning under center.
Comparing the two teams, Indianapolis has the experience as a team and with their leader in Manning. Not to go further into the off field issues with the Jets, but it does affect their play. The drama becomes their culture. Playoffs need attention to every minor detail to avoid any mistakes.
Game prediction is Indianapolis 17, New York Jets 10
Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs are a young team. They have shown this year though that they can elevate their play and were determined to prove that they are a formidable team.
Baltimore Ravens are on the other side of the age factor. No one can disregard their defense. And offensively, quarterback Joe Flacco has plenty of playoff experience under his belt. He also benefits from that great defense. If Joe makes a rare mistake with an interception, he knows he can depend on the defense to get him back on the field.
My game prediction: Baltimore 21, Kansas City 13
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks
First, I honestly think this is disgraceful that a below .500 team can host a playoff game, much less make the playoffs. I don't care they won their division. Their division sucks. Can't sugarcoat that. They prohibited several other good teams from making the playoffs. They are only setting themselves up for an embarrassment. But the games are played for a reason. Every team, including the Seahawks, has a chance to win a game.
The New Orleans Saints couldn't live up to the hype that won them the Super Bowl last year. Injuries certainly contributed to that. But last year, they played "out of their minds". This year, they found it is hard to try to repeat. I still wouldn't bet against Drew Brees or Reggie Bush.
Game Prediction: New Orleans 24, Seattle 3
Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles
This, to me even disregarding my favorite team, is the best playoff matchup of Wild Card weekend.
I will start with Philadelphia. From the beginning of the season, it was ridiculous that Michael Vick wasn't the starter from game one. He (only my NFL fan opinion) is the MVP. He is more dangerous than a lot of other quarterbacks. He not only has proven he can throw a good pass but uses his running ability to its fullest. He is hard to contain. No NFL fan can forget DeSean Jackson's game winning return against the New York Giants. So the Eagles have many weapons and can be explosive.
The Packers have dealt with many injuries to starters throughout the year. The lack of any running game should be enough to eliminate a team from playoff contention. But the Packers have survived (even if barely). What they lack in the running game they more than make up in the passing game. There could be no better replacement for Brett Favre in Green Bay than Aaron Rodgers. The receiving corps of Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones and Jordy Nelson are lethal. And the defense isn't that bad either led by Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews.
This is going to be one heck of a good, grind it out football game that comes down to the last two minutes of the fourth quarter. And as long as the Packers don't allow DeSean Jackson in the last seconds to win it, my game prediction is: Green Bay 24, Philadelphia 21.
Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers may be favored in this game since it is played at home, they are the higher seed and they are Pittsburgh after all. No matter your opinion of Big Ben and his off field issues in the last couple years, he still is a dominant, BIG quarterback. Is there a defensive guy playing better than Troy Polamalu? Pittsburgh plays a very physical football game on both sides of the ball.
Indianapolis will come into the game with confidence though. Does Manning need any more confidence? The Colts can play close games and use that to their advantage.
Therefore, my game prediction is Indianapolis 28, Pittsburgh 24
Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots
Baltimore will need to play the perfect game. Even if the defense always has Flacco's back, they can't be put in that situation.
If there was a dominant team in the NFL, it would have to be New England Patriots. It can be argued who the best coaches are, but Bill Belichick certainly is up there. There is nothing I can say about Tom Brady that hasn't been said. I am not even a fan of his but wouldn't dare bet against him. That states the obvious. This game will feel like the Patriots lay a trap for the Ravens.
Game prediction is Baltimore 20, New England 34. The Ravens get their wings clipped.
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons
This game will be close throughout the entire game. Neither team's defense is very dominant. This game will go back and forth battling for first downs with everything their offenses can throw in. It won't be a pretty game to watch and won't be a shoot-out. Both Drew Brees and Matt Ryan have the capabilities to have shoot-out games, but in games like this the offenses will take a while before they start functioning.
Game prediction is New Orleans 14, Atlanta 17
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears
Oh, the Bears and the Packers. In their first meeting, the Packers lost that game with silly penalties. And those penalties seem to always occur when Jay Cutler threw interceptions.
Sorry to any Jay Cutler fans, but he is not an NFL quarterback. I don't think he can read a defense. He also gambles too much. And he doesn't win on most of those gambles. If Cutler throws 20 times in a game, 15 of those are good candidates for interceptions. Then throw in a good three fumbles. That leaves two good throws for possible touchdowns. Does anyone wonder why the Bears offense is almost non-existant? Look to the quarterback. Where they are dangerous is Matt Forte and Devin Hester. Their defense also is superb. Despite Jay Cutler and their "coach" Lovie Smith, they can win games with those three (Forte, Hester and defense). They also are on the receiving end of luck this year.
Getting into the playoffs and winning against Philadelphia will bolster the Packers. Aaron Rodgers doesn't need more motivation but certainly will have it. He can have spectacular plays as long as he doesn't revert back to holding the ball for too long. And he seems to have learned the word "slide" much better. There can be no better motivation to win a game for the Packers than to beat the Bears.
Game prediction is Green Bay 28, Chicago 23
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots
What a great matchup this will be. Manning versus Brady. I see this as a fairly high scoring game. The kind that almost makes the defenses obsolete.
Indianapolis 28, New England 34. The game will be to fun to watch and to analyze.
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons play great, dominant football in their dome. Matt Ryan does have ice in his veins and is sometimes overshadowed with the Mannings and Bradys in the NFL. This is another great quarterback matchup between Ryan and Rodgers. The defensive edge goes to the Packers in this.
This will be another fun game to watch and will be close for most of the game.
Game prediction: Green Bay 30, Atlanta 26
Superbowl; Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots
This game will be close through three quarters, then the better team will show up. The better quarterback will show why he is an MVP candidate and the better quarterback. The better coach will correctly call brilliant plays. The better defense will stop a potent offense. That will leave the trailing team with five minutes in the game to come back from behind.
Game prediction: Green Bay 20, New England 31