NFL Playoff Predictions: What Teams Will Advance?

Michael DeSantis@@dtrain2495Senior Analyst IJanuary 6, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 24:  Wide receiver Braylon Edwards #17 of the New York Jets is tackled by Kelvin Hayden #26 of the Indianapolis Colts during the AFC Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 24, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The NFL Wild Card Round starts on Saturday, with two matchups Saturday and two on Sunday.  On Saturday, the Kansas City Chiefs host the Baltimore Ravens, and the New York Jets visit the Indianapolis Colts.  On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks will welcome the New Orleans Saints, and the Green Bay Packers will go to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles. 

Ravens at Chiefs

Baltimore will be playing in Kansas City on Saturday afternoon.  Baltimore is 12-4, and one of the Wild Card teams in the AFC, along with the Jets.  The Ravens were able to tie the Steelers for the AFC North.  But the Steelers won thanks to the division record.  The Chiefs are 10-6, and won the AFC West. 

The teams are about even in offense, but the Ravens are a better defensive team, and among the most pesky defense systems in the game.  Although the Chiefs have home field advantage and a 7-1 mark at home, the Ravens have a decent 5-3 mark on the road. 

The Ravens are the better team, so it will be interesting to see whether the Chiefs can fully utilize their home crowd.  The Ravens' playoff experience could also prove key.

Prediction: Ravens 24, Chiefs 21

Jets at Colts

The Jets will be visiting the Colts, a rematch of last year's AFC Championship, where the Colts defeated the Jets.  The Jets finished 11-5, and the Colts finished 10-6.  The Colts have a significantly stronger offense, while the Jets excel in defense.  The Colts have a pretty lousy defense, allowing 388 points, surprising for a team of that caliber.

The Jets running game and QB Mark Sanchez's strong play down the stretch could overpower them.  But it won't be easy, with opposing Peyton Manning, who has a lot of time in the pocket.  Even with the Colts' 6-2 home record, along with crowd advantage, the Jets still had a nifty 6-2 road record to match them. 

The Jets are also hungry to beat the Colts.  The Colts have also been fighting injuries to players such as TE Dallas Clark, DB Melvin Bullett and many others.  This will be another very close game.

Prediction: Jets 35, Colts 31

Saints at Seahawks

If you follow football even in the slightest, you'd know this is a total mismatch.  New Orleans, the defending Super Bowl champions with a decent 11-5 record, take on the lowly Seahawks with a 7-9 record.  The only reason the Seahawks made the playoffs was because they won the horrible NFC West. 

Led by QB Drew Brees, the match should be a breeze for the Saints.  Home-field advantage will probably not get Seattle very far in this game.

Prediction: Saints 38, Seahawks 14

Packers at Eagles

The Green Bay Packers will be taking on the Philadelphia Eagles in Philly.  Both teams hold a 10-6 record.  The Packers boast the second best defense in the league, only allowing 240 points, only behind the Steelers 237, while still putting up 388, with an offense led by Aaron Rodgers

Philadelphia's defense isn't much to boast for with 377 points against.  The Eagles have a heavy offense, with an astounding 439 points, only behind the Patriots and Chargers.  It will be a battle between the Eagles' Michael Vick-led offense, against the Packers defense. 

This will be another very close game, and home-field advantage may be the key here.  The Eagles are decent at home, 4-4.  The Packers aren't very good on the road however, at 3-5. 

Prediction: Eagles 24, Packers 20.