2010 NFL Playoffs: Who Will Advance To the Conference Championship Games?
The 2010 NFL post season is in full swing. Last weekend, in the Wild Card games, the Seahawks shocked many people by upsetting the Saints at home, the Jets managed to knock off Peyton Manning and the Colts, the Ravens showed the world they are primed for a run after crushing the Chiefs, and the Packers won a close one against the Eagles.
As exciting as those games were (minus the Ravens-Chiefs game), this weekend's divisional games figure to be even more exciting. Featuring two of the best division rivalries in the AFC and two regular season rematches in the NFC (in which both lower seeds won), sparks are sure to fly.
Let's take a look at who I predict will win each game.
AFC Game 1: Ravens @ Steelers
This is one of the divison rivalries this weekend and the exact reason why this is called the divisional round.
These two teams have bad blood between them and split the regular season. However, the Ravens won their game at Hienz Field. Can they do it again?
The Ravens had to travel to Kansas City to play an inferior team that they mopped the floor with.
Anything can happen when division rivals play each other and this should be a low scoring affair considering the caliber of defenses these two teams bring to the table.
I liked what I saw from the Ravens last weekend. They look like they are ready to go all the way. The Steelers may have home field advantage, but it won't be enough.
Ravens 17, Steelers 14
NFC Game 1: Packers @ Falcons
This is a rematch of their regular season meeting, which Atlanta won by a field goal.
Atlanta is almost unstoppable at home with QB Matt Ryan under center and his outstanding WR Roddy White out wide. Add in the muscle, RB Micheal Turner, and this is an offense you don't want to mess with.
The Packers won't shy away. They just handled Mike Vick for the second time this season and are playing at a high level. They had to win their final two regular season games to even make the playoffs and then had to beat the Eagles in Philly.
Despite the long list of injuries and being the No. 6 seed, the Packers are the scariest team in the NFC right now. To top things off, it looks like they found their running game now with rookie RB James Starks, who rushed for 123 yards last weekend.
This is going to come down to Packers QB Aaron Rodgers versus Matt Ryan. I'll put my money on Rodgers, who has been playing as well as any other QB not named Tom Brady.
Packers 31, Falcons 17
NFC Game 2: Seahwaks @ Bears
This is another regular season rematch, which the Seahawks won.
They pulled off what some would call a small miracle last Saturday, beating the defending Super Bowl champion Saints as a 10.5 point underdog. Can they do it again against the Bears?
No. It's one thing to be at home in Seattle with the 12th Man. It's another to go to Chicago in the dead of winter against a hungry Bears team that no one has given enough credit this season.
Bears head coach Lovie Smith was looking at the exit door before the system started and now he has his team one win away from the NFC Championship Game.
If Bears QB Jay Cutler can avoid making costly mistakes, the Bears defense should be able to handle Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck and all he has to throw at them.
Bears 24, Seahawks 13
AFC Game 2: Jets @ Patriots
The final game of the weekend is also the most anticipated one.
These two division rivals clash for the third time this season. The Jets handed the Patriots a loss at home but were then crushed 45-3 at New England.
The Patriots have the best QB in the league, having one of the best seasons of his career, in Tom Brady. They have been so dominant all season, where as the Jets have had many close calls. Even their victory last weekend came down to a last second field goal.
Jets head coach Rex Ryan is not afraid to speak his mind and he has been going back and forth with Brady since after their game last Saturday. This is becoming a war of words and the mind games are in full effect.
I don't see the Patriots losing this game. They are just too good and they get to play at home on a weeks rest. The Jets will keep it a lot closer than the last time these two played but it won't be enough.
Patriots 31, Jets 21