Baltimore @ Pittsburgh
N.Y Jets @ New England
Green Bay @ Atlanta
Seattle @ Chicago
We've had some good upsets and I will admit, in last weeks' predictions (not published) that I got three predictions wrong. The only one I got right was Baltimore beating Kansas City. But here are my predictions:
What a great matchup. It's always interesting whenever these two teams play. Baltimore won the first meeting with a comeback victory thanks to Joe Flacco, but lost the second meeting.
But the reason why?
Ben Roethlisberger didn't play, Charlie Batch played instead. Ben has a 7-4 career record against Baltimore and has only lost once at home to them.
Pittsburgh is actually my favorite to win the Super Bowl. Why? They know how to win in the playoffs. If I had a fantasy draft (for the playoffs) and Tom Brady was off the clock, I'd take Ben Roethlisberger. (I'm a Broncos fan. Not a Steelers fan.)
While I believe this game will also be very close, and the Steelers may have trouble against the Ravens' offense, I don't see Pittsburgh losing.
The Jets get a real test this week. After beating the Indianapolis Colts in Indy after a last second field goal, the Jets go to New England to play the 14-2 Patriots.
The Jets are the most overrated team in the NFL. They do have talent, but they always keep having comeback wins. They had one against my beloved Denver Broncos in Week 6, comeback from 10 down against the Lions, against the Texans and now against the Colts.
Also, did you notice whenever the defense has a great game the offense sucks? Just look:
Lost 10-9 to the Ravens Week 1.
Lost 9-0 to the Packers Week 8.
Lost 10-6 to the Dolphins Week 14.
Now they're facing a Patriots team who set an NFL record with only 10 turnovers in 2010 (and beat the Jets 45-3 Week 13) and Tom Brady, who only threw four interceptions.
Tell me. Who would you rather have as QB? A three-time Super Bowl champion (almost four-time) or Mark Sanchez?
Chicago was heavily favored to beat Seattle when they played in Week 6, but they lost. That "washed up" Matt Hasselbeck had a solid game throwing for 242 yards with a touchdown pass with no interceptions.
Jay Cutler has NEVER played in the playoffs. He never had a winning season before now. But Cutler wasn't too great this year (he didn't suck, but there are other QBs I'd take over him).
I don't think Cutler has the skills or experience (yet) to take the Bears to the NFC Championship game. Hasselbeck has great playoff experience and has dealt with injuries for the Seahawks for a couple of years now.
Seahawks win 20-17
I think this is going to be the closest game played this weekend. Both are great teams, very fierce and competitive, with good young quarterbacks as leaders.
Matt Ryan has a career 20-2 record at the Georgia Dome (with his only losses to the Denver Broncos his rookie year and the Saints this season)
Aaron Rodgers isn't the greatest in close games.
I'll take Atlanta, but I won't be surprised if Green Bay wins. I'll take the Falcons, because they're too good at home.