NFL Playoffs 2011: Second-Round Predictions

MJ Kasprzak@BayAreaCheezhedSenior Writer IIJanuary 14, 2011

Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it and remove all doubt (Mark Twain)
Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it and remove all doubt (Mark Twain)Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Okay, okay. In my first round predictions, I went just 1-3, getting only the Baltimore Ravens over the Kansas City Chiefs right.

But can anyone prove they picked the Seattle Seahawks? And if you did, you were lucky, not good.

I can chalk up my reticence to pick Green Bay as compensation for my Cheesehead bias. That leaves the Colts and Jets, which was won in the final seconds because a coach was dumb enough to help the opposition with a timeout to regroup and get closer for the game-winning kick.

(Jim Caldwell's explanation was as bad as his action: "We were going to make them run as many plays as possible." Wait...what? How does that help you? Did you think they were going to turn it over?)

But enough of the excuses. It is time to see if I can do better with this week's picks...

Ravens vs. Steelers

We have all seen how even these teams are ad nauseum: Both have scored 302 points in the last 17 contests and gained virtually identical yards, with the Steelers coming out with one extra victory in one extra home game. Both teams won on the other's home field this year.

But the Steelers lost without Ben Roethlisberger, their defense has been playing better all season (the Ravens have given up a lot of points) and they are not wasting their energy talking smack before the game. This will be a close, hard-hitting affair, but the home team wins.

Packers vs. Falcons

Click this link to to see a full preview and prediction of this contest.

Seahawks vs. Bears

Seattle won last week for a few reasons: Matt Hasselbeck had a great game, the Saints' intensity fell after taking a 10-0 lead and the "12th man" is one of the greatest home field advantages in the NFL. 

Seattle only won two road games all year, and while one of them was in Chicago, the Bears were not the same team then. Chicago can lose this game in two ways: Jay Cutler chooses this as one of his terrible performances of the season (he will have one more at some point), or the Bears line—the worst in the league in sacks yielded and runs for loss—plays as badly as it can.

But most likely, the Seahawks lack the talent to make either happen.

Jets vs. Patriots

If you were taking on the bully who humiliated you a few weeks ago, would you talk smack?

Of course not. But the Jets cannot help themselves.

How often can Rex Ryan continue to lean on the "it's personal" cliche?

If it really is about coaching, Rex, you are a goner. If it is about quarterbacks, like many think, you are a goner.

There is not a more cutthroat coach and quarterback in this league, and you are giving them bulletin board material. The Patriots will not crush the Jets like their last contest, but they will double them up, 34-17.