NFL Division Round Playoff Predictions: Saturday Games
This is a tale to behold. One team came into the season with a fantastic running game, and the other with no running game whatsoever. Over the course of the season, one has gained a pretty good, if not great running game, while the other has disappeared in the mist. Its amazing how much teams and players can change over the course of a season. OK. Green Bay has the offensive potential to catapult over the Seahawks, with Greg Jennings and Brett Favre as the two main guys.
However, Seattle has Matt Hasselbeck and a plethora of receivers to throw to. Granted, they are not as good as the Patriots receivers, they can still get the job done, and can be depended on to not drop passes. However, the playoffs are defined by the running game, which will open up the play action pass. Green Bay has the running game with the emergence of Ryan Grant, and expect many run plays as the Seahawk secondary is one of the best in the game. I give this to Green Bay because of the run game.
Obviously, this goes to the Seahawks. This team has one of the better secondaries in the NFL. However, they will have a harder job than the Packer D because the Packers actually have a running game. If Marcus Trufant can shut down Greg Jennings, this defense is set to go. If Grant can provide a good pass rush along with the rest of the Dline, expect more turnovers as Brett Favre is a gunslinger, and is not afraid to throw into very small windows. The Packers D depends on whether or not Charles Woodson can be healthy enough to play the game, and play it well.
Green Bay has a very good coverage team off of punts and kickoffs. Don't be surprise if Nate Burleson is limited in his yardage on Special Teams. Again, I give home field advantage in times like this. This might not be the 12th man stadium, but this Lambeau gets pretty loud, especially in this playoff scenario.
Mike Holmgren > Mike McCarthy. Holmgren has gone into Seattle three time before, and lost every single time, but by now, he should have a pretty good feel to how to play there. Also, Holmgren coached the Hawks to the Superbowl a couple years back, don't forget.
If Shaun Alexander delivers, the Packers are done. If Charles Woodson and the Packer secondary holds up, the Seahawks are done. Simple as that.
Packers by 7.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New England Patriots
Patriots. Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Donte Stallworth. The Jags have a nice offense themselves with Fred Taylor and the fast Maurice Jones-Drew. Don't be surprised if you see David Garrard running for more than 50 yds on Saturday, as the corners will be busy with Northcutt and Drew, and the LBers with Mr. Fred Taylor.
The Jags have a great secondary. If they can manage to shut down the passing game, the Patriots will have to rely on Laurence Maroney to pull them through. However, I don't really see that happening because the Pats simply have to much receiver fire power. Still, I give the D to the Jags.
Jacksonville. Maurice Jones-Drew is a beast on returns. If you didn't see the Pitt game, first return back to the one yard line:96 yds. However, home field might be a factor.
Coaching: Bill Belichick > Jack Del Rio. Can't argue with that. Belichick is great, even if he does film a team's defense.
Maurice Jones-Drew: if he can deliver, this is going to be a VERY good game.
Pats by 10.
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