Let’s talk about the playoffs. The NFL’s final and best stretch of the season is about to begin. As been the case in recent seasons, it is unlikely that both or even one No. 1 seeded team will reach the Super Bowl.
We could have an all-Manning Super Bowl (Colts-Giants) or a Super Bowl with two teams that feature both rookie quarterbacks and rookie head coaches (Ravens-Falcons). Each team has it’s plusses and minuses regarding it’s potential to make it to the biggest stage.
Today, I will talk about the wildcard playoffs. Would you believe that all four wildcard teams are favored to win this weekend? Is Ed Hochuli refereeing this weekend? If so, where? And if so, it better not be in San Diego.
The Atlanta Falcons will run, pound the ball, do play action, and run the ball. Air Arizona has perhaps the best trio of wide receivers in the NFL and they are playing at home. In this game prior experience at the quarterback position may be a bit overrated.
Warner can be knocked, bumped, sacked, hurried, and rattled. Matt Ryan has Turner and Norwood to hand the ball. James and Hightower have mostly been insignificant players in the Cardinals offense. While both defenses are a bit suspect, Abraham may be the difference if he’s in Warner’s face all game.
The Silver Fox Forecast: Atlanta 30, Arizona 27
San Diego typically matches up well and defeats Indianapolis, particularly in the playoffs. The Colts are on a very hot winning streak, Peyton Manning is playing his A-game recently, and Indy is favored to win.
The Chargers finished the season strongly, Phillip Rivers is a strong team leader, and in the Broncos win to clinch the AFC West crown, the old LaDainian Tomlinson made an appearance but he got injured towards the end of the game.
This may be the toughest of the four wildcard games for me to pick.
Indianapolis' offense will be back at almost full strength if WR Marvin Harrison is finally ready, as expected. The Colts defensive will load up the box with eight to contain RB LT and force QB Phillip Rivers to win the game through the air.
Rivers may be without Pro Bowl TE Antonio Gates (toe) against a solid Colts secondary. San Diego has an advantage in the kicking game and are the home team.
The Silver Fox Forecast: San Diego 33, Indianapolis 30
The Baltimore-Miami wildcard game will be a throwback, defensive game, with more field goals than touchdowns, and with the turnover ration likely to tilt the outcome. Although the Ravens manhandled the Dolphins in their regular season meeting, that experience will benefit Miami.
Baltimore’s defense is limiting opponents to 15.3 points per game this season, and just 179.8 passing and 81.3 rushing yards per game.
The Dolphins have largely relied on keeping defenses off-balance with multiple formations and gadget plays, but those typically don’t work against the Ravens. This is a game of two wonderful turn around stories of the 2008 season.
The Silver Fox Forecast: Baltimore 20, Miami 16
The Philadelphia Eagles, a team who tied the Cincinnati Bengals and were trounced by the Baltimore Ravens, are in the playoffs. Playoffs? Are you talking about the playoffs? Damn right I am. And so are the Eagles and their fans. Fly eagles fly, they cheer.
Philly travels to Minnesota in the battle of inconsistent teams, making this pick a difficult task. The Westbrook versus Peterson matchup intrigues me. Which McNabb will show up?
This game also appears to be a throwback/defensive contest, with both clubs sporting strong defensive play and inconsistent offensive performances.
Expect Brad Childress to take the game out of Tarvaris Jackson’s hands, pound the ball, and rely on Peterson. Defensively, the Vikings will try to take Westbrook and Buckhalter out of the game and force McNabb to win the game.
McNabb has been fantastic over the past month of the season, but he has been turnover prone when Philadelphia have fallen behind in games this season.
The Silver Fox Forecast: Philadelphia 20, Minnesota 17
Quote of the Day:
Many people take no care of their money till they come nearly to the end of it, and others do just the same with their time.
Isaiah 43:16, 18-19 “This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”
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