NFL Playoffs: Round-One Predections

david wellsContributor IJanuary 1, 2009

NFL Playoff Predictions



Chargers (8-8) vs. Colts (12-4)

Regular Season Matchup: Colts 23 @ Chargers 20

There is a lot of emotion riding in this game the Colts started the year (3-4) winners of nine straight games & the Chargers, winners of four straight being, the only franchise ever to make the playoffs after starting (4-8) taking advantage & exposing of a very weak division.

Both teams are on a tear right now. The Colts led by Peyton Manning throwing for 4,002 yards, 27 TDs & 12 INTs. The Colts have the 31st rush offense in the league which could boast a problem for them down the road in the playoffs.

The Chargers were an early favorite to win the Super Bowl & some could say a disappointing season for the Chargers, but they are ready to make some noise, led by one of the most efficient passers in the NFL this season (105.5 passer rating).

Phillip Rivers threw for 4,009 yards, 34 TD's & 11 INT's. They also had a 1,000-yard rusher in Tomlinson this season, more than the Colts can say. 

WR Vincent Jackson has been a nice surprise, but losing 2007 Defensive MVP Shawne Merriman to injury for the season hurt the Chargers. This game will be close & down to the wire. The Chargers will fight & give all they got but in the end the Colts will prevail & move on to round two. 

Prediction: Colts 34 @ Chargers 31


Dolphins (11-5) vs. Ravens (11-5)     

Regular Season Matchup: Ravens 27 @ Dolphins 14

This is one of the most interesting games of this weekend’s playoffs. The Dolphins were just (1-15) last season giving them a +10 win margin from last year tying the best turn around in NFL history.

Starting the year (2-4), it looked like the Dolphins would fall off the radar once again, but this team overcame adversity using the newly acquired Wildcat formation, lining up a RB at QB. Finishing the year (11-5) & winners of five straight, they took the AFC West in style with a win over Brett Favre's New York Jets. 

The Ravens will come into this game with arguably the best defense in the NFL, so the Dolphins better save the wildcat for another game. They can force turnovers seemingly at will & bring a lot of experience & leadership along the way. 

Led by rookie QB Joe Flacco who has came in the league surprising everyone with his wit, athleticism, & decision making. The Dolphins' D should give the rookie all he can handle & more in this matchup.

By mixing their blitzes in the 3-4 defense, they can bring many people. Including LOLB Joey Porter's 17.5 sacks on the year second in the NFL to only DeMarcus Ware's 20, but you can't forget the Ravens defense can bring the heat as well which is why I believe this playoff match up will be a defensive struggle. 

The one who can hit the hardest, who can bring the most emotion, who can force the most turnovers, kind of deal? This is why I give the Dolphins the edge I just think they want it more though, Ray Lewis of the Ravens can bring emotion to any defense.

Prediction: Ravens 17 @ Dolphins 19 




Cardinals (9-7) vs. Falcons (11-5)

Regular Season Matchup: DNP

This matchup in my opinion is intriguing because the Falcons have turned a (4-12) season to a (11-5) season under a rookie head coach Mike Smith in just one year. Drama just flew all around this team for quite some time, some even thought they would never get out of the hole after Vick went to jail, but the signing of Michael “the burner” Turner LT’s backup in San Diego for three years, & the emergence of rookie QB Matt Ryan have things looking pretty good in Atlanta for years to come.

They come with a lot of passion, playing with heart & determination every time they step on the field, so why would the Falcons do anything different this time around? Not to downplay any of the Atlanta Falcon players but, Turner is the main reason for this team’s success, the NFL’s second leading rusher with 1699 yards & 17 TD’s.

The Cardinals however are currently in the playoffs for the first time since God knows when. Don’t sleep on the Cardinals though, they have a dynamic offense & if they can get that adrenaline flowing early in their favor, you may see the upset. The Cardinals are led by two time league MVP Kurt Warner & is the NFL’s second-leading passer in the NFL.

They also bring possibly the best tandem of receivers in the NFL former Heisman winner Larry Fitzgerald & Anquan Boldin both have been selected to the Pro Bowl, but their running game is more nonexistent than the Colts running game coming in at 32nd, making them the NFL’s worst rushing team.

Edgerrin James was their leading rusher with a pitiful 514 yards on 133 carries. The last time I checked it’s hard to win in the playoffs if you cannot run the ball at least somewhat successfully & don’t even get me started on the Cardinals Defense, we won’t even go there.

I’m sure you you’ve figured out who I think will win this match up, that’s right the Falcons will move on to round two in style.

Prediction: Falcons 38 @ Cardinals 24


Vikings (10-6) vs. Eagles (9-6-1)  

Regular Season Matchup: DNP

This game is a game of two teams that went up & down all season long, all season it was hard to tell where both these teams would end up. If they were contenders or pretenders, in the end proving they are contenders especially since the NFC is anybody’s game.

With the Eagles' head coach, Andy Reid, retiring at the end of the season, he could ask for nothing better but a chance to win the Super Bowl on his way out. The Eagles thrashing of the Dallas Cowboys 44-6 leaves the Eagles in great position to go into this game with a huge amount of confidence.

The Eagles played their best football when they put the ball in the hands of Brian Westbrook, but live by three important factors on Defense, hit hard, never quit, & force turnovers.

The defense really the only consistent thing about the Eagles this year, with McNabb & Westbrook on & off like light switches all season long, you never know whether your going to see mistake prone or efficient McNabb.

The Eagles can only hope they get efficient McNabb this Sunday, because if they don’t it could be a long day for the running game & the rest of the Eagles. The Vikings come in to this game not content with one QB, they are not sure whether Gus Frerotte or Tarvaris Jackson will lead the way, but are leaning towards Tarvaris Jackson because he just might be the spark they need to pull this thing out.

He’s been outstanding for the Vikings the last three games & you would be crazy to sit him now, with his confidence soaring through the roof.

The Vikes may have found their spark, but the guy that makes this team go is the NFL’s leading Rusher Adrian Peterson with 1760 yards, without him this offense would just not be. If the Vikings want to win they need to get him involved early & often, the Vikings will also try to stay away from screens because the Eagles defense is very fast & they can close in on you in a hurry. 

Vikings WR Bernard Berrian has been consistent all year with 964 yards on 48 receptions & seven TD’s, he averages 20.1 yards a catch giving the Vikings a big play threat on every throw. I believe this game will solely come down to that one huge defensive stop, who is it going to be?

I like this game, to be close but I will give the edge to the Eagles.  

Prediction: Eagles 29 @ Vikings 24 


Round Two coming soon...(after wild-card round).