2010 NFL Playoff Predictions: Minnesota Vikings Are Super Bowl Bound

Kevin Roberts@BreakingKevinSenior Writer IJanuary 8, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS - JANUARY 03:  Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates a touchdown in the second quarter against the New York Giants on January 3, 2010 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

If you missed our Wild Card preview (which has yet to be determined), go here . The outcome of those four games leads into this article, which dissects the eventual matchups and leads to a Super Bowl winner .

We didn't really take the time to make a pick for the Super Bowl back in the preseason, so what better time than the present?

Here's a look at the matchups that should follow the Wild Card round:

AFC

Divisional Round

Baltimore Ravens @ Indianapolis Colts

This game came down to the wire the last time these two teams met, and, like several other games the Ravens had and let slip away, Baltimore failed to win.

Still, it's worth noting that based on competitiveness alone, the Ravens would have had a realistic chance at going 15-1 in 2009, had a few plays (or kicks) gone their way.

It's hard to go against a Peyton Manning-led offense, especially when Baltimore's secondary is so vulnerable, but this is where the upsets start. Indy has been the top dog all season, but three straight weeks with their starters not playing a full game will hurt them more than it will help them.

Ray Lewis and the Ravens claimed that they were the team that "no one wanted to see in the playoffs." They might be right.

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Ravens 26, Colts 23

Cincinnati Bengals @ San Diego Chargers

We know how these two teams match up, and it's not likely to be pretty the second time around. Cincy couldn't even knock off the Chargers with the death of Chris Henry fresh in their minds as motivation.

However, there's a chance they simply had heavy hearts and that the Bengals' dedicated rush offense will take it strong to the Chargers' mediocre rush defense (20th in the league), while San Diego's 31st ranked rush offense may be put to the test if Cincinnati's strong pass defense can slow down Phillip Rivers and the pass attack.

While the formula exists for the Bengals to pull an upset, the Chargers are just too hot and Phillip Rivers is just too good.

Chargers 27, Bengals 21

AFC Championship

Baltimore Ravens @ San Diego Chargers

Baltimore was one of three teams that sent San Diego to the loss column this season, and while a huge win over the Colts will vault them into a realm of confidence they haven't been in since their Super Bowl days, the Chargers are too hot, and will likely be out for a little revenge.

The Ravens have the rushing attack to run all over San Diego, but their passing game is a bit too inconsistent to trust against Eric Weddle and a stout Chargers pass defense.

The Chargers' ground game will likely never get going against the Ravens' stingy run defense, but Phillip Rivers has a good chance to stay hot against a sketchy Baltimore secondary.

It just wouldn't be the NFL Playoffs if a Wild Card team didn't make it this far. Regardless, San Diego survives, and gets to its first Super Bowl in over 15 years.

Chargers 31, Ravens 24

NFC

Divisional Round

Arizona Cardinals @ New Orleans Saints

Everyone in Wisconsin believes "without a doubt" that Arizona is done in the first round, but the new-age NFL Playoffs is about advantageous defense and offenses that can stretch the field.

The Cardinals aren't absent of flaws, but their passing game is way too potent to bet against, especially with their hot playoff run and Super Bowl appearance last season in their favor.

The Saints have dropped three straight, have zero momentum, recently lost Charles Grant, and haven't experienced a win in four weeks. Unfortunately for all the "Who Dat?" supporters, that drought goes to five.

Cardinals 34, Saints 31

Dallas Cowboys @ Minnesota Vikings

Tony Romo and the Cowboys have won three straight, pitched two consecutive shutouts to end the regular season, and after sweeping the Eagles (3-0) by beating them in the first round, they'll be on top of the world.

However, Brett Favre and the Vikings just got their offensive mojo back, while the Minnesota defense showed signs of life in Week 17, as well.

If Antoine Winfield and Pat Williams are a "full go" after a week of rest, the Vikings' defense could give Romo fits all day, while stifling the Cowboys seventh ranked rushing attack.

Brett Favre didn't come all the way back to be one and done in the playoffs.

Vikings 30, Cowboys 17

NFC Championship

Arizona Cardinals @ Minnesota Vikings

This game puts the Cardinals into back-to-back NFC Championship games, giving them elite standing as a consistent team and a true Super Bowl threat.

In the first meeting between these two teams, the Cardinals blew the Vikings out of the water after halftime, and Favre and the Vikings looked completely lost.

However, there's no arguing that Minnesota is a completely different machine at home (8-0), whereas they've had all their trouble on the road (4-4).

Arizona will have no trouble slugging it out and staying in the game with their array of weapons in the passing game, but the Vikings simply don't give up much on their home field.

That, and Brett Favre has had a passer rating under 100 inside the dome just twice all season.

Vikings 37, Cardinals 24

Super Bowl

Minnesota Vikings @ San Diego Chargers

The hottest team in the league will go up against one of the most experienced and most balanced teams in the league.

Brett Favre and Co. could have early troubles against a stingy pass defense, but as long as the passing offense moves the ball, this could actually end up being all about Adrian Peterson.

The Chargers can't really run the ball on anybody (31st in rush offense), while the Vikings generally stop just about everybody against the run when healthy (2nd in NFL ).

Brett Favre helped Minnesota get here, and he'll likely still be a big part of the game, but Minnesota's plan of attack is to set up Adrian Peterson by moving the ball through the air. If that strategy even remotely works, Peterson could have a field day against a very average San Diego run defense.

You can't count out Phillip Rivers until the very end, however, and considering his team will have pulled off a winning streak of 13 straight games to get to this point, it'll be hard to bet against the Chargers.

Still, it looks like a real possibility that Minnesota gets its first Super Bowl in five tries.

Vikings 27, Chargers 24

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