NFL Playoff Bracket 2011: Complete Divisional Round Predictions

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IJanuary 10, 2011

NFL Playoff Bracket 2011: Complete Divisional Round Predictions

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    SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 08:  Running back Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks runs for a 67-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter as Darren Sharper #42 of the New Orleans Saints misses a tackle during the 2011 NFC wild-card playoff game at Qwest F
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    The NFL Playoffs are in full swing. There is one weekend down and three of four to go (depending on how you view Pro Bowl weekend).

    If you missed any of this weekend's action, you want to glimpse next weekends schedule or you just want to end the suspense now and find out who is going to win the Super Bowl: this is the slideshow for you.

    I am going to illuminate the 2011 playoffs past, present and future.

Seahawks Stun the Saints

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    SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 08:  Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck #8 of the Seattle Seahawks throws the ball in the second half against the New Orleans Saints during the 2011 NFC wild-card playoff game at Qwest Field on January 8, 2011 in Seattle, Washington.  (Phot
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    The Seahawks need to win the Super Bowl to get their record over .500. They are the first ever sub .500 team to make the playoffs and they just upset the defending Super Bowl Champions.

    Matt Hasselbeck shredded the Saints defense for four touchdowns and just one interception. The interception came on a dropped pass by his receiver on the Seahawks first play of the game. The Saints turned the turnover into points and they were up 10-0 early in the first quarter.

    The Seahawks took control from there. They punctuated the victory with a Marshawn Lynch run that is one of the greatest run in postseason history. Lynch broke eight tackles on his way to the endzone.

    Final: Seahawks 41 - Saints 36

Ryan Gets His Man

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 08:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts throws a pss under pressure against the New York Jets during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 8, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. T
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Rex Ryan made much of the fact that he had yet to beat all-world QB, Peyton Manning.

    As Adam Vinatieri split the uprights on a 50-yard field goal with a less than a minute left to give the Colts a 16-14 lead, it looked like Ryan was going to end up on the losing end to Manning once again.

    The Jets would not be denied, however. Antonio Cromartie set the Jets up with great field position and the Jets were able to get kicker, Nick Folk a relatively easy 32-yard field goal attempt for the victory. Folk drilled the kick as time expired and the Jets escaped with a victory.

    Final: Jets 17 - Colts 16

Cassel is Made of Sand

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 09:  A fan of the Kansas City Chiefs reacts in the stands as the Baltimore Ravens defeat the Chiefs 30-7 in the 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 9, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Doug Pen
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    The Chiefs took a 7-3 lead going into the second quarter on the strength of a 41-yard touchdown run by Jamaal Charles. That was as good as it got for the Kansas City Chiefs.

    The Ravens defense took the game over. The Chiefs ended with just 161 yards. Matt Cassel completed just nine passes for 70 yards and they had the ball for less then 19 minutes.

    The Ravens used a well-balanced attack to subdue the Chiefs. They ended with 40 carries for 142 yards as they easily dispatched the Chiefs.

    Final: Ravens 30 - Chiefs 7

Green Akers Is Not the Place to Be

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 09:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after a touchdown in the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 9, 2011 in Philad
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    The Packers jumped out to a 14-0 lead and never looked back. Aaron Rodgers threw for three touchdowns, but only had 180 yards. The 180 was enough though as the Packers were able to jump-start a struggling run game.

    They ended the day with 138 yards on 32 carries.

    The Eagles tried to mount a late comeback, but fell just short when Michael Vick had his pass to the endzone intercepted.

    Eagles fans will not be pointing their fingers at that interception. On a day that saw the Eagles fall by five, they missed two field goals by David Akers.

    Final: Packers 21 - Eagles 16

Third Time's a Charm: Baltimore at Pittsburgh

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    BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 05:  T.J. Houshmandzadeh #84 of the Baltimore Ravens holds onto the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter of the game at M&T Bank Stadium on December 5, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/
    Geoff Burke/Getty Images

    The Steelers and Ravens are set to match up for the third time in the 2010 season on Saturday, January 15. The Steelers and Ravens split their season match up with each team winning by three on the other's home field.

    As the close games indicate, these teams are evenly matched. This is going to be a great, hard hitting and well played contest. This one is coming down to the final moments and there is no one better in the game's closing minutes than Steelers QB, Ben Roethlisberger.

    Prediction: Steelers 21 - Ravens 20

Moving Indoors: Green Bay @ Atlanta

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    ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 28:  Thomas DeCoud #28 and William Moore #25 of the Atlanta Falcons tackle Brandon Jackson #32 of the Green Bay Packers at Georgia Dome on November 28, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Packers are on their way to Atlanta to take on the NFC's number one seeded Falcons. The Falcons claimed the first seed by being dominant at home. They finished the year 7-1 in their comfy dome.

    This game will be a rematch of a Week 12 contest that Atlanta won 20-17. The Packers are healthier now then they were then and they hope it can make up the three point difference.

    Look for the Packers to use their new-found running game to give them the push they need to take down the Falcons.

    Prediction: Packers 31 - Falcons 24

Cinderella Has Been Selected: Seattle @ Chicago

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    CHICAGO - OCTOBER 17: Israel Idonije #71 of the Chicago Bears hits Matt Hasselbeck #8 of the Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field on October 17, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Seahawks defeated the Bears 23-20. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Seahawks ride their improbably first round victory to the Windy City, to take on the waiting Chicago Bears.

    The Seahawks were a far different team when rookie LT, Russell Okung was healthy enough to play. This was never more apparent than in the Hawks-Bears Week six matchup that found the Seahawks leaving Chicago with a 23-20 victory.

    Okung was able to handle Julius Peppers most of the day without help. The Bears defense thrives on getting pressure on the QB and Matt Hasselbeck proved he can still pick apart a defense when he has time to throw. With Okung slowing down the Bears pass rush, the pumpkin will remain a carriage.

    Prediction Seahawks 24 - Bears 20

'Lex' Ryan Vs Superman: New York @ New England

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    FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 06:  Brad Smith #16 of the New York Jets is tackled by Danny Woodhead #39 and Matthew Slater #18 of the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 6, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Both of the AFC Divisional round matchups feature teams playing each other for the third time. The New York Jets travel to take on the New England Patriots in the final game of the Divisional Round.

    This matchup does not appear as evenly matched. The Jets beat the Patriots in their Week two contest, but the Patriots are not the same team and they demonstrated that in their Week 13 45-3 drubbing of the Jets.

    Rex Ryan can get in all the shots he wants at Tom Brady, but he can't come up with a game plan or fire up his team enough to make up that kind of difference.

    Prediction: Patriots 35 - Jets 20

Battle of the Underdogs: Green Bay @ Seattle

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    SEATTLE - AUGUST 21:  Defensive end C.J. Wilson #98 of the Green Bay Packers battles Jeff Byers #63 during the preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on August 21, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    In an improbable twist of scheduling the Seahawks, who finished the season 7-9, are going to host the NFC Championship game. That's the good news for the Seahawks.

    The bad news: The Packers can play pass defense. Aaron Rodgers is going to torch the Seahawk pass D much the same way Drew Brees just did. The Seahawks will not be able to put up 41 points in this contest. The Packers will carry their number six seed to the Super Bowl

    Prediction: Packers 35 - Seahawks 10

Battle of the Top Dogs: Pittsburgh @ New England

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 14:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers calls out signals against the New England Patriots during the game on November 14, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Once again the AFC will be represented by either the Steelers or the Patriots. This game will be a rematch of the Week 10 contest that saw the Patriots go into Pittsburgh defense for a 39-26 victory.

    The Patriots used a short, high percentage passing game to neutralize the Steelers pass rush and set-up the run. It was 17 more points than the Steelers allowed to any other opponent all season. It was a key moment for both teams. The Patriots used it as a springboard to their late season run and the Steelers used it as a chance to refocus and motivate their defense.

    You can expect the Steelers to have a better and more effective game plan for this contest, but it will not be enough.

    Prediction: Patriots 31 - Steelers 24

The Super Bowl: New England Vs Green Bay

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    FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 19:  Wide receiver Greg Jennings #85 of the Green Bay Packers scores a touchdown against the New England Patriots during the second quarter of the game at Gillette Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by E
    Elsa/Getty Images

    This game will be a rematch of a Week 15 contest that saw the Patriots narrowly escape with a victory on their home field, 31-27. They sealed the victory when they sacked Matt Flynn and forced a fumble on the Packers final drive.

    The Packers played that game without the services of the concussed, Aaron Rodgers. The Packers were able to run for over 100 yards on a Patriots' defense that was waiting for them to run the ball. Just the presence of Rodgers alone will force the Patriots to disperse some of their attention from the run.

    This Patriots team has the kind of unbeatable feel to them that the NFL hasn't seen since the Patriots last had that unbeatable aura in 2007. Just like that season, the Patriots are going to fall just short of their ultimate goal.

    Prediction: Packers 28 - Patriots 27

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