Thursday, January 6, 2011

2011 NFL Wild Card Weekend Predictions

Finally, after 17 weeks of warming up, the NFL is ready for the Big Show. There are tons of intriguing storylines that could be played out in the coming weeks, from a Michael Vick return to Atlanta in the NFC Championship to a rematch between the Patriots and Ravens. No matter how it all plays out, one thing is for sure, the NFL has the best playoff system of any professional sport.

I will continue to make my weekly NFL picks throughout the playoffs. While my picks during the regular season were against the spread, my playoff picks are made strictly based on who I think will win and do not take the spread into consideration.

Record Last Week: 10-6, .625
Final Regular Season Record (against the spread): 135-121, .527

Saturday Games:

Saints (11-5) @ Seahawks (7-9)
I'm not sure what the solution should be but it's an absolute joke that a 7-9 team made the playoffs and is the home team in the first round. I don't know if you need to have fewer divisions or make a rule where you have to have at least 8 wins but the NFL looks really bad when a team as terrible as the Seahawks is three wins away from the Super Bowl. That said, since they somehow play decent at home, I don't think this will be a 30 point blowout. Even terrible teams can show up on any given Sunday, so while the Saints will likely win this one by two touchdowns, they may not annihilate the Seahawks like everyone thinks. My pick: Saints

Jets (11-5) @ Colts (10-6)
On paper, this looks like a classic good defense vs. good offense game. Look a little closer at the Jets defense, however, and you notice the 45 points the Patriots racked up against them and even the 38 points they gave up against a mediocre Bears offense. So, while the Colts have their own issues, especially with their lack of depth that has been exposed due to injuries, this is a pretty good matchup for Indianapolis. Besides, when it comes down to picking Peyton Manning at home vs. Mark Sanchez on the road, what kind of sane person is going to pick against the Colts? My pick: Colts

Sunday Games:

Ravens (12-4) @ Chiefs (10-6)
This is the third straight game where the road team has a better record than the home team. Seriously, NFL, can't you just let all the teams qualify and then seed them all based on record? The Chiefs looked earmarked as a one and done team, especially after how poorly they looked last week against the Raiders. The Ravens aren't great in any one area but they are a good team nearly everywhere; with a defense that is weaker than it has been in recent years, they will need their offense to pick things up if they want to make a Super Bowl run. My pick: Ravens

Packers (10-6) @ Eagles (10-6)
Nearly every expert is picking the Packers, so why am I going with the Eagles? Is it simply because I'm a biased Philly sports fan? Perhaps, but I think the demise of Michael Vick has been greatly exaggerated. Just a few weeks ago, Vick was the toast of the NFL, drawing serious consideration for the MVP award as he led a dominant Eagles offense to great heights. Now, after one bad game against the Vikings where he got banged up early on, Vick has suddenly morphed back into his old self? I don't buy it. Sure, the league has started to figure out how to slow Vick down with speedy pass-rushers but the Eagles have had two weeks to scheme up a counter and they should be ready. With one of the best defenses in the league and a quarterback licking his chops to pick apart a weak Eagles secondary, the Packers present a difficult matchup for the Birds. However, they also have an offense that is incredibly one-dimensional and a defense that is quick but not quite quick enough to keep up with the Eagles weapons, so I think the Packers will fall just short. That is, unless Vick gets hurt. My pick: Eagles

Those are my picks for the first round of the NFL Playoffs. Check back every round for my playoff predictions. Feel free to discuss, argue or make your own picks in the comments section!


Shannon said...

I hope your record for last night's picks aren't any indication for today's outcome. Go Birds!

allthingsphilly said...

Me too!