Jets @ Colts
The 2010 AFC title game rematch should be much closer this time. Both teams are much weaker than last year, due to injuries and diminished rosters, but Peyton Manning is still the most feared QB in the league and Coach Rex Ryan still has the biggest mouth this side of Charles Barkley. The jets’ strongest edge is their running game, and they will stomp allover the Colts’ paltry front seven. If they establish the run, QB Sanchez will be free to run play-action fakes all day long. However, the Colts are at home and they seem a different team at Lucas Oil Stadium. If the Colts force Sanchez into 3rd and long situations, his confidence plummets quickly, and the pass rush will eat him alive.
The Jets have a sound defense, but they have trouble historically with Manning, and that goes double for their coach. Both teams will not have trouble scoring on each other, and I think Manning at home will pull this one out.
Colts 27, Jets 23
Saints @ Seahawks
The very fact that a 7-9 team is here and has homefield advantage over a 11-5 team is an insult to all common sense & clearly proves that the playoff seeding rules has to be tweaked. The Saints are forced to deal with a short week and a 2000 mile journey to a hostile stadium in Seattle, but in the end, their talent edge will prove to be too much. The game will turn into a blowout by the 3rd quarter. QB Brees already had his season high this year vs the Seahawks (382 yards, 4 TDs). If the Seahawks add more defensive backs to slow him down, the Saints will unleash RB Bush, much to his former coach Carrol’s chagrin.
Saints 35, Seahawks 13
Ravens @ Chiefs
Baltimore rolls into the playoffs with momentum, and is lucky to draw the inexperienced Chiefs instead of their nemesis, the Colts. Moreover, the Ravens’ RB Rice has resurged in recent weeks, and the Raiders just wrote the book on how to run on the Chiefs last weekend. The Ravens’ technicians along the front seven will slow down the Chiefs’ running game – provided they stay at home versus RB Charles and fill the gaps vs RB Jones. The Chiefs’ stout homefield advantage won’t affect the veteran Ravens much, and Cassel isn’t known for comeback wins. However, the Ravens have had trouble keeping QB Flacco upright recently, & the Chiefs have an excellent coordinator in Crennel. But that won’t matter, because the Chiefs have beaten exactly one good team the entire year.
Ravens 24, Chiefs 16
Packers @ Eagles
This is the most interesting match-up because both are led by Pro Bowl QBs and great playmakers and sturdy defenses. The Packers have a fleet of WRs, TEs and RBs who will see the ball short and deep. The Eagles’ defense is prone to giving up big plays, and they may be easy pickings for a couple scores.
QB Vick must be at 100% health to take full advantage of the overly aggressive Packers defense. His elusiveness will force the Packer pass rush to be extra cautious, but then again, Vick has had problems with the corner blitz in recent weeks. I would expect the Eagles to feed their electrifying RB McCoy, and keep the Packers D on its toes with strikes downfield to WR Jackson and Maclin. DB Charles Woodson must make plays or they’ll be burned.
Since Vick isn’t at full strength, and strangely enough, isn’t as effective at home as he is on the road, and the Eagles’ defense isn’t as strong as the Packers’ D, Packers steal this one. Packers 31-28