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Wild Card Weekend Preview and Predictions

By Dave Bruning

The NFL playoffs have arrived. It is a great time of year to be a football fan unless you root for the Denver Broncos! Enough wallowing in misery and pity! There’s always next year, John Elway is back and pro football is the easiest sport to reverse the fortunes of your team. Let’s analyze Wild Card Weekend and make some predictions.

New York Jets @ Indianapolis:

This is a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game. Peyton Manning vs. the Jets defense will determine the outcome of this game. The Jets defense is very good overall despite struggling in a few games. I think Peyton and the Colts will be too much in the end. The Colts are home on the fast track of Lucas Oil Field. Their running game is slowly returning to provide balance to the offense. I think Shonn Greene could have a big game for the Jets. Ultimately, the inexperience of Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez will cost New York the game. Jets head coach Rex Ryan has talked trash all year. Sometimes when you talk too much you put your foot in your mouth. Peyton Manning is the right man to insert that “foot” ball in Ryan’s mouth and end the Jets season 24-17.

New Orleans @ Seattle

On paper this is a mismatch. The defending Super Bowl champs are 10 point favorites on the road. Seattle is the first playoff team with a losing record. In fact, all 9 of their losses have been by 15+ points. I like New Orleans to win, but in a closer game than most people anticipate. Seattle is a difficult place to play. Their crowd is one of the loudest in the NFL. There is always the chance of rain, which would favor the Seahawks. The primary reason I think the game will be close is the Saints will struggle to run the ball. Their top two running backs, Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory, are out for the season. This leaves Reggie Bush to shoulder a heavy load. Bush could very well have a huge game. Ultimately, Drew Brees makes enough big plays to lead the Saints to a 27-20 victory.

Baltimore @ Kansas City

A very intriguing game here. Kansas City returns to the playoffs after an extended absence while Baltimore looks to make another deep playoff run. It's the Chiefs top ranked rushing offense vs. the Ravens vaunted defense. I expect this to be the hardest hitting game of the weekend. I like the Ravens defense to contain the Chiefs running attack, thereby also limiting the effectiveness of quarterback Matt Cassel and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. Young quarterbacks tend to make a couple of mistakes or poor decisions in playoff games. The inexperience of the Chiefs will show. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is also young, but has significant playoff experience under his belt and is an excellent game manager. I like Ravens running back Ray Rice to be the star of this game won by Baltimore 23-13.

Green Bay @ Philadelphia

The juicy match-up of the weekend. Green Bay managed to make the playoffs despite a rash of injuries that would have kept Hawkeye Pierce and MASH 4077 on their toes! Philadelphia rollicked in the resurrection of Michael Vick’s career and is a dangerous offensive football team. In a high scoring game the difference will be the Packer defense. They are aggressive and attack the football relentlessly. They held six of their regular season opponents to single digit points despite all the injuries. The Eagles are banged up on defense, especially at linebacker. Look for Aaron Rodgers to exploit this with 5 wide receiver sets and a ton of short throws. This will allow Green Bay to control time of possession and keep Vick and the big play offense of the Eagles on the sidelines. It will also set up a big play or two for Rodgers to find Greg Jennings or James Jones behind the Eagles secondary. The Packers win 34-24.

Football fans rejoice. The playoffs are here!


  1. Can't believe we agree on all four games. Only difference, I like the Saints to hang a thousand points on the SeaChicks.

  2. Great minds think alike my friend