Well, it's that great time of year again where the Packers are in the playoffs. I really wish that we weren't playing the Vikings or playing this weekend at all, but maybe that's what is better for us since byes haven't really worked out so great for people so far. Well let's take a look at each team that is in and how they have done so far this season.
NFC 1. Atlanta Falcons (13-3)
The Falcons were undefeated the longest on the season before they lost to the New Orleans Saints. During their undefeated run they beat both of the playoff teams they played this season, the Washington Redskins (24-17) and the Denver Broncos (27-21). This might be the year that Matt Ryan can finally win a playoff game, because every time he has lost to a team going to the Super Bowl (Cardinals, Packers, Giants). I honestly think that it is going to come down to a matchup game for them, and it remains to be seen if they can stay up with a playoff team at this time in the season.
AFC 1. Denver Broncos (13-3)
We all know the story of their offseason, they traded Tim Tebow to the Jets (how is that working for you Jets fans?) and they had signed Peyton Manning. Manning simply looks like his old self, plays in much more difficult conditions (who wants to go play in mile high to get rid of Manning?) And the Broncos haven't lost since week 5. Granted that was the toughest part of their schedule. They are 2-3 against playoff teams this season with losses to the Falcons (21-27), Texans (25-31), and Patriots (21-31) and wins over the Bengals (31-23) and Ravens (34-17). Broncos are certainly hot at the right time of the year.
NFC 2. San Fransisco 49ers (11-4-1)
The 49ers have had an extremely interesting season, with Alex Smith getting hurt and Harbaugh deciding to play Kaepernick the rest of the year. A move that could pay great dividends. Despite their overall great record, the 49ers were just a puzzling team to me this year, seeming to have inconsistent play. The 49ers went 3-2 against playoff teams with wins against the Packers (30-22), Seahawks (13-6), and Patriots (41-34). Their losses were to the Vikings (24-13) and Seahawks (42-13). I think that they will have difficulty in the playoffs, and I hope that they play the Packers next weekend and promptly get eliminated.
AFC 2. New England Patriots (12-4)
The Patriots have not been their usually selves this season. Usually they are unstoppable in December, but they lost to the 49ers at home this year. Their ground game has been better than normal, and they did just get Gronkowski back from an injury, which makes all of their fans about 30x happier. The Patriots are only 3-3 against playoff teams this year. Wins coming over the Broncos (31-21), Colts (59-24), and Texans (42-14), and with losses to the Ravens (30-31), Seahawks (23-24), and 49ers (34-41). If there is anything to be seen in those scores, it is that the Patriots have struggled in close games against teams with a strong defense. They need to hope to keep blowing out their opposition in the postseason.
Wild Card Games:
Bengals (10-6) at Texans (12-4) 4:30 PM EST on NBC.
Most of the season people have been talking about how the Texans are the best team in football. Meanwhile, the Texans have dropped 3 of their last 4 games. The Bengals have also won 6 of their last 7. I think that there is a great chance for the Bengals to win this game, which is quite a high respect for the Bengals considering I picked the Texans to go to the Super Bowl before the season started. I just cannot continue to pick the Texans because Matt Schaub looks worse than he did last season. I don't know if they hid his injury through their great rushing attack this year or what. But I am going to pick a ginger and say that Andy Dalton and the Bengals get an upset win in Houston (34-21). (If the Bengals win they play the Broncos, Texans win they play the Patriots).
Vikings (10-6) at Packers (11-5) 8 PM EST on NBC.
There are a lot of things I can say about the Packers this season. We have played well through injuries. We have gotten a lot of experience for our younger players, which is great. That being said, Adrian Peterson is the NFL MVP (IMO), he came back from his ACL tear and tore up the NFL this season. I live in Oklahoma so everyone here loves Peterson and a lot of them even cheer for the Vikings because of him, and because the regional team is Dallas, and who wants to cheer for them. That being said I think the key to this 3rd meeting between our teams is the turnover battle. The Packers forced 2 turnovers in the first game with interceptions by Ponder and that was the last game the Vikings have lost. Vikings protected the ball better and didn't allow a single turnover yesterday, although I believe that Peterson non-fumble was an incredibly close call. Truthfully I think the Packers win a tight game 31-27.
Colts (11-5) at Ravens (10-6) 1 PM EST on CBS
#ChuckStrong. I really have enjoyed the Colts this season and everything that has happened with Chuck Pagano, except for when they beat the Packers in week 5. But I think they will beat the Ravens and I'm not terribly convinced that it will be too close. Ravens just haven't been themselves this year. Their defense isn't as good, Flacco is still inconsistent. I think Andrew Luck leads them to a playoff win in his first season, and based on his td pass to TY Hilton yesterday, probably deserves to be the ROY. Colts win 34-17.
Seahawks (11-5) at Redskins (10-6) 4:30 PM EST on FOX
This is the most excited I have been for a wild card game in quite some time. RG3 and Russel Wilson. If this game was in the state of Washington, I wouldn't even give the Redskins a shot. But there is no way I am picking against the Seahawks, even with the Redskins winning their last 7 games to win the NFC East. Lynch is running strong, their defense is playing great. I just think that they have a defense that can shut down RG3 and Alfred Morris. Seahawks win 41-20.
If these picks are correct then in 2 weeks we will see
Packers @ 49ers
Seahawks @ Falcons
Colts @ Patriots
Bengals @ Broncos
Thanks for reading this and I hope you have a Happy New Year. Go Pack Go!!