NFL Playoffs Predictions

by Pat Gunther

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With another NFL season in the books, it’s time to take a look at the playoffs. The NFL Playoffs are one of the most watched sporting events in America, and never disappoint. Whether it be the Saints magical run at the Super Bowl last year, or backup quarterback Jeff Hostetler leading the Giants to a Super Bowl victory in 1991, the NFL Playoffs are always full of surprises.

AFC Wild Card

Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Winner: Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens (12-4) come into the playoffs against a very inexperienced Kansas City (10-6) team. The Ravens star running back Ray Rice is coming off of a 1,220 rushing yard campaign, and looks to help spark a struggling Ravens offense. The bigger story though is the matchup between Kansas City’s running game and the Ravens tenacious defense. Jamaal Charles and co. will pose problems for the Ravens d as the Chiefs finished the season with the NFL’s top ranked rushing attack. Although nothing in the Playoffs is guaranteed, the Ravens will capture the win over an up-and-coming Chiefs team.

New York Jets vs. Indianapolis Colts

Winner: New York Jets

A rematch of the 2009 AFC Championship, the Jets and Colts are two of the most dynamic teams in football. The Colts (10-6) have struggled this season, but really turned it on the last four weeks of the season. After last season’s improbable post season run, Rex Ryan and the Jets (11-5) have been a relatively popular pick to make it to the Super Bowl. With off-season additions of Ladanian Tomlinson and Jason Taylor, the Jets are poised to make a post season run. Rex Ryan will capture his first victory over the Colts, and the Jets will avenge their 30-17 loss in last season’s AFC championship.

NFC Wild Card

New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks

Winner:  Seattle Seahawks

The Saints (11-5) are coming off of their best season in franchise history after winning their first Super Bowl and capturing the hearts of football fans everywhere. The Seahawks (7-9), however, are a completely different story. After beating the St. Louis Rams in week 17, the Seahawks became the first team in NFL history to make the playoffs with a losing record. Backup Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst took over the pivotal week 17, matchup, but this below average Seattle team has nothing New Orleans can’t handle.

The upset of the season came in the first week of the NFL playoffs as the Seahawks beat the defending champion Saints in a thrilling game. Running back Marshawn Lynch clinched the win with an absolutely incredible 67 yard touchdown run, propelling the Seahawks to the divisional round.

Green Bay Packers vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Winner: Green Bay Packers

The Packers (10-6) are coming off of a huge win against the Chicago Bears, in which they clinched a playoff berth. Aaron Rodgers and the potent Packers offense would have to win three games away from Lambeau Field in order to make it to the Super Bowl. The Eagles however, are one of the best teams in football with a new and improved Michael Vick. Vick is in the discussion for league MVP, and has returned better than ever after his fall from grace. The Packers are just hitting stride at the perfect time, and have the potential to win their first Super Bowl since 1996.

AFC Divisional

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens

Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers

An AFC Championship bid is on the line as Baltimore Ravens travel to Pittsburgh to face their division rival Steelers. In 2009, the Steelers (12-4) beat the Ravens (12-4) by a score of 23-14. The Ravens are coming off of an impressive win against Kansas City in which the tenacious Ravens defense forced five turnovers. Pittsburgh however has been off for one week, after an impressive regular season campaign. The Steelers ability to throw the ball downfield to wide receiver Mike Wallace, and run the ball effectively with Rashard Mendenhall will overwhelm the aging Ravens defense.

New England Patriots vs. New York Jets

Winner: New York Jets

Though both teams beat the other in the regular season, the Patriots (14-2) got the best of the Jets (11-5) on Monday night in Week 13. After an impressive win over the Colts, Mark Sanchez and the Jets looked like the team that many picked to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl prior to this season. Although Sanchez and company looked impressive over the Colts, the Patriots 45-3 shellacking of the Jets still lingers. When Tom Brady is in playoff mode, the Patriots are virtually unstoppable. The Jets will not make it out of this one unscathed, as the Patriots hold on for the win in a close game.

The Jets outplayed the Patriots in literally every aspect of the game and advanced to their second consecutive AFC Championship.

NFC Divisional

Atlanta Falcons vs. Green Bay Packers

Winner: Green Bay Packers

The Atlanta Falcons (13-3) have enjoyed their best season in years behind the incredible play of quarterback Matt Ryan. Ryan has solidified himself in the leagues upper echelon, and the Falcons passing attack can be deadly. The Green Bay Packers however, are coming off of a win against the Philadelphia Eagles and have the momentum. Look for Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson to connect for big plays due to the fact that Atlanta’s corners will key on wide receivers Greg Jennings and Donald Driver. When all is said and done, the Packers will pull away in a barn burner and advance to the NFC Championship for the first time in the Post-Favre era.

Chicago Bears vs. Seattle Seahawks

Winner: Chicago Bears

Earlier in the season, these two teams faced off in Chicago and Seattle won 23-20. The Bears however, will not let that happen again. The Bears need to prevent Seattle’s running game from getting in a groove, which should not be too difficult considering they had the league’s worst rushing attack in the regular season. Although Matt Hasselbeck and the Seahawks are finally turning it on, the Bears defense will present problems for an average offense. If Jay Cutler can remain patient and limit his turnovers, the Bears should move on to the NFC Championship.

AFC Championship

New York Jets vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers

The New York Jets have played great defense all season, as exhibited by their #3 ranking in total defense statistics. The same can be said for the Pittsburgh Steelers, whose physical defense and productive offense can be difficult to matchup against. With very similar numbers in total yards per game and rushing numbers, the Steelers and Jets make for an exciting contest. The game will likely come down to defensive play, where I give Troy Polamulu and the Steelers the edge.

NFC Championship

Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers

Winner: Green Bay Packers

These two teams met in Week 17 in Chicago, where the Packers captured the win in thrilling fashion. In order to make the playoffs, the Packers needed a win in Chicago and rose to the occasion. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense are playing too well right now to lose to a once great Bears defense. If Rodgers is patient with his receivers and does not force any throws, the Packers have an edge. In the end, I think Packers will come out of Soldier Field with a victory, and take on the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.

Super Bowl XLV

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Green Bay Packers

Winner: Green Bay Packers

Both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers have come off of fantastic seasons and are legitimate candidates to play in the Super Bowl. An ideal matchup of gritty defense versus prolific offense will make for one of the most entertaining Super Bowls in recent history. The rushing attack of Brandon Jackson and James Starks should help the Packers control the clock and give Aaron Rodgers ample time to put the ball in the end zone. The Packers would have to win 3 games away from home in order to make it to the Super Bowl while the Steelers would only have to win 1. The adversity Green Bay faces in the playoffs will only make them stronger, and help Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers bring the Lombardi Trophy back to where it belongs: Green Bay, Wisconsin.

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One Response to “NFL Playoffs Predictions”

  1. LaMichael James Says:

    Wow dude, you picked every game right, it’s almost like you wrote the piece after you watched the games!


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