Saturday, January 8, 2011

NFL Wild-Card Weekend - Saturday Games

Through the regular season, Ryan and I had made picks on all the games on the slate.  The NFL playoffs are now here and we aim to bring about more insight and thoughts about each game.  Here we will also try to predict the score.  As always, you are free to place your picks in the comment thread.  Enjoy! 

Qwest Field
4:30 PM
NBC - Tom Hammond and Mike Mayock

Ryan’s Take: This game has the potential to be the worst game of the weekend. These two teams are not even close on talent level or performance this year. The Seahawks are the first team to win their division and make the playoffs with a losing record. The Seahawks also have one of the worst run defenses in football and they can’t run the ball either. It looks as though all the matchups in this game go towards the Saints, the injuries that have occurred with the running back position should scare people. Reggie Bush can’t be an every down back, but they will need that from him this week. Also, Drew Brees has made several uncharacteristic throws that have lead to throwing 22 picks this year. If Seattle can get pressure on him, they may get the turnovers they need to win this game. Saying all these things, I think that New Orleans goes into Seattle and beat the Seahawks by double digits.

New Orleans 35, Seattle 14.

Josh’s Take: This game is actually a little tougher to predict than a lot of people are saying. Yes, it is true that the host team is the worst team in NFL history to make the playoffs. Yes, the road team is the defending Super Bowl champion. You know what? None of that matters right now, as both teams are 0-0 heading into this game. All that being said, though, I do believe that New Orleans will win the game, but I do not believe they will run away with it. They are playing away from the comforts of the Superdome and Seattle will be pumped up to play. The Seahawks (and their fans) will make a lot of noise in this game and make it closer than the Saints would like. Nevertheless, the Saints have Drew Brees and a very efficient passing game that is more difficult to stop than a lot of other teams. Seattle needs to put up a lot of points to win, and while they will hold New Orleans to a lower amount than the Saints are used to, it won’t be enough the Seahawks are incapable of putting up over 21 points with their offense.

New Orleans 24, Seattle 17.

Lucas Oil Stadium
8 PM
NBC - Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth

Ryan’s Take: In my view, both of these teams are frauds. The Jets are a team that has a cocky coach, which has blinded people from what they actually are, a mediocre team with a mediocre QB. The Jets have the weapons on offense, but they don’t have the quarterback to run this offense. Their defense was good until Jim Leonhard was injured. Last year, they seemed to be able to get pressure on the quarterback constantly last year. This year, it has been an inconsistent pass rush. They will need it this week against Peyton and crew. The Colts have been an injury riddled team this year. They have had so many injuries this year you seemed to only know one player on the field this year for the Colts, Peyton Manning. The Colts have played well on offense, but the past couple of weeks it has been their defense that has dominant. They might have figured out the how to stop the run, which will be huge against the Jets with Shonn Greene and Ladainian Tomlinson. My prediction is that the Colts will continue their run defense dominance and win a tightly fought contest and advance to the divisional round.

Indianapolis 31, New York 28.

Josh’s Take: Last year, the Jets had the lead in the AFC Championship game and Peyton Manning led the Colts back, scoring 24 points that still have been unanswered. The Jets return to Indy looking for revenge and they find a banged up Colts team that has sent 17 men to IR this season. Both New York and Indianapolis have had an up and down season that looked on the verge of falling apart at various points. In this game, the Jets will have to deal with a two-pronged offense from the Colts, who have finally found their running attack – mostly because it has gotten its health back. Mark Sanchez may actually do better than thought in this game, because undoubtedly the roof at Lucas Oil Stadium will be closed. In the end, Peyton Manning is the difference in this game although the Colts barely escape with their lives and head to Pittsburgh for a rough showdown in the cold Pittsburgh weather.

Indianapolis 28, New York 27.

Check back tomorrow for the Sunday game previews.  -- J.L.

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