Saturday, January 8, 2011

NFL wild card round preview

By Rick Morris

In our weekly FDH Dignitaries NFL Picks Contest here on the site during the season, at 24-25-2, I barely outlasted FDH Senior Producer Steve Cirvello at 22-29. My picks in every game were 122-128-8 and 9-6-2 in my “1,000-Star Gold Plated Lock of the Millennium” selections. My picks will continue through the playoffs.

For more analysis about the playoff teams, check out our top three factors for each team.

New Orleans -10 ½ over Seattle. Seattle struggles to stop the run and the pass and the Saints use Reggie Bush to keep defenses off-balance in both areas. Factor in the fact that the Seahawks are forced to find their QB for the playoff run in January as opposed to August (where the legitimate playoff teams figure these things out) and the most shameful playoff fraud in history goes down in flames even with Julius Jones lining up against them. New Orleans 34, Seattle 6.

New York Jets +2 ½ over Indianapolis. Even though the Jets’ pass rush has been uneven and able to be exploited by the likes of Peyton Manning, the Colts don’t have as solid of an offensive line right now and Manning will be working against a secondary that is much improved from last year’s AFC Championship Game. A real commitment to using the two-headed monster at running back has the potential to put Manning on the sidelines for long stretches as well, thus keeping the D fresh and disrupting the precious Colt offensive rhythm. This year, merely getting out of the first round will be an impressive feet errrrrrr feat for Rex Ryan. New York 24, Indianapolis 20.

Baltimore -3 over Kansas City. On a neutral field, it would be very hard to make a case for the Chiefs, but the conditions at Arrowhead seem to be leading most to consider this a close game. Kansas City has improved in many areas this season, but unfortunately for them, they drew a matchup where few of them are able to be exploited. Their toughness should keep them close, but Baltimore should be able to use their variety of offensive weapons to stay ahead throughout. Baltimore 24, Kansas City 16.

Philadelphia -2 ½ over Green Bay. The strengths and weaknesses of each team make this tilt so very fascinating. Offensively, Green Bay can’t run, but is awesome with the pass – and Philly struggles to contain that. The Eagles are strong on the ground and the Pack isn’t so great stopping that. Ultimately, it will be the much more varied Philadelphia offensive attack that comes out on top. Philadelphia 30, Green Bay 24.

Second-round predictions

Atlanta over New Orleans

New England over New York Jets

Pittsburgh over Baltimore

Philadelphia over Chicago

Championship Sunday predictions

New England over Pittsburgh

Atlanta over Philadelphia

Super Bowl prediction

New England 30, Atlanta 23

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