This past Saturday and Sunday was what NFL fans call Wildcard Weekend, where the four wildcard teams (teams that did not win their divisions but made the playoffs), squared off against four other teams that won their division, but did not earn a bye week, or a week off from playing.
On Saturday morning, I made the following picks on Twitter:
the 7-9 NFC West champion Seahawks over the world champion, 11-5 Saints: Why? As an NFL fan, I had a chance to regularly see the Aints in action. On Thanksgiving, they played against the Dallas Cowboys and barely won (if it wasn’t for a fumble by Roy Williams, different season, ugh). Well, that game, along with their Sunday night loss to the Steelers, I saw that they had consistently had a weakness in stopping the run just like they did last year. Only problem was that Seattle had an inconsistent but veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, and a terrible running attack. However, I noticed that Seattle’s offensive line had gotten healthier over the past several weeks, and would give Marshawn Lynch lots of running room, setting up big time passes for Hasselbeck. The end result was:
The New York Jets over the Indianapolis Colts: Now, I am not a Jets fan, I think they are arrogant, and ESPN gave them way too much coverage this season all because of location and expectations. So, it would have behooved me to pick the Colts right? Wrong! Predictions should not have to do with emotions. Take your heart out of it. I have learned my lesson from March Madness. Go with reason. So, here was what I thought: Peyton Manning does not have a good running game, and so he is going to have to throw against Revis Island, TCU alum Drew Coleman, and special teams/second corner Antonio Cromarty. I figured LaDanian Tomlinson would want some playoff redemption, and he did, by scoring two touchdowns versus the weak Indy run defense. In the end, Folk hero happened.
Baltimore Ravens over the Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs are unbelievable at home; a very impressive and fast running team, with a tenacious defense but an immobile quarterback. And that was the difference. Cassel could not move the ball versus the Baltimore defense (historically great, but so-so this season). The end result was a 30-7 whoopin’ behind the woodshed. Flacco just had too many weapons, especially Ray Rice, Todd Heap and Aquan Boldin.
The Green Bay Packers over the Philadelphia Eagles: I could have easily went with the Packers because they are part of my heart, I loved Reggie White, he was my hero. But at the same time, I could have picked Philly, in spite of my dread for them, because I like Mike Vick and what he did this season. Yet, after what DeMarcus Ware did to the Eagles’ O-line last week, I paused, and I believed that Green Bay had a better linebacker corps than the Cowboys, and a faster defense, especially at defensive back. That being said, using reason, I went with the Pack, and the game played out as I imagined.