Reporting Scott Garceau
Win or go home. Advance and move a step closer to Dallas and Super Bowl XLV or lose and get ready for the lock-out. In the ever-changing NFL landscape 6 of the 8 divisions have new winners from a year ago, and 5 of the 12 playoff teams didn’t make it last year. Looking at this weekends games it’s possible that home field won’t mean much. I have 3 road teams winning and wouldn’t be shocked if all 4 won. My picks 1-4 with most confident 1 and toughest pick 4.
1.New Orleans (11-5) at Seattle (7-9) Saturday, 4:30, NBC
Seattle has a great 12th man with their loud crowd at Quest Field, but it’s the first 11 that scare me and earned them the dubious honor of being the first division winner with a losing record. Matt Hasselback gets the start for Seattle. On the other side it’s Drew Brees. The Saints QB has completed 67% of his post season passes an NFL record. His playoff passer rating of 103.7 is second all-time to Hall of Famer Bart Starr. Can Seattle win this home game? It’s not impossible but it won’t happen. 31-17 Saints
2. NY Jets (11-5) at Indianapolis (10-6) Saturday, 8:00, NBC
This is a rematch of last years AFC Championship game, the Colts won that one 30-17. The Jets were a popular pick to get to the Super Bowl coming into the season but I never bought into it. The key in this game will be the Jets ability to get pressure on Peyton Manning. Rex Ryan is among the best at drawing it up and Manning is great at beating it. The Colts may not be as good as last year but I can’t see Manning losing to Mark Sanchez under the home dome. The Colts in the playoffs for the 9th straight year advance 24-17.
3. Baltimore (12-4) at Kansas City (10-6) Sunday, 1:00, CBS
Does it feel like the Ravens have won 4 straight and 6 of their last 7? Probably not if you’re picking up phone calls on 105.7 The Fan. While many Raven fans fuss with the way their team is winning the Kansas City fans are thrilled that their Chiefs are winning. The Chiefs set a record this season going from “worst to first” it’s a record 8th straight year an NFL team has flipped that script. The key match-up in this game will be the Ravens run defense against the Chiefs who lead the league in rushing. Jamal Charles is a legit star he ran for nearly 15-hundred yards this year averaging an incredible 6.38 yards per carry. The Ravens get an edge in experience and they’ve done it the last 2 years on the road. Ravens win 27-17.
4. Green Bay (10-6) at Philadelphia (10-6) Sunday, 4:30, Fox
Best game of the weekend IMO. These 2 met in week 1 in Philly the Packers won that one 27-20. The knocked QB Kevin Kolb out of the game and on that Sunday Michael Vick was re-born. Aaron Rodgers and Vick are the 2 top rated quarterbacks in the NFC and 2 of the most exciting players in the game. A good chess match here will be Andy Reid’s play calling against a Dom Capers defense that has been so good despite so many injuries. Can Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews Jr. stop Vick and the Eagles offense? No, but I think they can contain them enough to let the Packers passing game squeak out a win. Green Bay 27-24.