Thursday, January 07, 2010

NFL Playoff Wild Card Predictions

After 17 weeks we have reached the NFL post season. The second season of the NFL is always exciting, and considering that the last three Super Bowl Champions have come out of the Wild Card round of the playoffs, there is no way anyone can overlook the importance of this weekends games. In addition to extending a teams post season life, the Wild Card games also gives the gambling lovers another chance to enjoy some sweet action.

New York Jets vs. Cincinnati Bengals: This is a rematch of a game we saw last Sunday, a game the Jets need win to get into the playoffs, and in the end, they dominated. The Bengals organization would tell you they were resting players and that explains why they were decimated by the Jets. However, truth be told there were plenty of starters on the field Sunday night, and the Bengals simply were not able to get it done. Saturday, the teams are the same but the venue will be different and you can expect to see a different Cincinnati Bengals team.

Chad Ochocinco suffered an injury to his knee during pregame warm ups last week, but after MRI's he is cleared to play on Saturday. Also return for the Bengals are a bulk of their defensive starters who were out this past weekend to rest injuries. There is not doubt that a healthy Bengals defense will change the flow of the game, since they were gashed by Thomas Jones and company Sunday night.

For the Jets they showed themselves their key to victory last week. The Jets needs to control the ball, maintain possession, and avoid turn overs. The Jets have a rookie quarterback in Mark Sanchez who has shown moments of greatness, but he has a tendency to throw interceptions. When the Jets struggled through the mid point of the season, it was due to Sanchez's errors. On Sunday night the Jets minimized the turnovers but relying on their massive offensive line and a punishing rushing attack. If they want to experience success on Saturday night they need to stick to their running game. Commit to it early and stay with it, create 3rd and shorts for Sanchez.

The spread for this game is sitting at is sitting at -3 favoring the Cincinnati Bengals. One has to think the Bengals hosting a home playoff game has to help out their chances and I agree with the odds makers.

Winner: Cincinnati Bengals win the game and cover the 3.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys: Once again this is another rematch from last weekend. As a matter of fact this will be the third time the Cowboys and Eagles have faced each other this season. Dallas won the previous two match ups. On Sunday, Dallas dominated Philly with their running game. The best way to slow down the Donovan McNabb and the pass happy Eagles is to keep them on the sidelines. Dallas rushed for 179 yards Sunday, the Cowboys offensive line opened up gashing hole for all three of their backs to run through. This helped to ease the pressure on quarterback Tony Romo, and allowed him to really make his reads and find the open receivers.

The Philadelphia Eagles knew they were in the playoffs before last weeks game, but they did have the second seed available. This made the play of the Eagles somewhat surprising. On offense, the Eagles seemed out of sync. Speedster Desean Jackson was unable to break lose in the Dallas secondary. He must become a bigger factor in the Eagles offense if they want want a shot at success. The other change the Eagles will make heading into the Wild Card game will be dialing up their blitz packages. You can expect a very different Philadelphia Eagles defense.

The spread on this game is sitting at -4 favoring the Cowboys. That's kind of surprising considering that a week ago I can guarantee there is no way the Cowboys would be favored in this game. As mentioned above this is the third meeting between these teams this season, and it will prove to be very difficult for the Cowboys to defeat the Eagles three times in a single season, but it can be done.

Winner: Dallas Cowboys win, and struggle to cover the 4.

Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots:
Someone the Patriots managed to wriggle their way into the post season. However, this is not the same New England team that has dominated the NFL for the better part of the last decade. The current Patriots team has a weak defense that will give up points when pressured. Perhaps the biggest issue the Patriots will face going into Sunday's game will be replace the production of Wes Welker who went out last weekend with a tore ACL. There is no doubt his production will be missed, this has been proven in previous weeks where Welker was out and Tom Brady struggled.

The Baltimore Ravens didn't make it easy but they found their way into the post season after nearly letting the playoffs slip through their hands literally. The Ravens always have their stout defense. And while this years team has shown their age they are still a dangerous squad. On the offensive side of the ball, the receivers have proven to be the issue. Their inability to get open, and the dropped passes have cost the Ravens far too much this season.

The spread is sitting at 3.5 points and favors New England. As much as I'd love to Baltimore come up with a big win and advance they will have their hands full even with a gimpy New England Patriots team.

Winner: New England Patriots win the game and cover the spread.

Arizona Cardinals vs. Green Bay Packers:
This is the third week 17 rematch on the weekend, and like the previous two match ups, this one was a blowout when the two teams squared off in week 17. The Green Bay Packers dominated the Cardinals last weekend. For what it's worth Aaron Rogers has grown into one heck of a quarterback and he put up some great statistics this season. Green Bay also showcases a great young linebacking core that creates havoc on the field.

The Arizona Cardinals were the darling of the NFL season when they clawed their way to the Super Bowl. Thanks to a very weak NFC West, the Cardinals find themselves in very familiar territory. Kurt Warner has the usual cast of characters around him and as always they are very explosive.

The spread on this game is just 1 points and favors the home Cardinals. The Cardinals are a good team, and they destroyed the Vikings a few weeks ago on Sunday night. However, I do not believe that last Sunday's performance by the Packers was a fluke.

Winner: Green Bay Packers win the game and cover the spread.


LDUTheCoach said...

I agree with all your picks but the Patriots.. nooo way will they win, the loss of Wes Welker will hurt them WAYYYY to much!

Best of luck

Feel free to check out my picks @


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