The offseason got off to a big start for the Broncos this week. There are plenty of opportunities to share your thoughts in some of the other blogs and many of you have already done that.
As for me, I’m going to focus on the playoffs over the next few weeks. I’ll break down the upcoming games, make my predictions and hopefully get yours as well.
AFC WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
NEW YORK JETS 23, INDIANAPOLIS 20
The Colts are not what they used to be. Certainly injuries have played a part in that. And those injuries have put a serious dent into Indianapolis’ high-octane offense. Tight end Dallas Clark: out. Wide receiver Austin Collie: done. Running back Joseph Addai: Just coming back after missing half the season.
And the Colts expect to win a playoff game against the Jets? Come on. It won’t happen.
I’m not a huge fan of the Jets’ offense. Mark Sanchez hasn’t shown the ability to put the team on his back. And now his shoulder is, at least, sore.
But the Jets can run the ball, to the tune of 148.4 yards per game, fourth-highest in the NFL during the regular season. That will be a great match-up against the Colts’ porous run defense, which ranks 25th by surrendering 127 yards per game.
It just doesn’t add up for Indy. The Jets win on the road and move on.
BALTIMORE 17, KANSAS CITY 13
The Chiefs’ turnaround this year has been admirable. In fact, it has been down right impressive. But hold the phone just a minute. The Ravens are darn good. You don’t win 12 games by mistake.
While the Ravens’ defense has slipped some, it is still really good. They allow an average of 16.9 points per game (third-best in the NFL), 93.9 rushing yards per game (5th) and 318.9 yards of total offense per game (10th).
One can spin stats many different ways but no matter how you look at it, those are indicative of a top-notch defense. In my opinion, it is a defense that will be able to do enough to at least slow down the NFL’s best rushing attack. Kansas City averages 164.2 yards per game on the ground.
As tough as it is to face the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, the Ravens won’t be intimidated. This is their type of game. The Ravens get it done but it won’t be a work of art.
NFC WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
NEW ORLEANS 37, SEATTLE 6
Really, is there any analysis needed of this game? For a road team, the Saints get the best playoff draw in the history of the NFL. We’ll hear the Saints offer up their best Lou Holtz speech about how dangerous the Seahawks are.
Don’t believe a word of it.
The Seahawks are bad. They have a bad record in a horrendous division. 7-9 in the NFL West? For that, the Seahawks get to host a playoff game. Enjoy it while it lasts, because it won’t be for long.
One and done for the Seabirds. The Saints march on. Expect it to get ugly. Really ugly.
GREEN BAY 30, PHILADELPHIA 24
This is an intriguing first round match-up. Green Bay won the regular season meeting, 27-20, at Lincoln Financial Field. I know, that was way back on September 12, the first game of the year.
I go back and forth on this one. On the one hand, I love the Packers’ offense. With quarterback Aaron Rodgers back, the Packers are a threat to go deep into the postseason, even though the running game is somewhat suspect.
On the other hand, I like the playmaking ability of Eagles’ quarterback Michael Vick, even though he is coming off a game against the Vikings in week 16 in which he lost two fumbles, threw an interception and was sacked six times.
Defensively, both teams have been at least solid, with moments of great play and moments to forget.
In a close match-up such as this, I’ll take the better quarterback. That would be Aaron Rodgers of the Packers. The Pack Attack is back, at least for the first round of the playoffs.
I know, I’m going out on a limb by taking all four road teams to win this week. I think, however, the road teams are the better teams. And the better team usually wins in the playoffs.
What are your predictions? I’d love to have you share them. Thanks for reading and enjoy the games this weekend.
Tags: 2011, Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Mike Rice, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, NFL playoffs, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks, Wild Card Weekend