The postseason is now set! The Eagles, whom I personally had left for dead with Kevin Kolb at the helm, have not only made it into the playoffs but won the NFC East. The AFC looks pretty much like it always does but the NFC is all new. After a decade of nearly consistently seeing at least 2 NFC East teams in the playoffs, the Eagles are now the lone representative and the balance of power in the conference appears to have shifted the the NFC South. Below are the breakdowns and my predictions:
Sat. Jan 8th 4:30PM (NBC) Saints @ Seahawks - This will be a good game for us football lovers. One might think that the defending champion Saints would have an easy time with the "somebody had to win the division" Seahawks who finished with a record of 7-9 but you might be wrong. While Seattle only made it across the finish line because...well San Francisco, St. Louis and Arizona might as well be peewee teams, the Saints have shown chinks in an otherwise platinum set of armor. Brees has been interception prone in spots where last year he was money and if for some reason the Seahawks show up and keep this game close, I wouldn't count them out to steal one. WHO DAT said DAT?
Sat. Jan 8th 8PM (NBC) Jets @ Colts - It's not Namath vs. Unitas but this could be the start of a new Colts vs Jets rivalry. Like the epic battles of the late 60's and early 70's between Unitas and Namath, Manning and Sanchez represent different eras and are both exceptional QB's. Back in the day it was Unitas representing an older, more experienced NFL player with close cropped hair and a mind for the game much like Peyton Manning today. Opposite Unitas was the fiery and shaggy cropped Namath who guaranteed wins and loved the ladies whom Sanchez reflects in many ways (minus the win prediction).
Sun. Jan. 9th 1PM (CBS) Ravens @ Chiefs - This is a game where luck may favor the home team. K.C. finished with a worse record than the Ravens but won their division. The Ravens have been barely above even on the road while K.C. is practically undefeated at Arrowhead this year. Flacco will have a devil of a time moving the ball against a stingy home D and the 11th man at Arrowhead could prove to be the final nail in the coffin.
Sun. Jan 9th 4:30PM (Fox) - Packers @ Eagles - Perhaps the scariest of possibilities for the Eagles is a game against the Pack with a healthy Aaron Rodgers at the helm. They'd already shown that the Giants could never have too big of a lead and there's little doubt that Tampa would have been dispatched easily. The only other scenario, a Bears visit to the Linc was equally to be avoided. C'est la vie as they say in France (which we may soon become if we don't get out of debt soon). The Birds have a few things going for them, Maclin, Jackson, Vick and McCoy have had a few more days to rest and recuperate which means a Birds team that has the 6th gear it was missing the last 2 games of the regular season. Additionally, the Pack is coming back to Philly, where I was privileged to see Freddy Mitchell's 4th and 26 catch in '04 and where the fans are, passionate about their Birds.
NFL Divisional Playoff Schedule
Saturday, January 15th
(To Be Determined) AT Pittsburgh Steelers – 4:30 PM ET on CBS
(To Be Determined) AT Atlanta Falcons – 8:00 PM on FOX
Sunday, January 16th(To Be Determined) AT Chicago Bears – 1:00 PM ET on FOX
(To Be Determined) AT New England Patriots – 4:30 PM ET on CBS
NFL Conference Championship Playoffs
Sunday, January 23rd
(To Be Determined) NFC AT (To Be Determined) NFC – 3:00 PM ET on FOX
(To Be Determined) AFC AT (To Be Determined) AFC – 6:30 PM ET on CBS
Super Bowl XLV ScheduleSunday, February 6th(To Be Determined – NFC Champions) VS. (To Be Determined – AFC Champions) – 6:30 PM on FOX
Saints 30 - Seahawks 17
Jets 24 - Colts 28
Ravens 21 - Chiefs 24
Eagles 34 - Packers 21
NFL Divisional Series
Colts @ Steelers - Colts 21 - Steelers 24
Saints @ Falcons - Saints 17 - Falcons 20
Eagles @ Bears - Eagles 28 - Bears 10
Ravens @ Patriots - Ravens 13 - Patriots 30
NFL Championship Series
Eagles @ Falcons - Eagles 33 - Falcons 17
Steelers @ Patriots - Steelers 14 - Patriots 24
Eagles vs Patriots (rematch of 2004) - Eagles 38 - Patriots 34
Let me know what you think of these predictions and if you disagree, fill in a blank differently.