Wednesday, January 6, 2010
NFL Football- Playoff Previews & Forecasts
Back in early September, this blog site picked the San Diego Chargers to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 44 in Miami.
Now the playoffs are here and it's a possibility. However, when the playoffs start, we can all expect the unexpected.
Evidenced by the Arizona Cardinals nearly winning the Super Bowl last year against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Two years ago, the New York Giants shocked the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. The Indianapolis Colts essentially came from nowhere to win Super Bowl 41 over the Chicago Bears.
So recent history dictates that anything is possible once the playoffs begin.
This Saturday, the Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) will host the New York Jets (9-7) and the Philadelphia Eagles (11-5) are at the Dallas Cowboys (11-5). Sunday's wild card games feature the Baltimore Ravens (9-7) at New England Patriots (10-6) and the Green Bay Packers (11-5) at Arizona Cardinals (10-6) to conclude the opening round.
The Bengals won the AFC North and despite losing to the Jets last Sunday 37-0, they are a slight favorite at home and will be ready for the Jets.
Quarterback Carson Palmer had a pretty solid season and Cedric Benson was among the top running backs in the league this year.
The Jets feature a solid defense and a rookie quarterback to go with Thomas Jones, who also was a solid runner this year for New York.
Baltimore has been playing consistent on both sides of the ball down the stretch and that got them a playoff game against Tom Brady & Co. in New England. The Ravens feature a steady running game and a defense that keeps them in games.
The Patriots have not been the dominant team may people thought they'd be with Brady returning this season.
The offense played respectable football, but the defense had too many letdowns this season and now wide receiver Wes Welker has been lost for the playoffs due to a knee injury.
The NFC games are rematches from last weekend and the Cardinals will be ready for Green Bay in the opening round.
Cardinals' quarterback Kurt Warner is ready to lead his team back to another Super Bowl following a 10-6 finish this year. With a solid passing game and a steady defense, the Cardinals are good but, this year no one is taking them too lightly as was the case a year ago.
The Packers have a "rookie" in quarterback Aaron Rodgers when it comes to playoff football and that could bite the Pack if the mistakes mount in a game and the defense is called upon to win the game.
The Eagles were flying high with a six game winning streak until they were shut out by Dallas last week and now they get a shot at redemption in the wild card round in Dallas.
Quarterback Donovan McNabb had another good season and has so many weapons to choose from on offense. DO NOT expect another shutout or bet down by Dallas this week against the Eagles.
Cowboys' quarterback Tony Romo has been steady and in December he actually played well and didn't make the bone head mistakes as in years' past.
The Dallas defense has been playing out of their minds, allowing just nine points a game during the month of December (including two straight shutouts to finish the season) and held the mighty New Orleans Saints to just 17 points in a win three weeks ago. If the defense continues to step it up and the running game continues to churn, the Cowboys have a shot to go a long way in the playoffs.
Here are the fearless forecasts for this week's games...
Saturday, January 9
New York Jets over Cincinnati
Philadelphia over Dallas
Sunday, January 10
Baltimore over New England
Arizona over Green Bay
FINAL REGULAR SEASON RECORD: 166-90