Thursday, 4 January 2007

NFL Playoffs Round 1 Predictions

Before we get to playoff predictions, let's take a look back to my season picking against the spread. Last week I went 7-9, which brought my record to 108-119-8 for the year. Now, I don't need you to tell me that sucks, because I know. Just horrible work for me in my debut season. I'm sure I'll be back next year, and I'll hope at least for .500. What an abomination.

So anyway, playoffs. I'll spare you my picks against the spread... and give you what I think the score will be, after a little section on what I think will happen. Because that's how I roll. But enough babbling.

(6) Kansas City Chiefs @ (3) Indianapolis Colts
This seems to be the trendy upset pick, and it's easy to see why. The Colts suck badly at defending the run, and the Chiefs have a guy named Larry Johnson, who's pretty good, and just so happened to set an NFL record for rushing attempts this season. Of the 4 teams that were 8-7 going into the final week of the season, I thought the Chiefs would be the team that the Colts would least like to face. That said, there are some things that give the Colts the edge here. One, if they stack the line (which they are sure to do), Trent Green has not been that good this year. 7 TD/9 INT, and they're not getting a whole lot of big plays out of the passing game. Second, this game is in Indianapolis, where the Colts are pretty good (8-0 good). Certainly the Chiefs will be able to put up points against a bad Colts defense, but I think Peyton Manning and the offense will be able to put up more. COLTS 34-27.

(5) New York Jets @ (4) New England Patriots
The Maestro vs. Man-genius, or so I've seen it called. And it really should be a fascinating coaching matchup, especially since (obviously) Belichick and Mangini know each other well. However, Belichick has rabbit in his hat that Mangini doesn't... Tom Brady. The two matchups between these teams have been so even... NE winning 24-17 and NYJ winning 17-14... that I doubt there will really be any surprises. With that being the case, I'll take Tom Brady at home in the playoffs. PATRIOTS 20-16.

(6) New York Giants @ (3) Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are not great at stopping the run, and that gives the Giants a chance here. We know what Tiki Barber can do, as he showed it with a phenomenal game last week against Washington. I suspect we'll also see Brandon Jacobs, the goal-line bruiser who's pretty nimble for his size. For the Eagles, you can't really complain about their offense right now... Westbrook is solid all-around, and Jeff Garcia has been excellent, especially at taking care of the ball with his 10/2 TD/INT ratio. Still, there's always upsets in the NFL (as this year has definitely taught us), and funny things happen when teams know each other well. Obviously a lot depends on if Eli Manning can play well, but I like the Giants, with all of their offensive weapons, to pull off the upset in Philly. Momentum be darned. GIANTS 27-23.

(5) Dallas Cowboys @ (4) Seattle Seahawks
Talk about an up-and-down season for the Cowboys. Things were ugly, then Tony Romo came in, Bill Parcells started kissing everybody, Tony Romo made the Pro Bowl based on a handful of starts, and all was right with America's team. Then Romo started to struggled, the defense started to struggle, and now the Cowboys limp into the playoffs at 9-7 on a 2-game losing streak and coming off a loss to lowly Detroit. Meanwhile, the Seahawks are sort of finding themselves again, especially now that Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander are back in the mix. Playing in Qwest Field, with the now porous Dallas secondary, I think the Seahawks will be able to take care of business. SEAHAWKS 31-21.

What are your picks for the games?