So far, I’m off to a smashing start in post-season predictions — I managed to get the first two wrong. The New York Jets won a stunning last-second comeback victory over the Indianapolis Colts on the road, and the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks beat the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints at home, 41-36. Both games showed that anything can happen in the NFL when two teams meet, especially in the playoffs, and two of the best quarterbacks in the league get to see that happen from their living rooms the rest of the playoffs.
Let’s see if I can’t get back to even today with the final two games of what has been a wild wild-card round:
- Ravens at Chiefs – I’d love to see the Chiefs beat the Ravens, and it’s at least possible. Kansas City plays very tough at home, having only lost one game at home, but Baltimore is also 5-3 on the road. Neither team played its best ball coming down to the end of the season, either. However, Baltimore’s defense will almost certainly contain Matt Cassel and the KC running game, even if the Ravens offense has looked anemic at times in the second half of the season. Baltimore should win a low-scoring game, 17-9 — but I’ll be rooting for the Chiefs anyway.
- Packers at Eagles – The Packers only just got into the playoffs, but that’s a little deceptive. They have looked formidable in the last few weeks, coming close to beating an unstoppable New England team and rolling over the Chicago Bears, two teams with playoff byes in 2010-11. The Eagles have looked tired and beaten up the last couple of weeks, with Michael Vick visibly hobbled on the field. Green Bay was only 3-5 on the road this year, but the Eagles were only 4-4 at home, too, where they lost to Minnesota and Dallas in the last two weeks. Little-known fact: the Packers led the NFC in point differential in 2010 (+148). Green Bay’s defense will solve the Vick problem and move to the divisional round against the Bears Falcons, beating the Eagles 27-19.
Update: If the Packers win, they have to face the #1 seed, not the #2 seed. I was thinking about their W/L record compared to the Seahawks but forgot about Seattle’s status as division winner and #4 seed in the playoffs. Seattle plays Da Bears next week in Chicago. Thanks to the commenters for the correction. And then I screwed up and initially wrote Patriots rather than Falcons, too.