Well, since I promised to teach Intrinsic Bent my ways, I better get out my playoff predictions for this weekend’s NFL games. Here they are in chronological order; I should warn you that there aren’t going to be any shockers.
First up: Seattle at Green Bay. Everyone’s already been reminded of the 2004 overtime game between these two teams, when Favre didn’t have to win the game as much as Hasselbeck gave it to him by throwing a pick for six. I’m sure Holmgren and Hasselbeck are ready to exercise those demons, but unfortunately for them, this is Brett’s year. The Packers’ defense is better, and their running game is better, and that’s the difference in this game. It might be billed as being a game between Hasselbeck and Favre, but it’s the other elements of the game that will be decisive.
Jacksonville at New England. First of all, New England is the better team and will win this game – but I think a lot of the media is already looking past Jacksonville, who I’d say is the third best team in the AFC. This is going to be a great football game – Jacksonville represents the only good AFC team who the Patriots haven’t already beaten this year, making this the perfect divisional playoff game. The Jaguars will have some success running the ball against New England, and will succeed in slowing the game down, but eventually, the Jags’ defense will make a mistake, and as soon as the Patriots get that quick score, the Jaguars won’t be able to catch-up. I’m taking the Patriots, although I wouldn’t touch that 13-point spread the odds-makers are giving.
San Diego at Indianapolis. This game has been pegged by many as the most lopsided match up of the weekend. The Chargers’ week 10 victory over the Colts is the only thing keeping this game’s point spread to single digits. The Chargers just won their first playoff game since 1994, against a Tennessee team that barely beat the Colts’ third string in the last week of the season. This is a Colts’ team that has won a lot of playoff games over the last five years, and they are going to get the best of the Chargers. Though I would love to see Dungy’s team pay for his ridiculous antics at throwing away late season games, it’s just not gonna happen. Colts win. The good news is, the Colts have lost some key pieces as the season has progressed, and they’ll be crushed in the AFC Championship game.
New York Giants at Dallas. This game is the most difficult, I think, to predict. That’s because the powerful Cowboys often come across looking like a wildcard team. That’s probably because when Tony Romo is bad . . . he is really bad. No, I’m not going to bring up anything about Jessica Simpson, but I don’t know how confident Cowboys’ fans can be, especially given Romo’s blunder around this time last year. That being said, nobody expects Eli Manning of the Giants to get the best of them. I’ll take the Cowboys, ho-hum.