Here we are. The Playoffs. The second season.
My preseason prediction of a Broncos/Seahawks Superbowl remains in tact. I also had the Bengals, Colts, Pats, Saints and Seahawks making the postseason as well.
So now that we’re here, it’s time to give my predictions for the first round.
- Kansas City @ Indianapolis: For me, this is the most interesting match-up of the 1st round. Two 11-5 teams. Both QBs were in the playoffs last season, Alex Smith as a member of the 49ers, of course he didn’t start, and Andrew Luck as a rookie. Both teams struggled in the 2nd half of the season, but did enough to get into the playoffs. Indy has home-field because they won the South. Smith and Luck both threw 23 touchdowns this season. Both have good defenses. The advantage for me, comes in the backfield. The Chiefs have one of the best rushers in the league in Jamaal Charles, while the Colts have struggled all season with their run game. I love Andrew Luck over Alex Smith, but I think being able to run the ball and control the clock is huge for Kansas City, and I think that’s why the Chiefs continue to put their 2-14 2012-2013 season behind them. KANSAS CITY WINS
- New Orleans @ Philadelphia: I had the Eagles finishing last in the East, so clearly I was wrong. I did however see the Saints in the playoffs as a wildcard, though I thought they’d lose the division to the Falcons. Again, Philly won the down East, so they get to host, something that’s big on its own, but huge against a team like the Saints that are not the same team on the road, as they are at home. With that being said, Drew Brees knows how to win in the playoffs. Nick Foles is getting his first crack at it. Foles has been a revelation, and along with LeSean McCoy, carried this team to the playoffs. But I like New Orleans to get out of the first round, even if they have to play on the road to do so. NEW ORLEANS WINS
- San Diego @ Cincinnati: This is the only game I see the home team winning. I know the Chargers are on a high from forcing their way into the playoffs. But they have been so inconsistent this season, and I can’t see them getting past a stout Bengals defense on the road. It’s time for Cincinnati to take that next step in the playoffs, and I think they do so and get out the first round. Neither team has had consistency from their run game, but Andy Dalton has many more weapons in the passing game than Philip Rivers does. And I like the Giovani Bernard/ BenJarvius Green-Ellis backfield better than Ryan Matthews trying to carry the load for San Diego. I do see it being a one score game however. CINCINNATI WINS
- San Francisco @ Green Bay: First of all, deja-vu anyone? I feel like I watch this match-up, at some point, every year. Not that that’s a bad thing. Second, it’s so wrong that a 12-win team has to play on the road, but that’s what we have here. The 49ers play in a tougher division, while the Pack won a weaker North division, so they get to host in their home-field known as the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. The Niners have the defense, the run game and a very good quarterback. The Packers backed their way into the playoffs, getting Aaron Rodgers back in week 17. I think this will be a hard fought game, but I think the more consistent Niners get the road win, and make it 3 of 4 for road teams in the Wild Card Round. SAN FRANCISCO WINS
That’s it from me. Enjoy the first round everyone.