What an ending to a great regular season.
A lot happened in the past week:
- Favre won’t be returning (I’m guessing he’s serious this time)
- John Elway is returning to the Broncos (as V.P. of football operations)
- Mangini was fired from the Browns (but Norv keeps his job … weird)
- the Raiders chose not to resign Tom Cable as head coach (another idiot move by owner, Al Davis)
- the Chargers are keeping head coach Norv Turner (therefore, fans shouldn’t be hopeful for their 2011 season in San Diego, because if you cannot get to the playoffs with a team like this year, something is seriously wrong with your coaching abilities).
Oh and one more thing that I didn’t find newsworthy, just quite humorous; Giants RB Brandon Jacobs F-bombed reporters on his way out of the locker room (it’s got to sting that a 7-9 Seahawks team will be playing in the post-season while you watch from your couch).
We are fast approaching Wild Card weekend, and though one game is a no-brainer, there are three others that will definitely be worth watching.
Saturday 01/08/11, 1:30 p.m. (PST)
Saints at Seahawks
The “no-brainer” of the weekend. Was it me or did the Seahawks seem like they were over-celebrating their NFC West title? After all, they did finish with a losing record. Regardless, they are in, and just as quickly, will be out. Sorry Seahawks fans.
Wait: Are there any Seahawks fans out there? Last time I checked the Saints were favored by 10.5, and I think they are going to win by at least 14. Now, I will keep in mind, before I call this game a shoe-in for the Saints, this is football and truly, anything can happen on any given Sunday.
There’s always the chance of a huge upset, but the Saints and Drew Brees won’t go down like that. The Saints defense will be prepared for either QB that Carroll decides to play. Whether Charlie Whitehurst or Matt Hasselbeck, neither stands a chance at passing against the Saints secondary.
As for the Saints offense – even with RB Chris Ivory on injured reserve, Brees has so many other options and will wear down the inexperienced Seahawks offense before the second half even starts. I predict Reggie Bush to step-up, and have at least 100 yards rushing in this game. Bush seems to play pretty well when Pete Carroll is on the field, even if it’s the opposing side.
Winner – Saints
Saturday 01/08/11, 5:00 p.m. (PST)
Jets at Colts
Indy is favored by three points and that’s probably due to home-field advantage. Peyton Manning has been here many times in the past decade, and knows what it takes to win and knows what it takes to lose as he’s been on both ends.
When it comes down to Manning vs. Sanchez, I’ll take Manning in a second. Sanchez is far too inconsistent, falters under pressure, and quite frankly is still in learning mode. Manning is a seasoned veteran, has bounced back from a tough mid-season, and can read a defense like no other quarterback in the league.
Defensively, the Jets have a slight edge, particularly in the secondary, and Manning will have to be at his best to wear them down. Bottom line – Peyton will motivate his team to win this game.
Winner – Colts
Sunday 01/09/11, 10:00 A.M. (PST)
Ravens at Chiefs
I have no idea why, but something keeps telling me the Chiefs will win this game. An upset, but nothing like the Seahawks beating the Saints.
Against my best football intuition, I will make the case for why that will not happen.
The only thing the Chiefs have better than the Ravens is a quarterback and two awesome running backs. That’s huge in a game like this. What is huger than that trio? A dominating defense, and the Ravens are just that. Ray Lewis has been here before, he is not getting any younger, and he is at the top of his game this year.
The quote “defenses win championships” has a lot of truth to it. Take for example, the 2006 Bears – because of their defense an awful quarterback like Rex Grossman was able to make a Super Bowl appearance. Because of that awful quarterback, they didn’t win. Ravens QB is no Rex Grossman … he’s Joe Flacco. Smooth under pressure, and ready to get past this wild card weekend.
Winner – Ravens
Sunday 01/09/11, 1:30 P.M. (PST)
Packers at Eagles
Saving the best for last … a match-up that should come down to the final seconds, if not over-time. Philly is favored by three points. This is going to be a close scoring game.
In past years, this is wear the Eagles choke the most – in the games that count.
Hopefully for them, that is out of their system as they choked the last two games of regular season. The big match-up will be the Eagles explosive offense (Vick, McCoy, Jackson, and Maclin) vs. the Packers defense (Clay Matthews – enough said).
As for the Packers offense vs. the Eagles defense – it is sort of un-matched in huge favor of the Packers. In fact, this is going to be the game changer. Pack QB Aaron Rodgers should have an outstanding day as he carries his team past Wild Card Weekend, creating memory loss about ole’ number four. Favre who?
Winner – Packers
For Jana’s thoughts on last week, further analysis on this week’s match-ups, or to read anything else she feels like tossing out regarding the NFL, go to the dirty cleats blog.
Jana Newman lives in San Diego and has been an NFL fan for over 25 years (her not-so-secret obsession is still No. 13 Dan Marino). She has her bachelor of arts degree in English, and loves to write. To combine these passions, Jana created dirtycleats.com. It’s an NFL blog with a fresh look and a fun attitude. You can also follow dirtycleats on Facebook. To reach Jana, email her at [email protected]