Previewing the 2010 NFL Season – PLAYOFF PICKS EDITION

In this final segment, I am going to make my predictions for each round of the playoffs ending with my Super Bowl Champion.

AFC WILD CARD ROUND

Cincinnati at New England

Rematch of Week 1, New England’s once inexperienced defense now has a full season under their belt.  Not to mention that Brady and Belichick don’t lose playoff games at home.

Winner: New England

Houston at San Diego

The Texans will have played well enough all season to deserve a higher seed than #5, but they were stuck in the same division as Indianapolis.  San Diego was lucky that they were in such a poor division, and Houston looks to make the most of their first ever playoff appearance.

Winner: Houston

NFC WILD CARD ROUND

Minnesota at Dallas

Minnesota was lucky enough that Adrian Peterson will have had an MVP caliber season to make up for all of Brett Favre’s mistakes.  Peterson and the defense carry Minnesota into the playoffs, but a playoff game in Dallas is no small task.  Tony Romo and company get the job done in the first round on their quest to play the Super Bowl at home.

Winner: Dallas

Atlanta at San Francisco

This looks to be the closest game so far.  Both teams have star running backs, which are the focal points of the offense.  While San Francisco’s defense is better than Atlanta’s, Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ passing attack is much better than the 49ers’.  This one will shape up to be a low scoring battle, but Matt Ryan will lead a game winning drive to send Singletary’s boys packing.

Winner: Atlanta

AFC DIVISIONAL ROUND

Houston at Indianapolis

The road block that has hindered Houston’s progress over the last few seasons have been Indianapolis.  Peyton Manning (going into 2010) has a career record of 15-1 against Houston.  Indianapolis will win both regular season games against Houston again in 2010.  The x-factor in this game will be Bob Sanders.  If Sanders can stay healthy all season and be ready for the playoffs, Indy will have a good shot of returning to the AFC Championship game.  But, i foresee a Sanders’ injury, leaving Andre Johnson to take over the game.

Winner: Houston

New England at Baltimore

A rematch of the 2010 Wild Card round game, New England’s defense has surprised many throughout the course of the season.  But, Baltimore brings an attack that is comparable to few.  Between Ray Rice and Willis McGahee in the backfield, complimented by Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, the Ravens offense is a force to be reckoned with.  Tom Brady and the offense do all they can to try and take over the game, but the Ravens’ offense is too much for New England’s young defense to handle.

Winner: Baltimore

NFC DIVISIONAL ROUND

Atlanta at Green Bay

Matt Ryan has supplanted himself among the top ten quarterbacks in the league with his 2010 regular season and playoff performances.  But, Aaron Rodgers is already starting to be considered among the elite quarterbacks and is not about to let his team take a divisional round loss in the playoffs.  Green Bay’s defense is too stout for Atlanta to bully in the run game, and Aaron Rodgers takes advantage of a relatively young secondary to handedly move on to the NFC Championship game.

Winner: Green Bay

Dallas at New Orleans

One of the few things that cannot be coached is experience.  New Orleans, having won the Super Bowl last season, is a much more experienced team than the Cowboys.  Plus, do you think Drew Brees is really going to let his team lose in the divisional round?  I think not.  Tony Romo and the offense will put up a good amount of points versus the Saints bend but don’t break defense, but Brees, Colston, and Thomas will be too much for Dallas to handle.

Winner: New Orleans

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Houston at Baltimore

The Texans have had a pretty improbable run thus far in the playoffs, and by now they may be getting a bit worn out.  Although their offense is prolific, the Ravens’ defense may have a festival with the Texans’ offensive line.  Blitz schemes will wreak havoc with the passing game, leaving Houston to rely on its defense.  Flacco will be contained for a bit by the young Texans, but the fourth quarter will be all Baltimore.

Winner: Baltimore

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

New Orleans at Green Bay

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints don’t stand much of a chance in the hostile confines of (cue Chris Berman voice) Lambeau Field.  Snow and below freezing weather usually don’t treat dome team very well, and things won’t change in 2010.  The packers will hit Drew Brees time and time again, leaving it up to Aaron Rodgers to lead his team to the Super Bowl.

Winner: Green Bay

SUPER BOWL XLV

Baltimore at Green Bay (in Dallas)

This game will turn into an all-out war.  The Ravens, who are known for their defense and rushing attack, have transformed themselves into a balanced or even slightly passing oriented team.  They still have a great defense, but not exactly what it used to be.  The Packers also have one of the better defense in the league, but they are a pass first and run later offense.  Ray Lewis will emotionally carry his team to the fourth quarter, but even Ray won’t have enough left in the tank to stop the Super Bowl XLV champion Green Bay Packers.

Winner: Green Bay

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