NTCF Picks: Wild Card Weekend

After Matt beat me handily in the regular season competition he and I had, we decided to invite the other writers on the blog to jump in come playoff time.  This is something we probably should of did during the regular season but for whatever reason we didn’t.  Winner gets a drink from everyone he beats?

More drinks?  Come on guys, I’m watching my waist line over here.  But, it is very tough to argue against two free nights at the bar.  First I’ve got to take down Scottie and now I’m challenged by the rest of the writers.  What else is there to say other than let’s do it…

Saturday January 8 @ 4:30

New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks

Scott: Saints

This game could get pretty ugly as the Seahawks have no business being in the playoffs and the Saints are legit Super Bowl contenders.  The Saints are essentially getting a walk through to open up the playoffs before they face either Atlanta or Chicago.

Matt: Saints

I was fully prepared to jump onto the Saints bandwagon, but their week 17 loss to the Bucs has me reconsidering.  Check out my “What’s all of the Fuss About” post for a look into my defense on behalf of the Seahawks, and yes, I just made a plug for myself.  I’m leery of the Saints, but I can’t see them losing in Seattle.

B-Farl: Saints

This would be the worst playoff loss of all time if the Seahawks pull this off.  That being said, this will be a blowout . I really don’t want to write why I think the Saints will win so here;s an idea, tell me how they could lose? Bus accident? Influenza? The Plague? Yeah, Saints win to set up an interesting matchup with Chicago next week.

Q: Saints

Ok, my honest first thought was, “Play to win the game,” and I thought about picking the Seahawks because they are going to be able to drop 7 into coverage with the lack of a Saints run game and because of their “12th man” of a crowd.  Cooler heads prevailed when I took into consideration that the Seahawks secondary sucks…it might be closer than many think, but the veteran Saints led by Brees win.

Brick: Saints

I can’t imagine anyone liking this match-up for the Seahawks outside of one solitary locker room up in the gateway to Alaska.  That being said anything can happen on an NFL Sunday, er Saturday…still, I’m not taking a flyer on Coach Pete and his quarterbackless Seahawks.  Saints in a landslide.

Gambo: Saints

I don’t know why but the first thing I think about in this matchup is the 12th man in Seattle’s home field. It is easily the loudest outdoor venue in the NFL and really does affect opposing teams. Even though the Saints will be without Chris Ivory (I.R.) and Pierre Thomas (Yes that means Julius Jones is probably starting), the defending champs should find a way with Drew Brees at the helm and a blitzing D that should make Matt Hasselbeck wish he wasn’t starting and Charlie Whitehurst was given the go-ahead.

Saturday January 8 @ 8:00

New York Jets @ Indianpolis Colts

Scott: Colts

I can’t picture Peyton Manning losing at home in the playoffs.  I also do not think Mark Sanchez can lead his team to victory.  He has a tremendous supporting cast but he is hurt and I don’t see the Jets being able to move the ball.  I also don’t see the Jets getting the pass rush they need to bother Peyton Manning in the pocket.

Matt: Jets

I find myself wanting to agree with Scottie in regards to not seeing Peyton losing a home playoff game, but this season has come as a surprise to most of us in terms of the Colts.  Did any of us really see the Colts having to win in week 17 to fend of the Jags for their playoff spot?  I know that I sure didn’t.  The Jets’ defense will be able to shut down Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon, leaving Jacob Tamme and Blair White to win the game.  Yup, I’m sticking with the Jets.

B-Farl: Colts

I can’t pick Mark Sanchez over Peyton Manning. The Jets defense is not as good on the field as it is on paper. Both teams ended the season on opposite sides of the spectrum. The Jets are 1-3 in their last four and can thank back up Mark Brunell for their impressive win vs. the Bills.  Indy is undefeated in its last four and seems to be comfortable managing their reserves.  If Indy were healthier I would feel more comfortable with this pick but I see the Colts in a close one here.

Q: Jets

Ok, it is really tough to pick a team to win when they limped into the playoffs and the team they are playing started to play their best to close out the season.  That being said, I think that one thing that resonates in the heads of the Jets players, and is being reinforced by Rex Ryan is that this Colts team is what stood between them and a Super Bowl last year.  I also believe that if there is any team that does not care about how they played leading into the playoffs, that team is the Jets.  I do not see the Colts run D continuing their “hot” streak.

Brick: Colts

This one is a coin toss because the Jets are their usual unpredictable selves and the Colts have not been themselves all year.  However, I like the Colts here because they played a meaningful game last week against Tennessee and had it come down to the wire.  I see this game being close in the 4th quarter and if that’s the case, Peyton always wins.

Gambo: Colts

As a Patriots fan I am rooting for the Jets in this one because I see the Ravens as the most dangerous of all the Wild Card teams and want to avoid them at all costs. Still, Peyton Manning is still Peyton Manning, and even without Austin Collie their offense is still light-years ahead of the Jets. The New York D is nearly as far ahead of Indy, but unless they get two pick-sixes I don’t see them leaving the “Barn” with a win.

Sunday January 9 @ 1:00

Baltimore Ravens @ Kansas City Chiefs

Scott: Ravens

The Ravens will stop the Chiefs rushing attack forcing Matt Cassel to throw the ball more times than the Chiefs would like.  The Ravens will also control the ball much like they did last year against the Patriots in the first round of the playoffs and Ray Rice will have a big day.

Matt: Ravens

I’m torn here.  The Ravens were my pick at the beginning of the season to be the AFC representative in the Super Bowl.  The Chiefs have been a surprise team for the majority of the season, and aside from week 17, had been playing very well.  Both of these teams have very good defenses, but the Chiefs got run all over by the Raiders last week.  Ray Lewis is the difference maker in this one, the Ravens will sneak out of KC with a close win.

B-Farl: Ravens

I want to pick KC so bad in this game Arrowhead is one of the toughest places to play in the NFL, however, I can’t pick against a Ravens team that’s revamped offense seems to be stronger than its perennial dominant defense.  The defense is not as strong as its been in past years and the Chiefs are a dangerous team but I just don’t see it.  Side note: Ed Reed has two interceptions in each of his last two games.  He may very well score another TD in a meaningful game making the NFL Networks top-100 list that much more of a joke.

Q: Chiefs

Although it would be unlike a Ray Lewis led Ravens team, I see the Ravens looking ahead of the Chiefs towards the next round.  Although they have the 5th best rush defense in the league, the eye test sees that the Ravens will be succeptible to the run when they face a balanced attack, and I see the Chiefs bringing just that.  And yes, I picked the Ravens to go to the Super Bowl, but I guess that will not happen.

Brick: Chiefs

I’m going against the grain here and picking the franchise trying to mirror what the Patriots have.  KC is 7-1 at home and their one loss at home came in week 17 against Oakland.  Do you think that is going to happen twice?  No way.  The Chiefs will find a way to beat a Ravens team that doesn’t always shine to their potential in a low scoring battle.  Look for an ugly 13-10 final in Missouri.

Gambo: Ravens

The Ravens were my AFC pick in the preseason and I am not about to change that now. Ray Rice is a dominant back and Joe Flacco has made strides with Anquan Boldin on board. Add in a defense that might actually be more aggressive than Pittsburgh and I smell Super Bowl success. The Chiefs have an All-Pro back in Jamaal Charles and Pro Bowl performers in Matt Cassel and Dwayne Bowe, but it will not be enough to overcome Baltimore in this one.

Sunday January 9 @ 4:30

Green Bay Packers @ Philadelphia Eagles

Scott: Packers

The Packers have the number one defense in the NFL.  Clay Matthews will be spying on Michael Vick all day.  The Packers are the worst possible matchup for the Eagles because of how good their defense is, especially their pass rush.  Charles Woodson will be able to slow down Desean Jackson. On the other side of the ball Aaron Rodgers will throw for around 350 against a weak Philly D, setting up a matchup of young quarterbacks in Atlanta between Matt Ryan and Rodgers.

Matt: Packers

I’m almost guaranteed at least a loss or two for these predictions considering I am picking all of the road teams to win…no shot that is happening.  This game presents the toughest challenge to pick a winner.  Similarly with the Ravens, the Packers were my preseason pick to be the NFC representative in the Super Bowl, but they have been decimated by injuries.  The Eagles offense have been very good thanks largely in part to Mike Vick, but their offense has struggled a bit as of late.  The biggest key to this game is the Eagles ability to stop the run, and I just don’t see it happening.

B-Farl: Packers

This is my only underdog pick or Wild Card Weekend because all of the favorites can’t win can they? Bookies? Buhler? Anyone? Philly will be playing its third game in twelve days and I honestly just think the Packers are a better team. The Packers are 5th in total defense and Philly is 12th, not bad I know.  However, the Eagles are giving up 24 points per game while the Packers are allowing 15.  Peg the over and give me the Packers with the points for the win, please.

Q: Packers

I’m thinking that Vick’s quad injury is worse then we are to believe, and the one team every other team was hoping did not make the playoffs were the Packers.  Expect Clay Matthews to be a difference maker in neutralizing Vick if he does look to run, and Rodgers makes plays, simple as that.

Brick: Eagles

Since Andy Reid has been calling the shots in Philly he is 7-1 in playoff home openers.  Assuming Vick is at full health on Sunday afternoon the Eagles are going to tear apart the Pack.  The bad luck/injury plagued Packers have lost their last four straight playoff road games with their last postseason win coming in 1997.  This could be one of those games where it looks like it will be great on the surface but, could easily turn into a massacre early.  Eagles roll here.

Gambo: Packers

Easily the hardest matchup to predict. The Packers were my preseason pick in the NFC, but that was before they lost Ryan Grant and JerMichael Finley, and Aaron Rodgers suffered two concussions this season. Still, they have the best defense in the NFC and with players like Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson, they could actually keep up with Mike Vick. So long as Vick doesn’t channel his old self in his previous matchup with Packers, I see Green Bay pulling this out as time expires with Rodgers to Jennings for the win. Gotta stick with the preseason picks until they’re out.

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3 Responses

  1. So much for the NTCF experts… we are all 0-1 after the Seahawks upset the Saints

  2. 2-12 as a blog collectively…not too shabby right? lol

  3. For the weekend the standings look like this

    Matt 3-1
    BFarl 2-2
    Gambo 2-2
    Q- 2-2
    Scott 2-2
    Brick 0-4

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