This is rematch weekend in the NFL playoffs. I am hype because fans will get to see what adjustments the losing teams made from their previous meetings.
I am even more hyped over the AFC match-ups. Both games involve division rivals. Both games’ combatants hate each other. Did I mention how stoked I am over both match-ups?
At any rate, let me put the pom-poms down and preview all four games.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers. I am bordering on over-excitement over this game. The hated Ravens going against my Steelers. Gotta love it! At any rate, both teams come in relatively healthy, and looking to administer punishment. The Ravens (namely Terrell Suggs) are chirping away as usual. Meanwhile, my Steelers are taking it all in, saying to themselves “o-kay”. On the Jim Rome Show yesterday, FS Ryan Clark told Jim that the Ravens are more worried about his team than vice versa. I believe that, which is why I am picking my Steelers to prevail tomorrow. It may not be as close as people think. Remember the match-up in the 2001 playoffs? The Ravens talked their shit and my Steelers pounded them. Expect a little bit of the same in this one. After all, those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it… Steelers 24, Ravens 14.
New York Jets at New England Patriots. This is another match-up to be excited over. These teams REALLY hate each other. The Jets, a.k.a. Ravens-lite, are talking trash again. This time, they’ve really upped the ante, basically calling out the Patriots manhood. Like the Ravens-Steelers match-up, this one won’t be as close as people think. In fact, I expect an ass-whupping. Teams should never, EVER talk that much trash to the Patriots. My guess is QB Tom Brady is going to make the Jets (namely Antonio Cromartie) pay, pay, and pay again. As much as I want the Jets to keep reppin’ New York in the playoffs, I’d be stunned if they get to within 20 of New England Sunday… Patriots 34, Jets 14.
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons. This should be the game of the weekend. The Packers are a bit on a roll, winning the last few games of the season to qualify for the playoffs. Their roll enabled them to beat a good Eagles team on the road, where the Pack’s D shut down Michael Vick and Co. I expect the Packers to come into Atlanta and get a win. How will they do it? Simple: stop Michael Turner the running game and make Matt Ryan beat them. It may sound insane, but the Falcons are a running team. As nice as Ryan is, I do not fear him as much as I do Michael Turner – and neither do the Packers… Packers 17, Falcons 16.
Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears. This game is the red-headed stepchild of the four. I would say this may be another blowout, but you never know with Jay Cutler. This is first playoff game, and who knows if he’ll be amped up to the point of chucking the ball around, throwing interceptions in the process. I will say the Bears D is playing a lot better, and will do a better job of making Seattle one-dimensional. Forget Marshawn Lynch – Julius Peppers, Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, and the Bears D are the ones who will be in “Beast Mode”… Bears 27, Seahawks 17.