The defending Super Bowl champs should have no trouble with the Seahawks, who should not be in the playoffs with their sorry record. Seattle will be completely and utterly outclassed on both sides of the ball. Barring any key injury to Brees, this game should be a breeze.
But on the unlikely chance that something were to happen to Brees and the backup would have top step in, I still think the Saints would win this one. They have far more talent than the Hawks at almost every position.
Atlanta won the division and has home field throughout the playoffs in the NFC. But do not count out the experience of the Saints. It's hard to repeat, but experience is hard to beat when you get to this level.
NY Jets at Indianapolis - Saturday 8:00 ET
Rex Ryan, like his father before him, likes to talk. Unlike Belichick, Jim Caldwell, and many other coaches in the NFL, he can fill any opponent's bulletin board in one 10 minute conversation. So you can only imagine what he can do in a week.
The Colts are hurt, we have said that all season. But they have been in all but two games this year, with a chance to win in the end. They lost to NE and Philly by 3 and 2 points respectively. Both are playoff teams.
If their defense can make big plays when they need to, can keep LT and Greene from running wild and controlling the clock on offense, it will force Sanchez to be a factor with a sore shoulder. The more times he throws, the less chance I think NY has to score. I am not sold on the Jets offense.
We know their defense is good. But Manning has always been good against a Ryan scheme. The Colts O-line must protect Peyton and give him time to make plays. Plus, the Colts need a big game by Addai, Brown, and/or Rhodes to help Manning sell the play action. The times I have seen the Jets play, I have noticed their vulnerability is when there is an effective play action working against them.
This one is a toss-up on paper, but the intangibles favor the Colts.
Baltimore at Kansas City - Sunday 1:00 ET
The Ravens defense is another smack talking enterprise. I suppose they inherited that from their former D-Coordinator. Who? Why it's Rex Ryan, of course.
They are a good squad and can back up a lot of their talk on most days. But they will be going up against a former student of Tom Brady, Matt Cassel. Cassel is a pretty decent athlete who makes very sound decisions. And he has flourished in a Weiss-led offense. He will need to make good decisions on Sunday to have a chance.
Flacco and the running game are good on most given days in the season, but they are not without flaws. KC's defense plays hard and could give the Baltimore offense fits... if it can force Flacco into uncomfortable positions. They must stop the Ravens' running game and force Flacco to beat them, to keep the score low enough.
Anything can happen in this one, but I give the edge to Baltimore.
Green Bay at Philadelphia - Sunday 4:30 ET
I have never been sold on Aaron Rodgers, but here he is again in the playoffs. They have played playoff teams tough this year, almost beating NE and Atlanta. They have split their series with the Bears. They do have a chance against Philly.
Their defense must play well and contain Vick, the dog killing bastard. It will be impossible to stop him, but they must frustrate him enough to force him to be the old Vick...the one who at one time threw interceptions like Brett Favre.
But moreover, if Aaron wants to elevate his status out of the "Philip Rivers Big Numbers But No Rings" club, he must play the game of his life this week. He must make good decisions and not get frustrated early.
I am going out on a limb here and giving the edge to the Packers.
I don't like hip-hop and I know this is a football post, but this is just too good to pass up: