The crew at Inside Pulse Sports is taking a look at the first week of the NFL Playoffs giving out picks as to who we think is going to advance.
Saints at Seahawks
Chris Biscuiti: For the first time in NFL history, a 7-9 division-winning team is actually hosting the defending Super Bowl Champions in Round 1. While I expect New Orleans to deliver, I do think Seattle will keep this a little closer than people think. The Saints haven’t blown out every team they’ve faced this season, and to go on the road and across the country in the opening round is a daunting task no matter who you are. Drew Brees and the Saints pull away late. Saints win 28-20.
Jeremy Heneghan: The Seahawks will get a break since Chris Ivory and Pierre Thomas won’t be playing, but being at home is really the only thing that Seattle has going for them. It’s going to be a bloodbath in Seattle. The offense won’t be able to move at all. As for the Saints, they’re the 3rd team in the NFC that has a bye in the playoffs.
Chad Jorgenson: The Saints offense hasn’t been as good as they were last year, but they’ve looked better in the closing weeks. Not having Ivory and Thomas is a big blow, but the Saints have been able to plug guys in and get good results, who knew Pierre Thomas before last year or Chris Ivory before this year? They still have Reggie Bush causing mismatch problems and the same good stable of wide outs along with a quickly emerging Jimmy Graham. The Seahawks were lucky to make the playoffs, but they won’t be long for them. Saints 35-10
Jets at Colts
Chris: Jets at Colts: If the Jets are going to survive in the AFC this year, they will have to win at Indy, at New England, and then likely at Pittsburgh. I think they are catching the Colts at a good time, with the Jets pretty healthy and Indy still pretty banged up especially in the offensive middle with Dallas Clark and a number of other weapons still on the shelf. I don’t discount Peyton Manning’s dominance over Rex Ryan defenses by any means, however, and I have a feeling the quarterback play will be the deciding factor here. Colts win 31-27
Jeremy: The rematch of the AFC Title game from last year. I see a different result. The Colts’ running game has come alive late in the year, but I don’t think it’ll work against the Jets. So Manning will be forced to try to win the game and he’ll throw a clutch interception, resulting in a Jets win.
Chad: The Colts might be the second worst team in the playoffs. Surprising, I know. The Colts haven’t been able to protect Manning this year, they haven’t been able to give the running game any room at all, and they’re kinda dinged up on the outside. Is it a stretch to say the Colts will have to rely on their defense? Who would have guessed at the beginning of the year. You would have guessed that about the Jets at the beginning of the year, and they’ve pretty much lived up to the billing, finishing in the top ten in total defense, pass defense and rush defense. The question with the Jets as always will be the offense, can they get a running game going and can Mark Sanchez get the passing game working. The Jets have the talent, the Colts have a Manning and homefield advantage. Colts 17-13.
Ravens vs Chiefs
Chris: I am not fully sold on the Ravens on the road in this spot, as I feel like the Chiefs are being grossly underrated and something tells me they are going to use that disrespect to fuel them all game long. The Chiefs and Ravens are both pretty balanced on offense, and I feel like this will come down to Ed Reed and Anquan Boldin having to make some key plays for Baltimore to come away with the win. Ravens do just enough. Ravens win 27-24.
Jeremy: I like the Ravens in this one. The defense will shut down the Chiefs’ running attack and Matt Cassel won’t be able to pass on them once that happens. The Chiefs are also a young team and will gain valuable learning experience in this one. The Ravens have a passing attack now, as opposed to in last year’s playoffs. Combination of Rice/McGahee will be pretty powerful this offseason.
Chad: The Ravens will start on the road in the playoffs for the second straight year, last year they were able to knock off the Patriots, this year they get what seems to be a lesser team. The Chiefs are an outstanding rushing team and have two guys they can use exclusively. Thomas Jones has been used to wear down defenses allowing Jamal Charles to gash teams. Baltimore however is allowing only 93 yards a game. So for the Chiefs to have success they might have to try to play the game backwards, by that I mean pass to set up the run. In my heart I’m rooting for the Chiefs, but my head tells me the Ravens take this one pretty easily. Bet with the heart, Chiefs 20-19.
Packers at Eagles
Chris: In what is the most fascinating matchup of the week, you have the red-hot Aaron Rodgers and the Packers coming into Philadelphia to take on the cooled-off Michael Vick and the Eagles. With everything reset back to zero, I honestly feel like the Packers are the last team anyone wants to play right now. Green Bay has been in survival mode for two weeks now, and Philly had a pretty rough stretch with the Tuesday night debacle followed by a lackluster effort against Dallas to end the regular season on a low note. I know things can easily flip in a hurry in the Playoffs, but momentum is a crazy thing and I think the Packers will use that to their advantage here. Packers win 31-23
Jeremy: If the Eagles can get McCoy going, then i think Vick may be able to make some progress against the Packers’ secondary, but I don’t think he’ll be able to run wild, not with Clay Matthews out there. I’m taking the Packers in this one because I think their defense will be able to bottle up the Eagles’ explosive offense. Aaron Rodgers will be able to do well against the secondary and I think John Kuhn could be a surprise player who could make a couple big plays.
Chad: This should be the best game of the weekend and could easily look a lot like the Packers playoff game from last season when they lost a barnburner to the Cardinals. The Eagles were a juggernaut in the middle of the season but are showing signs of being a team that might have peaked to early. Defenses are starting to get a hold on Vick and that’s the key to keeping the offense in check since they’ve never run enough to worry too much about that. The Packers have even less of a running game and tend to spread the field even more than Philly. There aren’t going to be a lot of stops in this game, but if you had to pick one defense to make a critical stop, I think you would have to take the Packers. Packers 44-40.
Tags: Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, NFL, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks