Arizona Cardinals vs New Orleans Saints
This is a typical matchup of quick scoring offenses lighting up the scoreboard...on paper. Personally I don't think its going to be the fireworks show everyone is predicting. Even though the Cards just dropped 51 points on the Packers 5 days ago, don't expect the same or anywhere close to that against the Saints with that short of a layoff before traveling to New Orleans. The Cards should be trying to establish a running game with the M.I.A. running back Beanie Wells to soften the Saints rusty defense who has given up at least over 100 yards on the ground the past 3 games. One of those was against the Bucs. At home. Not a good look. On the other side, the Saints still boast the top offense in the league, and are facing the same issues as the Cardinals in trying to find their running game and defense. To help there, Jeremy Shockey is back AND the re-signing of Deuce McAlister to get the chains moving. I'm a bit skeptical on the signing of Deuce, I don't think he'll play that big of a factor in this game unless its goal-line purposes. Since both teams play eerily similar I still give the edge to the Saints. With the home crowd behind them, ample rest, key players returning from injuries, and their defensive ability to cause turnovers and make them touchdowns (and they need to make at least one) the rusty Saints shake off the cobwebs and defeat the fatigued Cardinals to advance to the next round.
Baltimore Ravens vs Indianapolis Colts
A little NFL trivia fact: The Indianapolis Colts, once the Baltimore Colts, facing the new Baltimore Ravens is the first time an old franchise plays the new franchise in the playoffs. Just wanted to throw that in there. As far as the matchup its your classic potent offense vs beastly defense, which will win? Well it all comes down to experience in which both teams already have on the field on both sides of the ball. Key players will make key plays and both teams have those so there's no need to go into that. Its gonna be all about the playcalling from the coaching staff of each team, and Jim Cadwell wins that battle since he DID lead the Colts to a 14-0 record before dropping the last two games. All the while, Jim Harbaugh and the Ravens squeaked in the playoffs and defeated a beat up Patriots team. I'm not convinced the underdog claims victory here. Not much to be said for this game to go any deeper than that. We're talking about Peyton Manning who is like a meat cutter and defenses are a tender slab of pork as he carves defenses to pieces. Joe Flacco came off one of the worst quarterbacking games I personally have ever seen. Yes, he was slightly injured but he played like ass. Ray Rice isn't gonna be enough to save them here. Colts over Ravens to move on. It'll be closer than the final score may indicate, but the Ravens offense won't be able to get it done and put up enough points.
Dallas Cowboys vs Minnesota Vikings
Ok Cowboys, I did pick you last week despite hoping you'd lose. And here you are. Late in January and you're still...here. I'd LOVE to say the only reason you've been able to put on this surge is due to the one dimensional teams with subpar defenses that you've played as of late. But I can't ignore the talent you possess. And it looks like neither can you. Cause when the Cowboys are on, they are ON. Their defense swarm in like bees with stunt blitz packages that make quarterbacks cower in fear. The offense is in synch like never before anchored by Tony Romo who broke franchise records of completions, attempts, yards and touchdowns this year. Felix Jones has really come into his own and...ok that's enough. I can't praise them without wanting to vomit. At least they are going against a true running back in Adrian Peterson (save his affinity of fumbling the ball thuddy-lem times this season) he's a bruiser and has speed out of this world. BUT can it be done on a 3-4 defense that loves stacking the box and taking the running game away? The Vikings play a different brand of football than anyone the Cowboys have played. Their defensive line is tops in the league, if not the best, and will make Tony Romo work...hopefully cry. And they also got that one dude, Brett Favre. Aka the Jay Leno of football. It pains me to say this...but if I HAD to pick an upset it would be this one. But I can't. I refuse to. And I'm gonna be biased. I don't see the Cowboys beating the Vikings...but they will. And I'll be checking myself into the nearest mental institution for sticking my neck out for that pick.
New York Jets vs San Diego Chargers
All you need to know is this: Darrelle Revis vs Vincent Jackson. Matchup of the 2010 playoffs. This is basically what the whole game rides on, and why its my playoff game to watch this weekend. Forget the running tandems of Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene vs LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles. Forget Rex Ryan's bold statement of the Jets winning it all. Forget Norv Turner's shaky playcalling actually looking like he's a genius after all. Forget Phillip Rivers showing Mark Sanchez how its really done...until the Jets show why they boast one of the best defenses in the league. Forget all of that and focus on these two. Vincent Jackson is tall, 6'5" tall and physical. Unlike anything Revis has seen all season and he's seen a lot. Wayne, A. Johnson, C. Johnson (twice), Owens (twice) and Moss (twice). And shut them down. But none like the prowess of the underrated Vincent Jackson who's stature alone strikes fear into shorter cornerbacks. But if he can be shutdown, the Jets win. If they can't? The Chargers win. It really is that simple. Everyone else needs to play their role and let these two duke it out and make plays for their respective teams. If you think anyone else really matters in this game then you're fooling yourself. And if you think Revis is going to be able to stave off a monster like Vincent Jackson by himself then you're sadly mistaken. He'll need help. And the Jets better give it to him or they'll be sent home packing. And, I think they will. So sorry Jets fans, I may have picked against you last week and failed...and I'll do it again here too. But I will say this: if Revis can contain Jackson he's the best DB. To be able to accomplish what he has done this year and STILL not win Defensive Player of the Year is beyond me. Can he do it though? Meh...we'll see. I personally don't think so.