It's the NFL playoffs! What a crazy year it has been. 3 rookie QBs have found their way into the playoffs while other teams like the Giants and Bears find themselves on the outside looking in after a strong start. Here are my predictions for the playoffs this year.
Texans over Bengals: 23 - 10
Why? The Texans have been looking like anything but elite after going from the 1st to 3rd seed, but they are the better team overall in this match up. I think the defense will do their job and be the reason the Texans win this game.
Colts over Ravens: 27 - 17
Why? If you read my power rankings, you'll notice how I think the Colts are worse than their 11-5 record. However, the Ravens have had a ton of issues lately, going 1-4 in their last 5 games. The Colts have been 4-1 in their last 5 and just came off a Texans win. I'm not one for non-football factors, but Chuck Pagano being back does help put a spark in this team as well.
Broncos over Colts: 38 - 17
Why? It will be an exciting game to watch Peyton face off against his old team, but it won't even be close. The Broncos have won 11 straight and are the team that nobody wants to face right now, including the Colts. They won't be able to match up against this Broncos team.
Patriots over Texans: 34 - 23
Why? Hard to go against the Patriots at home, in a playoff game, with Tom Brady as your QB. The Patriots are just too good on offense. Remember what happened last time these two teams faced off? 42-14 Pats.
Patriots over Broncos: 24 - 20
Why? This game is a coin flip to me. Definitely can go either way. You can say that about any game in the playoffs, but think it's especially true for these two teams if they face each other. I think it will come down to Brady on a game winning drive and he'll get it down, making it the second straight Super Bowl appearance in a row for this Pats team.
Packers over Vikings: 27 - 21
Why? These two teams faced each other the last game of the season with the Vikings finding themselves on the winning side. The Packers were fighting for a #2 seed, but the Vikings were the only team in this match up that desperately needed the win. Now they both will be fighting equally as hard to get to the Super Bowl. Adrian Peterson is a beast, but Aaron Rodgers is one of the most clutch offensive players in the league (and the Vikings have Christian Ponder). Going with the Packs here.
Redskins over Seahawks: 31 - 24
Why? This was the hardest match up for me to pick in the wildcard round. Seattle has won 5 in a row, Redskins won 7. Both are rookie QBs who have been playing amazingly, but again are rookies without any playoff experience. I'm going with the home team here.
Falcons over Redskins: 33 - 23
Why? The Falcons get zero respect even though they ended the season as the #1 seed in the NFC and tied for the best record in the NFL. I do think they aren't as strong as the Broncos, the other 13-3 team in the league, but are still one of the elite and think they'll get the job done at home against the Redskins. They'll be able to finally shut up critics who say they can't win a playoff game.
Packers over 49ers: 27 - 24
Why? These teams faced each other opening day with the win going to the 49ers. On paper, these teams are pretty evenly matched with the edge on offense going to the Packers and the edge on defense going to the 49ers. Kaepernick has been great, but a lot of these games come down to clutch plays at the end and hard to pick Kaepernick over Rodgers.
Packers over Falcons: 30 - 20
Why? Simply because I think the Packers are a better team and it's Aaron Rodgers vs. Matt Ryan. The Falcons are at home, but don't think home field advantage will be enough for them to pull out a win against the Packers.
Patriots over Packers: 34 - 30
Why? Patriots want redemption after losing last year, again, to the Giants in the Super Bowl. They'll get it this time. It will be a very exciting game that will go back and forth, but the Patriots will have the last drive of the game and Brady will get the job done.