The first weekend of the NFL playoffs gets underway on Saturday. The wildcard weekend with some wild matchups or at least unexpected ones. The reigning Super Bowl champ Saints have to play the first weekend and the perennial playoff team the Colts barely get in.
First up, the Colts vs Jets. The Colts barely get in and I think the Jets coach talked their way in. The Colts have suffered devastating losses due to injury this season. Every time you turned around another Colts player was out for the season. Peyton Manning has picked the team up and carried it for most of the season with 3rd and 4th receivers and no running game at all. However, in the last 2 weeks, the Colts running backs have started to be productive again and taken some of the pressure off of Manning. In the last game of the season however, the Colts had to rely on their kicker to break a 20-20 tie to win the game vs the Titans. I wouldn't generally bet against a Peyton Manning playoff team, but this team has had it's struggles this season.
The Jets on the other hand, I have found to be a team that is all talk and little substance. Their QB Mark Sanchez is just unreliable and that's being kind. He's still young, but he still hasn't learned some of the fundamental things that a QB must do in order for his team to win and for him not to be responsible for their loss. The Jets defense can be good, but it too has been off and on. The Jets running game has been basically nonexistent, which puts a ton of pressure on Sanchez. The Jets love to talk a big game, but they have a hard time following through at times. They played Sanchez 4 plays in the final game of the regular season and afterwards their coach claimed they were playing him to keep him in rhythm. Say what? He handed the ball off 4 times. He never threw a pass. Rhythm?! What rhythm?! The Jets like to talk - a lot. They have a bit of trouble on the doing though against good teams.
In the first playoff game, I'm going with the Colts and Peyton Manning.
In the second playoff game, you have the reigning Super Bowl champions the New Orleans Saints having to face off with the just in Seattle Seahawks. The sub .500 Seahawks. The back-up QB Seahawks. The Saints have had a season that was not what anyone expected after their Super Bowl win last season. They too have suffered injuries throughout the season. Drew Brees has been less than accurate even though he has thrown for over 4000 yards again this season. The team has had a lot of turnovers and that's not something you can do in a playoff game and win. The Saints defense has been suspect especially down the stretch and teams have taken advantage of them. Getting to Brees has been a big key to keeping the Saints out of the win column. The Saints are very one dimensional. They pass period. They run rarely. Balanced teams have a much greater percentage of success in this day and age than those who are not.
The Seahawks had to win to be in. They had to beat the Rams to get a spot in the playoffs. A sub .500 team and without their starting QB who was injured, they did it winning 16-6. The Seahawks are not being taken seriously by many "experts" at all. But if there is one thing I know, any team can win on any day. You cannot take a team lightly because of their record or because of injuries. To do so would be foolish. The Seahawks are going to come to play. I look for their starting QB to be ready to go on Saturday. They will do everything they can to make a run at the Saints.
In the second playoff game, I have the Saints.
Who is ready for the playoffs???!!