It's that time of year again: NFL playoffs time, and you know what that means. Some pompous, professional journalist is going to write some column about who he thinks is going to win the Super Bowl and why he is undeniably right.
On that note, here are my predictions for the NFL playoffs (bearing in mind, of course, that I am actually an amateur journalist, by most standards).
Dallas (10-6) at Carolina (11-5) : Dallas
In a meeting of two of the year's biggest surprises, Dallas's stingier defense should take the day. We've actually seen what happens when these two defensive titans clash: Dallas came out on top, 24-20, in the meeting between these two teams in Week 12. Carolina's had a Cinderella season, expect the glass slipper to break along with Stephen Davis and the Panthers' game plan. Carolina has a knack for come-from-behind victories, but the best defense in the NFL might have something to say about that.
Seattle (10-6) at Green Bay (10-6) : Green Bay
This one was over at the word "at." Seattle managed only a dismal 2-6 on the road this season, losing six straight at one point. But even if Seattle gets the ball rolling offensively, their defense, which has been average at best all season, is no match for the suddenly-inspired play of a one Brett Favre. Add a runner-up rushing leader in Ahman Green for GB and we have ourselves a sure thing.
Tennessee (12-4) at Baltimore (10-6): Baltimore
The Baltimore Ravens have played solid, consistent football all year en route to their first ever division title. They have the offensive and defensive player of the year in Ray and Jamal Lewis. They have a solid defense, a relatively consistent offense, and a five-game win streak against the Tennessee Titans. Not to mention 9 consecutive quarters without allowing an offensive touchdown. Chalk one up for the home boys.
Denver (10-6) at Indianapolis (12-4): Denver
Oh, you'd love to give Mr. Peyton Manning his first ever playoff win against the Denver Inconsistents I-mean-Broncos, but the cards are stacked against them. Denver finally has a good post-Elway QB in Jake "the Snake" Plummer, a terrific running back in Clinton Portis, and they just tore Indy apart two weeks ago. Indy's defense has been soft all year, and they haven't exactly been able to pull out the big comeback wins (*cough* New England *cough*). Look for Denver to win, and to win big.
Dallas at Philadelphia (12-4): Philly
If Dallas's quarterback was anyone other than Quincy Carter, I'd be tempted to give them this game. They did, after all, beat Philly at least once this year. They do have a great defense. But man. Quincy Carter. Philly, welcome to your third NFC championship in as many years.
Green Bay at St. Louis (12-4) : St. Louis
Just so that the wild card games are completely irrelevant, of course. Green Bay's been playing well, but not well enough to beat the likes of Marshall Faulk, Marc Bulger, and Tory Holt. St. Louis may have lost big to Detroit, but look for them to bounce back here. In a big way.
Baltimore at Kansas City (13-3): Baltimore
Two words for ya, KC: run defense. Get some. Quick. Before Jamal Lewis comes storming into town. KC's offense may be potent, but only if it can get the ball. And to get the ball, they'll have to stop Lewis. Which I just can't see happening. 13-3 just seems less impressive after a second-round loss to the Ravens, don't it?
Denver at New England (14-2): New England
New England is playing with purpose. That purpose is to get back to the Super Bowl, and then to win it. Denver, a sub-par team compared to the 12 straight wins of New England, is a mere speed bump in this master road map. Denver's defense is no match for Tom Brady, nor is their offense a match for the suddenly invincible Patriots' D-unit. And that's all she wrote.
St. Louis at Philadelphia: St. Louis
Cough cough cough. I can hear it already. That's the sound of the Eagles choking, again. For the third straight year. Philly may actually be the better team, here. But there's a mental barrier. And, in an ironic plot twist, the Rams are actually playing better outdoors. The Eagles' talent is undeniable, but the Rams' is more so. Rams to the Super Bowl.
Baltimore at New England: Baltimore
Call it hometown bias. Call it an awful prediction. Call it sheer madness. Call it what you will. Baltimore will still have the Lewises, a severely underrated QB in Anthony Wright, and a top-notch defense. They'll have all that, plus a huge jolt of confidence. If the underdog never wins, why would we bother to root for them?
The Super Bowl
St. Louis vs. Baltimore: Baltimore
I wouldn't be truly crazy unless I stuck with them, of course. Baltimore's got it all this year: a great running game, a great defense, and a consistent quarterback. This is the best Ravens team since… well, since they won the Super Bowl in 2000. When… well, when no one thought they could. I'd bet on another runaway game like the 2000 'Bowl, with the Rams' offense unable to keep up with the Ravens defense or incredible running game.
Nick Falgout. Nick Falgout was bored one day and decided to change his Chips staff information. And now, for a touching song lyric: "I'm a reasonable man, get off my case Get off my case, get off my case." ~ Radiohead, "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd … More »