Jets (11-5) @ Colts (10-6)
This matchup will be one of the best the first round has to offer. It was less than one year ago when the football world witnessed the Colts defeat the Jets in the AFC finals and proceed to lose in the Super Bowl. This season has not gone as smoothly for the Colts, but they still have a not so secret weapon, Peyton Manning. When it looks like all is lost and the Colts are underdogs to the Jets, who had a better regular season record, there’s Peyton Manning. He is one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.
This season was not one of Manning’s finest having several very poor performances, but with Austin Collie and Joseph Addai back from injury along with Reggie Wayne, the Colts are ready for the post season. The Jets are no slouch either, second year quarterback Mark Sanchez has shown improvement this season looking more comfortable in the pocket. The team that lost in last year’s AFC finals added star receiver Santonio Holmes and one of the best running backs of all time in LaDainian Tomlinson to their offensive arsenal, while adding veteran OLB Jason Taylor to their already impressive defence. Unfortunately, for the Jets they will be going to Indianapolis and the only thing deadlier than Peyton Manning is Peyton Manning at home.
Ravens (12-4) @ Chiefs (10-6)
The Kansas City Chiefs have dethroned the Chargers as the super power in the AFC West. The Chiefs are a strong up and coming team with strong pieces such as QB Matt Cassel, RB Jamaal Charles, and WR Dwayne Bowe. All of these players had very impressive seasons and with home field advantage they could have a very dangerous offense.
The Baltimore Ravens have been one of the toughest, hardnosed, ferocious defensive teams in the past decade. With Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and the rest of their hard hitting defenders, the Chiefs offense will likely be slowed. Unlike past years, the Ravens have offense. This season the Ravens offense really started to come to life. Joe Flacco is maturing as a quarterback and Ray Rice just achieved his second consecutive 1,000 year season. Along with those players the Ravens have revamped their offence this year with wide receivers Anquan Boldin, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh to go along with Derrick Mason and tight end Todd Heap. Even on the road the veteran Ravens defence will be able to hold off the Chiefs offense.
Packers (10-6) @ Eagles (10-6)
Along with the AFC’s 3rd and 6th matchup, this game will be another great one. The Packers were early favourites to win the super bowl this season, but due to several key injuries their plans took a detour and they had to squeak into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season. The Eagles were considered to most as the 3rd best team in their division behind the Cowboys and Giants with Kevin Kolb at the helm. Both of these teams were not expected to finish in the positions they did.
Two things are consistent with both of these teams though, which are that they both have battled great adversity this season and they both have outstanding quarterbacks in Vick and Rodgers. In the running back matchup the Packers lost a key piece, Ryan Grant, early in the season so McCoy of the Eagles definitely beats out Jackson of the Packers at that position. The Eagles also have better receivers than the Packers with Jackson, Maclin, and Avant over Jennings and Driver. The final offensive position, tight end, has also been won by the Eagles with Celek because Finley of the Packers has been hurt all season. The final important category is defence which goes to the Packers. Vick and the Eagles love using the big play especially with Jackson, but Charles Woodson and the Packers secondary will be able to minimize the damage of the Eagles explosive offense.
Saints (11-5) @ Seahawks (7-9)
Before I tell you about how badly the Saints will kill the Seahawks, I would like to congratulate the Seahawks for finishing with an under .500 record and still winning the pathetic NFC West. Enjoy your one game because the Rams will be older and better and over .500 next year. Although the Saints had a short finals hangover, they still managed to pull off a 11-5 record. The Saints are better than the Seahawks top to bottom, from Brees to Colston to Sharper. Offensively and defensively the Saints are better than the Seahawks and by a large margin.
This year wildcard teams will beat division winners 3-1 and the wildcard teams are so good they could give the teams with bye weeks a run for their money.
What are your predictions?