It's almost time for the NFL Playoffs to begin and the regular season is coming down the homestretch. Who will make the playoffs in the AFC and NFC this season? Now, I will give you my AFC predictions first, then my NFC predictions after that.
#3 Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) vs #6 New York Jets (10-6): This game could've been San Diego hosting New York, but I see them finishing 9-7. This game will be the best rushing team versus one of the best defenses in the NFL. I don't know how Mark Sanchez can get out of his current slump and send the Jets to a hostile Arrowhead Stadium and pull out a win. I have to go with the Chiefs in this game 24-16.
#4 Indianapolis Colts (10-6) vs #5 Baltimore Ravens (11-5): Peyton Manning will put the Colts on his back and carry them over the Jaguars and win the AFC South. Indianapolis can't be who they are right now against a great Ravens team. Unlike last year, the Ravens have a lot better offense with Baltimore adding Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmanzadeh in the offseason. One problem faces the Ravens though, this game will be at Indianapolis where they have struggled mightily since Lucas Oil Stadium opened. That is why I see Indianapolis pulling this game out over Baltimore 31-20.
#3 Chicago Bears (11-5) vs #6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-6): This is a heavy mismatch if the Bears can be like the Bears of old unlike when they were dismanled by New England yesterday. Tampa Bay has been lucky all year and will have to try to win in snowy Chicago. Every team from the the south the last few years who have visited Soldier Field have failed. I see that trend continuing in a blowout of Tampa Bay 41-9.
#4 St. Louis Rams (8-8) vs #5 New Orleans Saints (12-4): Will there be another blowout in the NFC Wildcard Round? There's a good chance of it happening, but Steven Jackson and Sam Bradford will have something to say about that. One thing though they're playing the defending Super Bowl champions, not the Carolina Panthers. Saints blow up the Edward Jones Dome by routing St. Louis 35-10.
#1 New England Patriots (14-2) vs #4 Indianapolis Colts (10-6): Peyton Manning versus Tom Brady what else should I say about this matchup. The last time they played, New England squeaked out a victory over Indianpolis 31-28. That was when the Colts were missing most of there starters, now they're starting to get healthy with Austin Collie and Joseph Addai returning soon. With that said, I see Indianapolis pulling the biggest upset of the playoffs beating New England in the snow 28-24.
#2 Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3) vs #3 Kansas City Chiefs (11-5): This game will be a defensive classic. You have Pittsburgh facing the number one rush offense in the NFL. I just don't see Kansas City pulling this off against the Steelers. Pittsburgh wins this game 17-13 and advances to play Indianapolis in the AFC Championship Game.
#1 Atlanta Falcons (13-3) vs #5 New Orleans Saints (12-4): Atlanta Falcons will have to show what they've come to be a top team in the NFL. They will have to play division foe New Orleans to try to make it to the NFC Championship Game. They have a balanced offense led by Matt Ryan and Michael Turner unlike the unbalanced Saints offense. I see Atlanta's balanced offense paying dividends by running out the clock with a win over New Orleans 35-34.
#2 Philadelphia Eagles (12-4) vs #3 Chicago Bears (11-5): This is a rematch from earlier in the regular season when Philadelphia lost to Chicago at Soldier Field. This time it's played at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia in the playoffs. Michael Vick leads the powerful Eagles offense versus the Bears defense. Vick leads the Eagles past the Bears with a 24-20 victory.
#2 Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3) vs #4 Indianapolis Colts (10-6): Peyton Manning did the impossible by beating New England. Now, he has to face a very good Steelers defense in Pittsburgh. Ben Roethlisberger will have to avoid a great pass rush of Indianapolis, but he's one of the best at escaping sacks as shown in Super Bowl 43. Peyton Manning and the Colts magic carpet ride will end abruptly with Troy Polamalu picking off Manning multiple times in a loss to Pittsburgh 27-17. Pittsburgh advances to their third Super Bowl since Super Bowl 40. (Super Bowl 40, 43, and 45)
#1 Atlanta Falcons (13-3) vs #2 Philadelphia Eagles (12-4): Michael Vick returns to Atlanta to face his old team for a chance to go to the Super Bowl. Vick will lead Philadelphia over Matt Ryan and the Falcons due to Vick's explosive running ability along with his great throwing arm. I'm sure Andy Reid will let Vick run the show against his old team for a chance to go to the Super Bowl. Vick now will lead Philadelphia to Dallas to play in state opponent Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl. This would be Philadelphia's first Super Bowl game since Super Bowl 39 in a loss to New England.
#2 Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3) vs #2 Philadelphia Eagles (12-4): Wow, what a Super Bowl matchup as Michael Vick plays Ben Roethlisberger in a Pennsylvania showdown in Super Bowl 45. This will be one of the more hyped Super Bowl matchup in a long time. If you add in Vick and Roethlisberger's issues in their careers this is a redemption year for both. Overall, I have to go with the high powered offense over the high powered defense in this Super Bowl matchup. I see Michael Vick and Philadelphia winning Super Bowl 45 over Pittsburgh 34-24.