The first weekend of the 2010 NFL playoffs is in the books and now it is time for the remaining eight teams to show us what makes them the best of the rest. Here is a look at the four divisional playoffs games for the upcoming weekend.
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons
The Packers, who earned a hard fought win on the road in Philadelphia, will now travel down to warmer weather to take on a rested Atlanta Falcons team. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was solid at the helm, completing 18 of 27 passes for 180 yards with 3 touchdowns. The offensive success was fueled by their third down efficiency was 8 of 13 or 61.5%.
The Falcons enter this contest with an offense that is ranked fifth in the NFL with 25.9 points per game and completed 46.7% of their third downs, which was third best in the NFL. There is a reason why the Falcons earned the top seed through the 2010 NFL playoffs and they will remind us this weekend.
Prediction – Atlanta 31 Green Bay 27
Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears
The Seahawks pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the history of the game and as a reward they will need to travel to Chicago to take on the Bears. The Seahawks’ offense came alive against the Saints and rack up 41 points against the New Orleans Saints with 415 yards of total offense.
While it is tempting to go with the hot hand, you can not overlook the performance of the Bears’ defense in 2010. Marshawn Lynch, the hero from wildcard weekend, is going to have a harder time breaking as many tackles this time around. As a result, the Bears will earn a home playoff win.
Prediction – Chicago 27 Seattle 10
New York Jets at New England Patriots
The Jets returned to their roots with a dominant running game and a defense that knocked around the Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. The Jets carried the ball 38 times and gained 169 yards on the ground. This performance by Shone Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson helped carry the inept performance of quarterback Mark Sanchez.
Even without the big names, the Patriots have too much on the offensive side for the Jets to match them point for point. They have had two weeks to plan for a team that they absolutely dominated in q 45-3 win at the beginning of December. The game will remain close through the first half but the Patriots will pull away and earn an easy win as they advance to the Championship game.
Prediction – New England 31 New York 20
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Ravens made sure not to let any of the teams left in the NFL playoffs to under estimate their defense. The unit dominated the Kansas City Chiefs by holding them to 161 total yards of offense and forced 5 turnovers. The seven points, scored by the Chiefs, was their lowest point total of the season except for the one time the San Diego Chargers were shutout during the regular season.
The Steelers, rested and fresh off a bye week, will play host to one of their most heated rivals this weekend. If they want to come away with a win, they will need to have a balance offensive attack to help keep the aggressive Ravens defense on their heels. By the time the helmets are done flying around, the Ravens will eek out a close win over the Steelers.
Prediction – Baltimore 24 Pittsburgh 21