After going one for two yesterday, I try my hand at picking Sunday’s Wild Card games:
Baltimore Ravens @ Kansas City Chiefs
The Ravens head into Kansas City as three point favorites. The Ravens are continuing their evolution from a defensive team with a caretaker offense to a more dynamic offense and a less dominating defense. Joe Flacco continues to be a solid young QB who has led the Ravens to the playoffs in each of his three seasons.
The Chiefs have turned around the fortunes of their franchise mostly behind their new defense. Charlie Weis has helped Matt Cassel to have a very good year, and Jamaal Charles has averaged over 6 yards per carry. However, Tamba Hali and the defense is the real strength of this team.
I think that the Ravens defense still has enough to be able to give Matt Cassel trouble. The Ravens can force teams to turn the ball over and the Chiefs will need to win the turnover battle in a big way to be able to overcome the Ravens. I don’t see that happening as the Ravens offense will put up enough points to make the Chiefs be more aggressive than they’d like to on offense.
Prediction: Ravens beat the Chiefs on the road 23-13.
Green Bay Packers @ Philadelphia Eagles
In my opinion, this is the most intriguing matchup of the weekend. The Packers and Eagles game could very well determine which team will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
The Packers have Aaron Rodgers, who is a very effective passer against the blitz. As we saw yesterday, in a surprise to yours truly, Matt Hasselbeck showed that some QBs are just better against that type of defense. Despite not having Ryan Grant, the Packers have made it into the playoffs behind Aaron Rodgers, their talented receivers, and a hard nosed defense.
The Eagles have to hope Michael Vick can return to form against Green Bay. For the Eagles to revenge their 27-20 home loss earlier in the season, they will need to force a couple of turnovers and be able to have Michael Vick beat the pressure that the Packers can bring.
I actually think that the Packers have the QB and the defense to take them all the way to the Super Bowl, and that the Eagles will fall short.
Prediction: Packers win, 31-27.