Following a 2-0 day on Saturday, I try my hand at picking the winners for Sunday’s game, including between two division rivals I’m pretty familiar with.
Seattle Seahawks @ Chicago Bears
While the Seahawks did their best to prove to the world that they belong in the playoffs last week, the Bears got the week off, and the good fortune to face a team with an 8-9 record in the divisional round.
For the Seahawks, they have consistently been a much better team at home for quite some time, and this year has proven to be no different. They are 6-3 at home against just 2-6 on the road this season. They’re going to have to travel across the better part of the country to take on the Bears, who are well rested from the week off.
Where it gets interesting is that the Seahawks do own a road win against these Bears, are coming off of a couple of victories, and have a lot of momentum. While the Bears did earn a first round bye, and have been playing better in the later stages of the season, it is difficult to have complete confidence in the Bears coming out and dominating anyone. Jay Cutler can be very Jekyll and Hyde, and Matt Hasselbeck is a veteran QB who has had a lot of success in the playoffs to this point. While I wouldn’t be shocked if Seattle were to upset the Bears, I think that the Bears defense is too good to allow them to get beaten.
Prediction: Bears squeak by Seattle 23-21.
New York Jets @ New England Patriots
The Jets and Patriots have been going back and forth in the media, and there has been a lot of talk about the Jets trying to rebound from a 45-3 beating they took at the hands of the Patriots.
The Jets had enough talent at the skill positions and on their defense to overcome the deficit they faced at the QB position. Mark Sanchez played pretty poorly to be the winning QB against a Peyton Manning-led team. They were able to control the line of scrimmage in the 2nd half and pound the Colts with the run, and even then they were barely able to hang on against the injury-riddled Colts.
The Patriots have been on a roll, and Bill Belichick has had a week off to prepare for either the Colts or the Jets. I think Belichick is probably happy with the team he wound up facing. Any one dimensional team is in trouble against Bill Belichick, and the Patriots have a lot of talent outside of the QB position to be able to counter the Jets. Also, since they have Vince Wilfork, they have someone that is stout against the run.
The Jets’ only chance is if they’re able to get pressure up the middle against Brady with some of their blitz schemes, however, I don’t like their chances in this one, even with the large spread they’ve given.
Prediction: Patriots 28 – Jets 13