The NFL Playoffs start this weekend with the four Wild Card teams traveling to the homes of the bottom two-division winners.
The top two teams in the AFC and the NFC both get a bye, as they will wait to see who their opponents will be in the Divisional Rounds.
Now let’s separate the winners form the losers, by looking at Wild Card Weekend game by game:
Indianapolis Colts vs. New York Jets*
The Jets defense loves to blitz the opposing QB, but won’t work because Manning gets better under pressure. Fact is the Jets defense was better in 2009 and Manning eat them alive in the second half of AFC Championship Game.
The Jets-D needs to figure out how to get back there and fast because the Colts O-line sits atop the NFL. Leadership is one of Manning’s biggest strengths, but it is quite the opposite for Jets QB Mark Sanchez, who floundered in the second half of the season.
The Colts defense’s weakness is stopping the run, so that should take some of the demands off Sanchez, as the Jets will run the ball a lot. LT and Shonn Greene will have to come up big for Game-green, hopefully resting Week 17 will help the tandem get healthy again.
Look for the Jets to use back-up QB Brad Smith to run the Wild Cat to shake-up the Colts-D, but the veteran defense with lots of playoff experience won’t be fooled that much.
Rex Ryan needs to get his head checked and “making it personal” with Manning is just setting up his team to get killed. Ryan just needs to put a foot in his mouth.
WINNER: COLTS BEAT JETS 28-10
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens*
The Chiefs are legitimate again, as Kansas City has football fever but facing the Ravens will be a huge test. The Chiefs ended the season losing at home to the Raiders, which left too many questions on the table.
The Ravens have only gotten better, and RB Ray Rice has finally found his feet towards in the second half of the season. Rice can pound the average Chiefs defense, but the Ravens offense is very balanced all-around and QB Joe Flacco has proven very solid at the helm.
The Chiefs offense relies heavily on the run game, with duo Jamal Charles and Thomas Jones. Ravens defense stops the run better than anyone, so Chiefs will be forced to throw.
QB Matt Cassel is just not reliable as a deep passer and the Ravens are weak defending deep, middle passes. Cassel will have to relay on his arm against playoff teams, and the Chiefs have not defeated a playoff team all season.
Arrowhead Stadium is known to be one of the nosiest and the fans have definitely done their part in 2010, so expect the place to be shaken on Saturday afternoon but it won’t be enough.
WINNER: RAVENS BEAT CHIEFS 21-6
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Green Bay Packers*