William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson

2010-11 NFL Playoffs: Contenders Weekend

Is it safe to say that the pretenders are gone and the contenders remain? Unlike previous weeks I'm emphasizing prior records and matchups a little less because I'm lazy anyone left standing in the second week of the playoffs has either been playing well very recently or has played super well a little less recently and earned the first-round bye.

All times Atlantic


Baltimore Ravens (#5, AFC Top Wildcard) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (#2, AFC North Champions)
5:30pm - CBS, CTV

We open the weekend with a classic rivalry. The Ravens have a history of winning road playoff games, but the Steelers have been getting the best of them lately. The hype for this game is insane considering there's no Manning, Favre, or Brady in it, but Roethlisberger is no slouch. Speak of the guy, he had his nose broken by Ravens nose tackle Haloti Ngata in Week 13.

My pick: Baltimore finds a way to shut down the well-rested Steelers.

Green Bay Packers (#6, NFC Second Wildcard) @ Atlanta Falcons (#1, NFC South Champions)
9:00pm - FOX, CTV

Atlanta has a lot to prove, hosting their first home playoff game in six years. Green Bay is hot, having won their last three, shutting down Michael Vick last Sunday in a reasonably exciting game (though it didn't compare to the Saturday matches).

My pick: Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers rally for the win.


Seattle Seahawks (#4, NFC West Champions) @ Chicago Bears (#2, NFC North Champions)
2:00pm - FOX, CTV

Seattle can do no wrong right now. Chicago had a weak Week 17, scoring only 3 against Green Bay in a game that ended up meaning nothing, but nevertheless a game where they did play their starters. Seattle also won a Week 6 game at Chicago, 23-20.

My pick: The Seattle Seahawks find a way to win, but it will be less of a shock than last week.

New York Jets (#6, AFC Second Wildcard) @ New England Patriots (#1, AFC East Champions)
5:30pm - CBS, TSN

Can Jets coach Rex Ryan put a win where his mouth is for the second week in a row? (I'm assuming he wasn't talking smack about Buffalo in Week 17.) The New York Post has a great cover, "Return of the Jet-I", that you should see.

My pick: I'm (literally?) betting not. But this pick is mostly emotional - I want to enjoy a Samuel Adams while watching the Patriots throughly humiliate and utterly dismantle the Jets on Sunday night. The Jets are a legitimate contender. But - tautology alert - the Patriots are the Patriots.

* * *

If my picks hold out: Seattle will host Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game; New England will host Baltimore in the AFC Championship Game. If this comes to pass you'll probably never hear the end of me. So far my picking record is a poor 1-and-3, but if you count my betting on the Seahawks last week as a pick (a bet that I lost, because I had to bet on two games, and my other pick was Indy) it improves to 2-and-2. ;-p

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