NFL Divisional Playoff Predictions

by Paul Raymond | Posted on Saturday, January 10th, 2009

NFL Divisional Playoff PredictionsOk, it’s been a few weeks since I made NFL predictions. With this being such a HUGGGEEE weekend in the NFL, I figured to get back to it and give you my thoughts on the games. Two games Saturday, two games Sunday, which team gets to move on and attempt to represent their conference in the Super Bowl? Let’s look.

Baltimore Ravens @ Tennessee Titans

This game has the look of a classic slugfest. Both teams finish great defenses, while both offenses would prefer to manage the game, the clock and just run the ball down your throat. With that being said this has the makings of a very low scoring team. These two teams played back on October 5th, the Titans one that game 13-10, thanks to a very late touchdown pass by Kerry Collins. The Ravens were able to move the ball on the ground, the Titans weren’t. The problem in that game was quaterback Joe Flacco was still relatively inexperienced and threw two interceptions. I’d say expect more of the same this week minus the picks by Flacco. My Call? Baltimore 16, Tennessee 10.

Arizona Cardinals @ Carolina Panthers

I believe this game is going to be a shootout. If any game this weekend has a chance to be one, it’s definitely this one. Arizona can put up some big numbers, to the tune of 26.7 a game the problem is those numbers drop to 23 a game on the road. They’re coming off a huge confidence boost thou after playing the hot Atlanta Falcons last week, so I don’t think they’ll be a drop off even with a strong Panthers defense. So the difference maker is going to be Jake Delhomme. We all know DeAngelo Williams is a beast and will definitely do his thing against the Cardinals defense. But will Jake be able to avoid mistakes? If he can avoid the turnovers then the Panthers chances increase dramatically. I think Jake comes up big in this game and the Panthers win. Final Score? Carolina 34, Arizona 27.

Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants
This is the biggest game of the weekend, not cause I’m a Giants fan, it just is. You got two divisional foes who absolutely hate each other, going toe to toe. One team is supposedly hot, the other isn’t. The Eagles have won 5 of 6, although very few have been in convincing fashion. The Giants have lost 3 of 4, even thou one of those was without the starters. So the question is do you go with the trends here? Hot team, cold team. No, not at all. Let’s look at the trends that really matter. The Eagles do have confidence there is no doubt about that, but can they really get it done on the road?

Yea, they beat the Vikings but they didn’t look good at all. The defense was amazing, but the offense was its usual atrocious self on the road. Eagles fans don’t give me that b.s. about Brian Westbrook, it was one play that he broke a couple tackles other then that he looked like a bum. The Eagles have struggled mightily on the road this year, over their past 6 games, they’ve only averaged 14.6 points a game on offense. They’re record over that time was 3-2-1, mainly thanks to the defense. They’re a very average offense on the road, maybe slightly below. For them to have a chance against the Giants they will need one of two things. One the offense to turn around its road struggles, which will be pretty tough to do facing a solid Giants defense that is more well rounded then the Vikings one that dominated the Eagles last week. The other is a huge game by the Eagles defense. For the Eagles to win I really believe the defense has to force turnovers and get at least one score. Their fans think DeSean Jackson will come up huge on special teams but how? Jeff Feagles is the best directional kicker in NFL history and will make sure that Jackson doesn’t get many chances to return a ball. For him to make an impact, they’ll have to throw him on the kick return unit.

The Giants have everyone healthy after their bye week which is a scary thing. A healthy offensive line and even healthier Brandon Jacobs is a scary thing. The Eagles did keep him in check last time they played, but I don’t think it will happen again. If Eli avoids the turnovers the Giants shouldn’t have a problem winning this game. It will still come down to the wire thou as it is an NFC East battle. Giants 24, Eagles 17

San Diego Chargers @ Pittsburgh Steelers

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This game has the potential to be a complete yawner or absolutely exciting. The last time these two played? Pittsburgh won 11 to 10, and you know what I think it’s going to be another low scoring affair. So many people are jumping on the Darren Sproles bandwagon and thinks he’s going to be a huge boost to this Chargers offense. I’ll give those people credit, he can do more things against this fast Steelers defense then LaDainian Tomlinson could. But remember LT is one of the greatest running backs in the NFL in recent memory, and you know what the Steelers did to him this year? Shut him down, he did have a touchdown but managed only 3.2 yards per carry. I think Sproles could have a good game, but it’s not going to be enough to beat this Steelers team. If Ben Roethlisberger is fully recovered from his concussion then I don’t see how the Steelers lose this game. Pittsburgh 17, San Diego 10.

There you go those are my picks, so if they hold true here are your matchups for next week.

AFC Championship Game – Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers
NFC Championship Game – Carolina Panthers @ New York Giants

Not only are those my predictions, but those would also be the two best for the viewing pleasure of NFL fans.

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