Saturday, January 4, 2014

NFL Playoff Predictions, 2014

Wild Card Weekend
#4 Colts vs #5 Chiefs
Weather could have a large impact on this game if the Colts would happen to open the retractable roof.. But, since that isn't going to happen, this will be the only game that won't have to deal with subpar weather conditions.  Both teams somewhat greatly overachieved this season.  I would like to pick against both teams..  Seven defensive touchdowns for the Chiefs on the year, which was the best in the NFL.  The Colts have beaten quality opponents, the Chiefs have not.  

Indy had 14 TOs on the season while the New York Giants had 44.  The Colts played the tough NFC West and the poor AFC South, while the Chiefs played the tough AFC West and the semi-poor NFC East division.  The Colts have the much better quarterback and a much better record against common opponents.  

Running Charles 60% would probably be the right decision for the Chiefs.  Indy is the better team and, if not for some injuries and beating the Chiefs in the regular season, they would be my pick.  All of this should lead me to picking the Colts, but I think  that in this game the Chiefs won't have a net TO deficit of 4, more penalties, and 19 fewer plays than the Colts.  #5 Chiefs win.

#3 Bengals vs #6 Chargers
Similar scenario for this game as the Colts-Chiefs game.  This will be the third week that the Bengals will have prepared for the Chargers, since Cincinnati had a bye week to prepare for the Chargers in their matchup this season.

Each of Philly's home openers from the past four years went on to win the SB. The Eagles happened to face the Chargers in their opener this season.  Cincy has the advantage up front on both sides of the ball, but I can't quite trust Dalton to win a playoff game over Rivers.  Even though Dalton may not need to anyways..  (The AFC side of the playoffs is about to become very lopsided with the AFC West..)  #6 Chargers victory

#6 Saints vs #3 Eagles
The Superdome Saints and the Saints on the road are two entirely different teams.  Philly has a complete lack of quality victories. The Saints have some impressive victories, but they occur in New Orleans.  Weather will probably not affect the game's result as much as people think.  The Eagles are the poorer team overall, but at home I think they can pull off the victory.  #3 Eagles win.

#4 Packers #5 49ers
The 49ers had a few quality wins, while the Packers had effectively none.In previous matchups the 49ers have dominated the Packers on the offensive side of the ball.  Both teams have somewhat legitimate SB aspirations.

I don't think that Kaepernick throws for 400+ yards and Vernon Davis gets 200+ yards receiving in this game, just saying.  Weather will be a somewhat significant factor in this game.  San Francisco is one of the top 5 teams in the NFL, but Rodgers proves to be the difference in the game.  If the QBs were to be reversed, then I would have the 49ers favored by 10 and they would be the clear pick..  However, that is not the case, and as such I will pick the 3rd upset in 4 games.  #4 Packers prevail

Divisional Round
#1 Broncos vs #6 Chargers
I think that three teams can win in Denver: The Patriots, the Bengals, and the Chargers.   This could be an interesting game, especially since the Chargers often seem to have Manning's number, but if it occurs then I think that the Broncos can overwhelm the Chargers with their firepower on offense.  Manning gets one monkey off his back with a playoff victory with the Broncos.  #1 Broncos win.  

#2 Patriots vs #5 Chiefs
This was my least researched pick, the Chiefs would have a chance to win this game, but it would be a very small one.  I would expect NE to have a somewhat methodical 10 point victory.  #2 Patriots overwhelm.  

#1 Seahawks vs #4 Packers
Of the four remaining teams in the NFC, only the Panthers cannot win the SB. With a healthy Harvin, I would take the Seahawks at home without a second thought.  This game had a bit of a domino effect on my picks, this game partially determined the SB winner, whoever that would be. I analyzed this game the longest, but eventually came to the conclusion that Seattle would win. #1 Seahawks win.

#2 Panthers vs #3 Eagles
This was a somewhat tough game to pick.. But, I finally decided that Chip Kelly and Nick Foles could figure out how to beat Cam Newton and the Panthers. #4 Eagles victory.

Wild Card Divisional  Championship  Super Bowl  

Broncos        Bye 70 45 25
Patriots        Bye 70 30 10
Bengals 60 15 10
Colts 55 25 10
Chiefs 45 5

Chargers 40 15 5
(Total %) 200 200 100 35

Seahawks        Bye 75 40 35
Panthers        Bye 35

Eagles 55 30 25 10
Packers 40 25 15 10
49ers 60 30 15 10
Saints 45 5 5
(Total %)
200 200 100 65

Conference Championship Round
#1 Broncos vs #2 Patriots
Despite the Wild-Card weekend upsets, the Championship in the AFC ended up being very heavy-favorite.  Brady vs Manning for a chance to play in the SB.  I contemplated whether or not the Pats could pull off a cold weather win in Denver, and while it can certainly happen, I think that the Broncos will be able to push past the Patriots smoke and mirrors act.  The #1 Broncos' win a close game over the #2 Patriots.

File:Russell Wilson vs Jets, November 11, 2012.jpg
The Seahawks and Russell Wilson,
 the SB MVP, 
 continue Peyton
Manning's playoff struggles.  

(Author of the photo: Larry Maurer)
#1 Seahawks  vs #3 Eagles
This could be a very interesting matchup, with Philly's high-flying offense facing the dominating Seattle defense, but the other side of the ball would likely be much less interesting because Seattle would be able to get past the sieve of Philly's defense.  During my research of the Seahawks I was generally impressed with how Wilson acts as a person.  I don't completely like thinking that liberal Seattle will get to the SB, but the Eagles defense likely won't be able to provide very much competition.
#1 Seahawks overwhelm.

Super Bowl XLVIII
#1 Seahawks vs #1 Broncos
Despite not liking to pick favorites, somehow I think that the two #1 seeds will be playing each other in the SB.  Although, at least it is sort of unconventional to pick favorites, considering that picking favorites in the NFL is a bad way to go in the playoffs since in 5 of the last 7 seasons the SB winner has played on Wild Card Weekend and of the last 15 SBs the two #1 seeds have only been in it together once.  If it were to occur, then I do think that this high-profile matchup would be a fairly good game, and that Wilson could pass the Seahawks to victory in the end.  The Seahawks succeed as Super Bowl champions, 30-20.

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