2014 NFL Playoff Predictions: Seattle Seahawks to Win Super Bowl?
With each passing season, I seem to get a little better at making predictions. Last year was the first time I can remember both my Super Bowl teams making the playoffs. This year, both teams I picked to make the trip to New York (well, New Jersey), Seattle and Denver, are the No. 1 seeds in their respective conferences.
I wish I could say all my predictions were great, but having gone back and listened to Monday Morning Huddle in August, I had Houston in the AFC Championship Game and Atlanta with a first-round bye. Hopefully, the playoff predictions are a little better.
In what has been one of the craziest year's in NFL history, fans should probably expect most of the same in January, and with several storylines intriguing fans everywhere, the next 11 games are cannot miss football. How will Andrew Luck and Andy Dalton fair in their second and third playoff games? Are the Eagles this season’s dark horse? Will we see Peyton and Brady one more time in the playoffs? Can Seattle be beaten at home?
Here are my answers to all those questions and more:
AFC Wild Card
Kansas City at Indianapolis
This is a rematch of the Week 16 matchup at Arrowhead in which the Colts defeated the Chiefs 23-7. Both these teams slept walked through the last few weeks of the season coasting to the playoffs.
Heck, Kansas City sat half its starters in a meaningless game last week, but still nearly won. It will be interesting to see which team can turn it on and which one has more difficulty getting things going.
This game is also a rematch of the 2007 Wild Card Game in which I picked Kansas City to win. Then Indianapolis went on to win the Super Bowl.
I will not make the same mistake. Look for the Colts and Andrew Luck to continue having success moving the ball against the tough Chiefs defense.
San Diego at Cincinnati
If not for some real juice in this season’s Wild Card Weekend, this one would get more media hype. The team that barely got in the playoffs by winning its last four games, San Diego, goes up against an inexperienced playoff team that is undefeated at home, Cincinnati. Not only are the Bengals unbeaten in the jungle, the team outscored its opponents 275-134 in its eight games in Cincinnati.
These two teams also squared off this season and that was one of the rare road wins for the Bengals. Expect Cincinnati to give Mike McCoy a dose of his own medicine: run the ball, keeping the pressure off Dalton while controlling the clock.
NFC Wild Card
New Orleans at Philadelphia
This would probably be a lot more difficult to pick if the game were at the Big Easy. In Philadelphia, despite the home woos for the Eagles, Chip Kelly’s offense is clicking to well to expect Rob Ryan’s defense to slow them down at the Linc.
Any shot the Saints have relies on defensive end Cameron Jordan and company pressuring QB Nick Foles like the Cowboys did last week.
More than likely, Quarterback Drew Brees will have to go point-for-point with Foles and the Eagles. The Saints have not scored more than 20 points in a road game since Week 6 when New Orleans lost in New England.
San Francisco at Green Bay
In my opinion, this is the game of Wild Card Weekend even though it could get lopsided. For the fourth time in less than 17 months and the second time in the playoffs, these two teams will be on the same field. The 49ers have won all three of those previous contests. The Packers have the advantage of playing at home in the cold, but the 49ers are built to win in bad weather with great defense and a solid running game.
Green Bay ranks in the bottom 10 in both rushing yards and passing yards allowed. San Francisco will run Frank Gore early and often, getting a relative easy playoff victory.
San Francisco 30-17