Saturday, January 12, 2008

NFL Divisional Weekend Predictions

We are down to the elite 8 of the National Football League and this weekend is truly crunch-time.  What teams can rise to the occasion and win under enormous amounts of pressure with the entire nation watching them.

Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers
Saturday 4:30 Eastern, FOX
The Seahawks come into Lambeau off a 35-14 win over the Washington Redskins last week.  Even with the large point differential I remain unconvinced that Matt Hasselback can stay cool under pressure.  He missed numerous open receivers throughout the game and also threw two nasty interceptions.  On the other side of the ball, the Seattle defense is quick, strong, and very aggressive.  They will come after Brett Favre all game long, but if he can get rid of the ball quickly than the Packer's offense will be fine.  Favre will need to be looking for three and five step drop slant throws as he has been all season.  The running game will also play an important factor in this game.
Key Battle: Running game
MY PREDICTION: Green Bay 27, Seattle 17
Did You Know: Of Brett Favre's 4155 passing yards this season, almost half - 2,061 - have been Yards After Catch (YAC), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots
Saturday 8:00 Eastern, CBS
The Jaguars have to come to this game with a more than confident swagger if they even want to have a chance at this game.  In order to defeat the undefeated Patriots the Jags will need to pound the ball with Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew and keep Tom Brady and the rest of the Pat's potent offense off the field.  If this game starts to become a high scoring battle it may get out of hand early.  Unfortunately for Jacksonville they blew a big lead last week and I think that will carry over to Saturday night.
Key Battle: Jag's Time of Possession 
MY PREDICTION: New England 31, Jacksonville 24
Did You Know: That the Patriots are undefeated - if not than go read a newspaper!

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Sunday 4:30 Eastern, FOX
Personally I think is the most intriguing matchup of the four games this weekend.  Eli Manning is coming off his first career playoff win and may have finally found his groove, but don't be so sure.  The Giants got it handed to them twice earlier this season versus division rival Dallas. While the Giants look to be peaking, the Cowboys have lost two of the last three while averaging 10.3 points a game and a miserable 67 yards during this span, including a single rushing yard in Week 17.
Key Battle: 3rd Down Conversions - In Dallas's three losses this season they are a combined 5-35 (14.3 %) on converting third downs, while in their thirteen wins they are a combined 79-164 (48.2 %).
MY PREDICTION: NY Giants 31, Dallas 20
Did You Know: The Giants are 8-1 on the road this season, their one away loss in Week 1 to the Cowboys.

San Diego Chargers at Indianapolis Colts
Saturday 1:00 Eastern, CBS
The Colts have been flying under the radar in the AFC this season simply because of the Patriots.  For this group it may be a good thing.  San Diego was held scoreless last week in the first half against the Tennessee Titans and possibly could be without dominant tight end Antonio Gates.  I saw that the Colts win this game pretty handily.
Key Battle: Philip Rivers vs. himself
MY PREDICTION: Indianapolis 27, San Diego 14
Did You Know: Philip Rivers has thrown 15 INTs this season - 8 in 5 losses, 7 in 11 wins

No comments: