Redskins vs Seahawks: The Redskins have come into the playoffs on a roll playing behind quarterback Todd Collins who has played great mistake-free football. Clinton Portis is also playing well with over 1200 yards and 11 touchdowns. Santana Moss is getting healthy as he has 2 touchdowns in his last 3 games. Chris Cooley is a very good option for Collins as he has over 775 yards along with 8 touchdowns.The defense is playing very well rallying around the death of safety Sean Taylor. Andre Carter leads the defense with 10 sacks and London Fletcher has 128 tackles on the season.
The Seahawks must be loving the fact that nobody is talking about them in the NFC. Matt Hasselbeck is playing very well with 28 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Sean Alexander needs to get healthy though as he is only averaging 3.5 yards a carry. If Alexander can’t go Maurice Morris has proved himself as a very good backup. Bobby Engram had a breakout season at receiver with over 90 catches and 1100 yards. DJ Hackett and Deion Branch are also very good options if healthy. Patrick Kearney is playing well with 14 sacks on the season along with Julian Peterson who has 10 sacks. The Redskins won’t be passing much on Marcus Trufant as he has 7 interceptions on the season.
Prediction: The Redskins have come very far to get to this point but considering that Seattle is an experienced team playing in a hostile environment I don’t think that the Redskins can pull it off. My predicted score is Redskins 17 Seahawks 21.
Jaguars vs Steelers: The Jaguars might be the only team in the league that would want to go to Pittsburgh for a playoff game. The Jaguars play the style of football that wins games in January as they have a great running game and a very physical defense. David Garrard has had a great season as he has 18 touchdowns with only 3 interceptions. Fred Taylor has finally made the Pro Bowl and deserves it after getting more than 1200 rushing yards and averaging 5.4 yards a carry. Maurice Jones-Drew is also a great runner for this weather as he gets most of his yards after contact and is a force near the goal line. Jones-Drew has more than 2000 all purpose yards along with 9 rushing touchdowns. Reggie Williams has stepped up the last few weeks and has become a serious threat with 10 touchdowns and 629 yards. The defense is very strong on the front 4 but without Marcus Stroud Rob Meier is filling in and is one of the most underrated defensive tackles in the league and mid season pickup Grady Jackson is a force in the middle. Rookie Justin Durant has also done a good job at outside linebacker while Daryl Smith moved to the middle to replace the injured Mike Peterson. The Jaguars have problems at safety as Reggie Nelson as a rookie can’t read defenses that well yet and Sammy Knight is getting older.
The Steelers faded at the end of the season but still have the players and experience to be serious contenders in the AFC. Ben Roethlisberger had a career season with 32 touchdowns. He was bothered by an ankle injury last time these teams played and hasn’t fully healed. With Willie Parker out with a broken leg,Najeh Davenport is the replacement and has done well so far. Davenport has 500 yards on the season along with 5 touchdowns. Hines Ward has played well as a posession receiver averaging 10 yards a catch with 7 touchdowns. Santonio Holmes has become the team’s big play threat averaging 18 yards a catch with 8 touchdowns. The defense was one of the best in the regular season as James Harrison had 8 sacks and forced 7 fumbles.Ike Taylor leads the team with 3 interceptions but the real key is if safety Troy Polamalu plays as he is the leader of the defense.
Prediction: Pittsburgh is a hard place to play but the Jags have proven that it can be done with a power running game. My prediction is the Jaguars 24 Steelers 20.
Giants vs Bucs: The Giants have been inconsistent this season but if the offense clicks like last week they are in good shape. If Eli Manning does a good job of managing the game and avoiding turnovers the Giants could win. Manning threw 23 touchdowns this season but came with 20 interceptions. Brandon Jacobs had some injury issues but when he gets going he is hard to stop. Jacobs had over 1000 yards and 4 touchdowns. Plaxico Burress is still an elite red zone threat as he had 12 touchdowns. The defense is led by Antonio Pierce who had 103 tackles on the season. Osi Umenyiora played very well getting 13 sacks on the season and Justin Tuck had 10 sacks with Michael Strahan adding 9, so this team can get to the quarterback. Sam Madison is getting older but led the team in interceptions with 4.
The Bucs have greatly improved from last year as they went from picking in the top 5 to winning the division. Some of that is due to the fact that they finally have stability at quarterback with Jeff Garcia’s 13 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Ernest Graham is playing well as he almost had 900 yards and added in 10 touchdowns. Joey Galloway can still play but the Bucs don’t know what they will get out of him each game. Galloway will either get you 140 yards and a touchdown or 1 catch for 18 yards. Derrick Brooks is the leader of the defense with over 100 tackles and provides great veteran leadership. Greg White leads the team with 8 sacks and rookie Gaines Adams came on late in the season with 6 sacks.Jermaine Phillips leads the team with 4 interceptions and Ronde Barber had 2 more. Barber has been a great player but his quality of play has been slipping.
Prediction: The problem with predicting this game is what Giants team will show up? But with the veteran presence in the locker room I think they will. My predicted score is Giants 20 Bucs 14.
Titans vs Chargers: The Titans have exceeded expectations this season as many experts didn’t think they could make the next step. Vince Young hasn’t turned into a elite quarterback yet as he only threw for 9 touchdowns. The 17 interceptions won’t help either. Young might not play as he has a quad injury but Kerry Collins might be the better option as he has more big game experience. The running game has improved as LenDale White has proved that he can carry the load with over 1100 yards and 7 touchdowns. Justin Gage has emerged as one of Young’s favorite targets and has 750 yards and 2 touchdowns on the season. The team is in trouble with both Roydell Williams and Bo Scaife missing the rest of the playoffs. David Thornton leads the team with 122 tackles while Keith Bulluck had 88 tackles along with 5 interceptions and provides great veteran leadership. Kyle Vanden Bosh has had a Pro Bowl campaign as he has 12 sacks. Albert Haynesworth is also a force in the middle and when he doesn’t play teams run all over the Titans
The Chargers have won the last 6 games they have played and might be the hottest team in the league.Philip Rivers threw for 21 touchdowns but is very inconsistent as he also threw 15 interceptions. The Chargers still have one player that keeps them in every game and that’s LaDainian Tomlinson.Tomlinson led the league in rushing once again and had over 1800 total yards and 18 touchdowns. Antonio Gates also played very well as he almost had 1000 yards along with 9 touchdowns. Chris Chambers has been a good addition to the team as he has gotten over 550 yards and 4 touchdowns. The defense is one of the fastest in the league as Shawne Merriman leads the way with 12 sacks. Sean Phillips is also playing well with 8 sacks.Antonio Cromartie led the league in interceptions with 10.
Prediction: The Chargers have struggled in the playoffs the last few years but with the lack of quarterback play for the Titans this one should be an easy win.My prediction is Titans 16 Chargers 28.