I took a swipe at Mike Florio the other day, tweeting "I'd sooner believe my cat with a Ouija Board as a credible source of information." It was a moment of inspiration. What could make for a better playoff prediction post? I relied on some internet friends to round out the field and feign credibility to the following exercise:
This is what happens when I have a week off until classes start. Now, I cannot pretend to know, nor do I possess the mental faculties necessary to fathom the manner in which "The Oracle" arrived at her respective prognostications. But, here's what I think about what I think:
Ravens @ Chiefs
The Chiefs have the best running offense in football. Sure, some of that is product of them playing close games, having an INSANELY easy schedule, relying on Jamaal Charles and having Matt Cassel under center. It's been their bread and butter all year. The Ravens, on the other hand have had a resurgence on the other side of the ball. Having given up plenty on the ground early on (four 100+ yds rushing opponents out of first 5) this season, they've righted the ship. Some will point to Ed Reed as the key cog, but it's really their defensive front that has been penetrating. Additionally, it has been Joe Flacco who is more to be begrudgingly commended for their +4 give/take ratio. He only threw 9 picks this year. But, oh you remember that one fumble, don't you Unibrow...
Saints @ Seahawks <----Click for the cat pick.
There's just no way. I DO think the fact that the line will likely reach 13 or so is interesting. Qwest Field is one of the few measurable home field advantages in the NFL. And I suppose Hasselbeck returning to call signals does mean they have a punchers chance as he's actually one of the more proficient QBs at identifying and eluding the blitz. But, he'll be relying on a pass offense that looked completely inept last week and a ground attack that is even worse. Turnovers and special teams don't really paint a prettier picture, either. This upset would certainly be Buster Douglas-esque.
Jets @ Colts <----Click for the cat pick.
Probably the closest game, when all is said and done. The sloppiest, too. I think the Jets' defense is overrated and will have to hit a few home runs (INTs & sacks) to keep them afloat. And Sanchez is the embodiment of a fatally flawed QB. But, I also think the Colts have to be relatively content with their simply having made the playoffs. Complacency kills in the playoffs. Don't get me wrong, Manning can certainly audible and hand signal his way to a win. And The Colts still have one of the better receiving corps in the playoffs. But, I wouldn't put my paycheck on them rolling, here, not with their battered, untested squad up against a younger, hungrier (literally) team.
Packers @Eagles <----Click for the cat pick.
Why are people taking the Pack in this one? Philly has better players at EVERY talent position. It's as simple as that. McCoy > Kuhn. DeSean Jackson > Greg Jennings. Vick > Rodgers. I think people need to back up off Aaron Rodger's jock. I was watching Mike & Mike and they BOTH picked him as number one in their BS "Confidence Picks," whatever that means. You guys remember they lost to the Redskins and Dolphins, right? Point to their schedule and show me the part where they dominated in any way. Hell, their most "impressive" win was last week where they edged out the Bears 10-3. In fact, the only other playoff teams they beat were the Eagles (week 1 w/ Kevin Kolb) and Jets (in a putrid 9-0 snooze-fest where Rodgers was 15/34 passing). Also, this game is IN PHILLY. Sorry, not buying the Green Bay.
Obviously, the satirical nature of my friggin' cat picking winners underscores the crap-shoot nature of Wild Card Weekend. As a Steeler fan, maybe I'm too wrapped up in rooting for Baltimore to lose. And as for the other AFC tilt, there's no sense trying to figure out which is better when they are literally about to determine that for us, in theory. Sure, I hate Manning, so I'd probably prefer the Jets win, even though they came in to Heinz and beat us.
Much thanks to the following for their input. If you don't have their sites in your reader you're life is clearly in shambles:
Sarah @ Black & Gold Tchotchkes
Cotter @ One For The Other Thumb
Tecmo @ Pittsburgh Sports And Mini Ponies
Cory @ Three Rivers Burgh Blog
Pat @ Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke?
Super Fans Josh and Bryan