2008 Playoff Predictions: In Picture Form
It's playoff time and even though the Jacksonville Jaguars are absent, there's no reason why we can't enjoy January. Long-time readers of the site will know that when I do my "predictions", 80% of my logic is made up of irrational biases and silly "rules", thereby rendering any potential value of following my picks down to nearly zero. If anything, it's just a fun way to look at the games and lighen up after a week of firings, end of season press conferences, and other issues. If you're a fan of a team I pick against and find yourself upset, I respectfully question your reading comprehension.
On to the picks
I never, ever, ever like picking a rookie quarterback to win on the road in the playoffs. That said, the Arizona Cardinals are only in the playoffs because they were just good enough to beat up on their own division. They don't do well against good teams and the combination of Mike Smith's defense with the running attack of Michael Turner and careful ball management (haha) by Matt Ryan means that the Falcons will be the superior avian.
Besides, no self respecting Jaguars fan could root against Mike Smith. He's about the only bright spot coming out of Jacksonville this season.
PREDICTION: Atlanta by 10
I broke character for a bit this season and advocated for giving the MVP to Peyton Manning. This would be the first time I've actually gone out of my way to say something positive about Peyton, despite the yearly annoyance and heartbreak at his hand year in and year out. I even respect what the Colts have done to overcome injury and adversity, considering that they lost about as many linemen as the Jaguars did, it really goes to show how some teams can pull themselves up and out of a hole while other teams (cough cough) stay in the rut.
But don't think for a second that I'm buying the Colts over the Chargers. I'll take the punk-ass Phillip Rivers, an aging LT2, and a one legged Antonio Gates over the completely one dimensional Indianapolis Colts. You run to win in the playoffs, and while the Colts are very good at passing and defense, the Chargers will ball control the Colts to a one and done. The way to beat a surging Manning is to keep him off the field, the Chargers can do that on offense, therefore the Chargers will win.
PREDICTION: San Diego by 3
I've spent the last two weeks in Miami and I've caught Phin-Pheaver. It's not even Phunny how much I want to see the Dolphins beat up on the Ravens, and there's not even an irrational bias against Baltimore at play. Then again, the last time I watched the Dolphins in a playoff game, the Jaguars won 62-7 and Dan Marino retired. Baltimore has all the elements of a Super Bowl contender, shut down defense and careful but confident offense. But I can't possibly pick two rookie quarterbacks to win on the road, so I'm going with a Dolphins win.
PREDICTION: Dolphins by 2
Andy Reid breaks every rule of football that I know, especially when it comes to proper clock management and running the ball. Frankly, I think the Eagles are an organization that needs a major shakeup at the top, simply because I think they're stuck in a system that's past the point of diminishing returns. Much like the Denver Broncos.
But then there's the Vikings who will ride Adrian Peterson until his legs fall off. If I were him, I'd start to get just nicked up enough so that Chester Taylor gets a little closer to 50% of the carries. Right now Peterson is carrying the ball 78% of the time, putting him dangerously close to the 400 carry season mark, the same one that destroyed Shaun Alexander and Larry Johnson.
Oh, the Eagles win this game, only after making many poor decisions on 3rd down and nearly giving the game to the Vikings late in the 4th quarter.
PREDICTION: Eagles by 1