Here are my picks & predictions for the wildcard round. I finished my regular season picks with a record of 172-84 (67%). I beat Pete Prisco and most of the "experts". Let's see how I can do in the playoffs:
Jets @ Bengals-- I expect the Bengals to show up for this one. The Jets have the #1 run defense and the #1 running game in the NFL. But Marvin Lewis and Mike Zimmer are too good at what they do NOT to make some adjustments from the week 17 game. Carson Palmer is a better QB than Mark Sanchez. Expect the Bengals to take the shackles off & involve Palmer a bit more in the offense with plenty of throws away from Darrelle Revis. It's a slug fest between two good defenses. My gut tells me the home team comes out on top.
Packers @ Cardinals-- The Packers are peeking at the right time. The O-line is playing much better. Aaron Rodgers has done as good a job as any QB can do replacing Brett Favre. The running game is jiving now with Ryan Grant. And, what many may not know is that the Packers finished the regular season as the #2 defense in the league. Don't be shocked to see the Packers in the Superbowl. The Cardinals are simply outmatched in this contest, and Kurt Warner's best days are behind him. The Cards will play hard and make it interesting, but Aaron Rodgers makes one more big play than Warner.
Eagles @ Cowboys-- Despite the sweep of the Eagles during the regular season, all of the pressure will be on Tony Romo in this one. Donnovan McNabb has won in the playoffs. Tony Romo has not. I expect the Eagles will be much better prepared and will change things up a bit to throw the Cowboys off their rhythm both on offense and defense. Expect the Eagles to win the turnover battle, and for the Cowboys drought of playoff victories to continue.
Ravens @ Patriots-- The Patriots have lost, in my opinion, their most valuable player in Wes Welker. Most think Tom Brady carried this team this season. I disagree. In games Wes Welker missed this season, Tom Brady's passer rating was below 70. The Ravens are not buying the Tom-Brady-broken-ribs story either, and they are preparing accordingly. The defense of the Pats is also aging and has been vulnerable in the passing game. Look for Ray Rice and Joe Flacco to put an end to the Patriots home game winning streak and pull off the upset.