Great discussion men!
Let's go deeper!
Many of you mentioned that Seattle is a terrible place to play for visiting teams. That's undeniable. The Hawks were 5-3 at home and are far superior to their woefulness away from Qwest field. In addition, both of the Saints best "running" backs are out (Ivory and Thomas) so its quite likely Drew will be throwing on 90% of their offensive plays. The more you drop back the more likely sack fumbles and interceptions are. If the Hawks can create 2-3 turnovers, they may win. I don't Seattle will succeed offensively, but if they get points on defense and special teams, who knows. That being said, I think the Saints will have enough in their passing game to win at the end. Given their RB issues, I don't think I like the Saints in the next round. Pierre Thomas is a key for them!
The Colts are extremely beatable; Pierre Garcon is not as healthy or efficient as he was last year. Without Collie, Gonzalez and Clark, Peyton just doesn't have many go to go players. The Jets will try and take Wayne out of the game and will mostly succeed. Jacob Tamme will likely key the Indy offense and will have a big game inside. I also think the Colts will have some success with Addai running the football and catching it out of the backfield. Mostly though, I don't expect the Jets to succeed offensively; Sanchez is inconsistent. I think the Colts will stymie the Jets running game and do a good job forcing punts. The Jets can win, in my estimation, with special teams and/or defensive TD's. If they shorten the field for their offense, they've got a good chance. I see this one going to OT (remember new OT rules this post season) with the Colts prevailing on a long TD to Wayne.
Jets 23 OT
KC/Bal is very tough to predict. Baltimore did win 12 games but, for me, they are unimpressive on Offense and defense. They have BY FAR the best special teams in the NFL. They have two fantastic kickers, a great return game, and suffocating coverage teams. Because of this, they don't need as much from their other two teams. Their offense has a lot of talent. Flaco has an incredibly powerful arm and is quite accurate. they have an exceptional group of receivers and a good OL. I don't understand why their offense has been bad most of the season. It should be much better than it has been. But, based on 16 games, there's no reason to expect that all of a sudden they'll hit their stride on offense. Defensively, they've shown all year that they breakdown in the 4th quarter. They seem to tire. KC is also very flawed and is likely the least talented playoff team in the AFC this year. Having said that they do draw the best results out of limited talent. The Ravens should win this game based on their superior ability but playing in KC and with KC ability to run the football and control the clock, I expect this to be a FG game and possibly go to OT. If this game is close at the end, KC has a great chance. I expect the Ravens to win with exceptional special teams play.
My favorite game of the weekend is the last one. I have great respect for both of these teams. I think these are the two most talented and well coached teams playing this weekend. I think the winner has a great chance of getting to the Super Bowl. The Pack are the most talented 10 win team in over 20 years. Each of their 6 losses were games they quite easily could have (and in some cases deserved) to win. This could be an undefeated team. They have a suffocating defense that I believe is the best in the league. Clay Matthews is off the charts in ability and desire. Woodson is a terrific play-maker. They get to the QB! Aaron Rogers is the best QB in the NFL and has been for 2-3 years. He does everything well (except slide). He's exceptionally calm, has a rocket arm and sees the field like a surgeon. They have no running game (though Starks shows some promise). If they're able to run the ball at all, they won't be beat. The Pack are one of the worst teams on special teams. They're punter has been inconsistent; they're coverage teams are awful; they're return teams are average 9though better on punt returns). They're not as bad as SD, but their special teams have cost them games this year. Michael Vick, though I can't forgive him for his treatment of animals, is the most talented offensive player in the NFL. The Eagles have amazing speed and grace on offense. They can't be stopped but because their defense is average, if GB can hold them 20 points or less, I think the Pack win. The key to the game; Asante Samuel; he's a gifted CB and guesses very well. A pick 6 for Phily tilts the game in their favor.