The first weekend of NFL Playoff action begins this weekend, and we'll be previewing all the games throughout the tournament, beginning today with Saturday's matchups.
AFC wild card - New York Jets (6) vs. Indianapolis Colts (3) 7:00 CST: Peyton Manning and the Colts have struggled this year, and didn't qualify for the playoffs until the last week of the season. The usually dominant Indy had been struck hard by the injury bug, and Manning was forced to throw to a lot of unfamiliar targets. But the Colts quarterback is no stranger to the post-season, and won't be shaken by the Jets blitzes. And he won't shy away from throwing towards Darrelle Revis.
The New York Jets haven't flown under anyone's radar this year, they're more media friendly than Broadway Joe and Hollywood Henderson combined. Between their training camp reality show, their penchant for smack-talk, and all their well-publicized sexual peccadilloes, it seems like the Jets are fueled by testosterone and fly on hot air. They're a good road team, but look for Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne to eliminate New York on Saturday.
NFC wild card - New Orleans (5) vs. Seattle Seahawks (4) 3:30 CST: The defending Super Bowl Champion Saints have had some setbacks this year, but overall have played well, even with injuries in the running game. Those injuries compounded with the news that Chris Ivory has been placed on IR.
But for one or two plays in the regular season, the Saints could easily have been the number one seed in the NFC.Their defense is swarming and relentless, and their dominance is one of the chief reasons that Drew Brees can take the chances he does. New Orleans is favored by 11 points, and it's easy to see why.
The Seattle Seahawks hosting a playoff game after going 7-9 in the regular season is an anomaly that has never occurred before. Some people are outraged enough to suggest changing the playoff format altogether. The Seahawks do have a '12th Man' in the noise generated by their fans, but unfortunately their 12th man is also their MVP. Seattle is going into the playoffs with a losing record and questions about who will start at quarterback. Neither Charlie Whitehurst or Matt Hasselbeck give the Seahawks enough to put them over the top against a quality opponent, and the Saints should have little trouble quieting their best player.
Tomorrow - We'll break down Sunday's games.