We’ve already shared our picks for Saturday’s playoff games. Here are the picks for Sunday’s games…
Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs – Sunday, 12:00 p.m. CT on CBS
Mike: Can a 12-4 team be underrated? If so, Baltimore is the shining example. The Ravens have logged impressive road wins against the Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers this season, proving they can get the job done against quality teams in hostile environments. On Sunday they’ll play another quality team in a (really) hostile environment, and I think they’ll get the job done. Kansas City has impressive speed and talent on offense, but Baltimore’s stingy and veteran defense will be a step ahead. Terrell Suggs will get to QB Matt Cassel and the Chiefs RB tandem of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones will not get away from Ray Lewis and Co.
Prediction: Ravens 34, Chiefs 10
Ryan: Prior to last week’s debacle at home against the Raiders, the Chiefs had been playing as well as anyone in the NFL, as their last loss with starting QB Matt Cassel in the lineup was on November 14. However, the 31-10 loss to the Raiders – which was Kansas City’s first home loss of the season – is troubling. The Ravens are coming off a pair of unimpressive wins over Cleveland and Cincinnati, but they have just 1 loss in their last 7 games. One would assume the Chiefs will look to establish their stout run game, but it won’t be easy against the Ravens 5th-ranked rushing defense. Conversely, Ray Rice has really come on for Baltimore in recent weeks, and Kansas City has given up over 200 rushing yards in 2 of their last 4 games. Baltimore has experience going on the road and winning playoff games, so look for that to continue on Sunday.
Prediction: Ravens 20, Chiefs 17
C.J.: This game will be won at the line of scrimmage. The league’s best ground game in the Chiefs will line up against a stingy Ravens defense anchored by veteran LBs Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs and ball-hawking S Ed Reed. The Ravens are riding a 4-game winning streak into Sunday’s matchup, due large in part to RB Ray Rice’s impact on offense. The 5-8, 212-pounder has averaged 107.3 yards in the last 3 games with 2 TDs. Rice can also catch the ball out of the backfield and I think he’ll be a major factor in the outcome of this game.
Prediction: Ravens 20, Chiefs 16
Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles – Sunday, 3:30 p.m. CT on FOX
Mike: My heart says Eagles because I want Green Bay to be eliminated. But my head says Packers because I believe Vick is still injured and the Packers will follow a plan similar to the Vikings, where blitzes came early and often. Don’t get me wrong, Philadelphia has the athletes to beat a blitz-happy attack, plus I think Andy Reid is one of the best coaches in the NFL. But I question Philadelphia’s ability to stop the Packers aerial attack and I don’t question Green Bay’s ability to stifle Michael Vick. Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy and QB Aaron Rodgers haven’t won a playoff game yet, but unfortunately I think they’ll win one on Sunday to cap a fun Wild Card Weekend.
Prediction: Packers 27, Eagles 20
Ryan: In what could be the “most fun” of all the games this weekend to watch as a fan, the Packers return to the site of where their season began by taking on the Eagles in Philly. In that game, Mike Vick replaced Kevin Kolb at QB at halftime. Vick nearly brought the Eagles back from a 20-3 hole but the Eagles ended up losing 27-20. Fast-forward to this Sunday, where the Eagles will look to right the ship after a pair of home losses to bad teams in the form of Minnesota and Dallas. The Packers are coming off a pair of must-wins at home against the Giants and Bears, which locked them into the playoffs and have a defense that could give the high-powered Eagles offense fits. The Packers finished 24th in the NFL in rushing offense, so if they are unable to keep Philly’s offense off the field via sustained drives, that will give the likes of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin more chances to create the explosive plays they’ve been delivering all year. Look for a shootout in a “who has the ball last wins” kind of a game.
Prediction: Packers 34, Eagles 27
C.J.: If you’re only able to catch one game this weekend, this is the game to watch. I’m expecting a QB duel between Aaron Rodgers and Michael Vick with a lot of yardage to go with it. The Eagles boast a 2nd-ranked offense averaging 389.4 yards per game while the Packers like to air it out, averaging a top 5 passing offense at 257.8 passing YPG. Green Bay offers a top 5 overall defense in the passing game, but Vick – even if he is still injured – will make big plays through the air to playmaker DeSean Jackson, and on his feet. His biggest play won’t come until after regulation, though, as Vick and Co. pull out an OT thriller.
Prediction: Eagles 30, Packers 24 in OT
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