NFL Wildcard Sunday: Open Game Thread

Well, I went a glorious 0-2 with my Saturday playoff picks as the Jets and the Cowboys each advanced to the next round. At least there was some satisfaction in the Jets' victory when Braylon Edwards dropped an easy touchdown. There are two more playoff games today. This time, only one of the games are a Week 17 re-match. If you would like to comment on either of the games, whether it be before, during, or after the game(s), please do so here. The brief previews are after the jump.

AFC Wildcard: Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots (1:00 PM on CBS) [See SB Nation Coverage Here]

It was an up-and-down season for the Baltimore Ravens. After starting the season at 3-0, the Ravens proceeded to lose their next three games. After that, they pretty much traded wins and losses each week, just barely making the postseason as a wildcard team. One of the losses the 9-7 Ravens suffered this season was back in Week 4 against the Patriots.

What happened in that game? "Roughing the Brady," as Keith Olbermann put it. The Ravens players were furious after the game that the referees were trying to "put a skirt" on Brady, overly protecting him. As the season has come to a close, the Ravens defense has gotten better, only giving up an average of 10 points per game.

For the Patriots, while it wasn't the greatest season, they are still a very efficient team with Tom Brady under center. He'll need to be protected though, because he can't afford to take too many serious shots with broken ribs. The Patriots suffered a big loss with Wes Welker going down last week. As always, they have someone ready to step in -- this time, it's WR Julian Edelman. A 7th-round pick from this year's draft, Edelman stepped in for Welker last week and had 10 catches for 103 yards. Patriots win by 7.

NFC Wildcard: Green Bay Packers vs. Arizona Cardinals (4:40 PM on FOX) [See SB Nation Coverage Here]

Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals basically laid down last week, while the Green Bay Packers gave it their all despite already having clinched a wildcard spot. Unlike the Bengals, I don't envision this being a problem. With that said, even with their "A-game," the Cardinals aren't going to have a cake-walk against one of the league's hottest offenses.

The Packers defense has come alive as of late, but Warner thrives against the blitz. It doesn't seem wise to let Warner have time to throw, but it might be the better option for the Packers. Someone like Charles Woodson, who was regarded by SB Nation as the defensive MVP of the league, can still capitalize for some big turnovers.

Both teams' running games improved as the season moved along. Ryan Grant began getting hot for the Packers while Beanie Wells powered through for the Cardinals. Hopefully Warner doesn't suffer an injury, because any time Matt Leinart has been forced to step in this year, Arizona's offense looks terrible.

Like the Patriots, the Cardinals also suffered a loss last week at the receiver position when Anquan Boldin went down. Boldin is a game-time decision though and will likely give it a go. With all of his weapons at his disposal at home, the Cardinals will win in a shootout and probably the best game of Wildcard Weekend. Cardinals win by 4.

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Feel free to share your own predictions on today's games in this thread as well.

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