Ranking the Playoff Games
1. The Ravens are, by far, the worst team remaining in the postseason. I give them credit for putting up a good defensive effort against the Colts, and they couldn't have picked a better time to have Haloti Ngata, Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, and Ed Reed all healthy at the same time. The Broncos are just a superior team on offense and defense, and those inspirational leaders won't be able to overcome the onslaught that Peyton Manning brings. If the Ravens had a better quarterback, then maybe, but you can't just heave it up to Anquan Boldin or let Ray Rice bail you out on a big catch-and-run every week.
2. The Packers were the best team that played in the wildcard round of the playoffs. While not having home-field advantage over the 49ers stings, I don't think having to play an extra game will hurt them. They have all of their top defensive leaders left, and their offense has been clicking for months now. The 49ers could be the best team in football when it comes to having the potential to just dominate a game at the line of scrimmage. Getting Justin Smith back on defense will be a huge plus. The concern is still with Colin Kaepernick. He certainly gives the 49ers an extra dimension on offense, but he's still young and learning.
3. I think we saw glimpses of the Texans' dominance return in their win over the Bengals, but the lack of execution on the red zone continued to display the cracks that caused them to drop to 1-3 in their final four games of the regular season. The tough part here for Houston is that the team they face next week, the Patriots, dismantled them 42-14 in the regular season. That marked the beginning of Houston's skid, and I don't know if they've rebounded enough to beat a team like New England.
4. The Seahawks are coming off the most entertaining game of the first round of the playoffs. They will take on a Falcons team that still won't get a lot of respect until they win a playoff game. This is a better team than last year, but they've had issues running the ball all year. Will their one-dimensional play hurt them? It might not -- after all, they captured the No. 1 seed without one, thanks to solid play from Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez.