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NFL Wildcard Weekend (Sunday): Game Threads

Well, that was a pretty surprising Wildcard Saturday, wasn't it? You have to give credit to the Seahawks' offense and the throws made by quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. He hasn't played that well in years -- in fact, I don't know if I've ever seen him play a better game. The run by Marshawn Lynch to seal the game was unbelievable. Considering the weapons they had (i.e. they don't have superstars), I give a ton of credit to the Seahawks' offensive coordinator for coming up with some creative formations and plays, and going toe-to-toe with the Saints.

The Colts game was more of a disappointment for me. The Jets' defense deserves credit for getting enough stops, but the thing that killed the Colts during the game was that they had so many 3rd-and-1 situations. They are not a team that gets into those situations very often -- they either convert the first down on second down, or they are faced with a 3rd-and-medium for an obvious passing situation down the field. The execution in those situations didn't work out for Indianapolis.

And then, I'm still baffled by the timeout that Jim Caldwell called with under 30 seconds to go in the game. The Jets appeared content with trying a 51-yard field goal as time expired, but Caldwell called a timeout in hopes that the Jets would be forced to run another snap. I understand that philosophy and would have agreed with that call had the Jets already been in chip-shot range. However, even though it was in a dome, Nick Folk has choked a few times in his career. The timeout allowed the Jets to wisely take advantage of a one-on-one jump ball to the hated Braylon Edwards, setting up the chip shot. Ballgame.

After the jump are my previews for today's games.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs




Game: Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Date/Time: Sunday, January 9, 2010 at 1:00 p.m. EST
Local Television: WOIO/CBS, Channel 19 (Cleveland)
Announcers: Jim Nantz & Phil Simms

Nobody here wants either of our division teams to win, right? And, the last thing we want to see is another Ravens vs. Steelers matchup. Regardless of my hatred for Baltimore, the Chiefs seem well-equipped for the postseason -- in most games this season, they have had efficient play at the quarterback position, an explosive running game, and a highlight-reel receiver. This game is very tough to predict because these teams haven't faced each other this year and each have different strengths and weaknesses. My Pick: Chiefs win 20-17.

Green Bay Packers vs. Philadelphia Eagles




Game: Green Bay Packers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Date/Time: Sunday, January 9, 2010 at 4:30 p.m. EST
Local Television: WJW/FOX, Channel 8 (Cleveland)
Announcers: Joe Buck & Troy Aikman

This one has the billing to be another NFC shootout. Both teams have aggressive defenses, but I expect each team's big-play offensive attack to dominate the game. That means plenty of slants for yards after the catch from Aaron Rodgers to his many receivers, and a bunch of runs by Michael Vick. Vick and the Eagles have had two weeks to correct their offensive gameplan from when they couldn't handle the Vikings' blitzing. Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson are difference makers though and will come up with a big play when it counts. My Pick: Packers win 35-31.