Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wild Card Weekend Preview: NFC

#5 Saints (11-5) @ #4 Seahawks (7-9)
Saturday, 3:30 CST

-So we do in fact have to let the Seahawks play in the playoffs just because they won their division? That's official? Okay, fine, just checking.

-The Seahawks as a playoff team are like the smelly girl from down the street whom we have to let participate in the town beauty pageant because, well, I mean she got all her paperwork in on time, so what can we really do? Yes, I know the neighbors say she doesn't brush her teeth because she says "toothbrushes feel prickly" and yes, I know her talent portion is likely to be that weird, disturbing dance she can sometimes be seen practicing on her front lawn with her pet mouse, but dammit I'm not gonna be the one to tell her parents she can't participate.

What to watch for: Will it be Charlie Whitehurst or Matt Hasselbeck behind center? In a 34-19 loss earlier this season, Hasselbeck had a very good game but a balanced Saints team still beat the Seahawks easily. With that in mind, does it really f--king matter who starts at quarterback? Unless Pete Carroll decides to start himself, no, no it does not.

X Factor: Turnovers. I can't see how it's possible for the Seahawks to win this game unless they somehow dominate the turnover battle.

Prediction: The girl from down the street falls off the stage and sustains life-threatening injuries. (i.e. Saints win easy.)

#6 Packers (10-6) @ #3 Eagles (10-6)
Sunday, 3:30 CST

-These two met up in Philly way back in Week 1, back during the Kevin Kolb Experiment. Vick came in after Kolb got hurt and made it close, but the Packers won 27-20.

-Both teams lost in the first round last season. The last time they faced each other in the playoffs was the '03-'04 season when Donovan McNabb led the Eagles to victory after converting a late 4th-and-26 to send it into overtime. (Yes, I had to look that up.)

What to watch for: Both Mike McCarthy and Andy Reid suck at time management, but which will make the terrible decision that cripples his team at a critical time? Will McCarthy go for two after a game-tying touchdown? Will Reid call a timeout before the game starts? Will either of them, late in the game, opt to punt from the red zone?

X factor: Special teams. The Packers' kickoff and punt return averages suck, whereas the Eagles of course have DeSean Jackson. Jackson only has the one touchdown against the Giants, but he has a solid return average and could help the Eagles win the field position battle.

Prediction: I don't know, I don't know ... I DON'T KNOW, OK?? I guess I'll go with the Packers. If it comes down to the end of the game and one defense has to step up and make a play, I like the Packers' D to make that play. The Eagles' offensive line scares me. Rooting for the Eagles, picking the Packers. Now lay off.

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