It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and I don’t mean the holidays, rather the NFL Playoffs. From the wild-card round all the way to the Super Bowl, the NFL Playoffs are one of the most wonderful times in sports. And what better way to start them off with predictions?
So without further ado, here are my 2013 NFL Playoff Predictions. Feel free to comment with your own and vote in the poll below.
Wild Card Round
Cincinnati over San Diego: The Chargers barely squeaked into the playoffs due to a missed field goal against the Chiefs reserves. While they have been hot as of late, and Andy Dalton is prone to a bad game or two, the Bengals are also undefeated at home. The Bengals win their first playoff game of the Marvin Lewis era.
Kansas City over Indianapolis: The Colts have beaten each of the best teams in the NFL in the regular season. But the playoffs are a different beast and a well-rested Chiefs team will be looking to get revenge after losing to Indy 23-7 two weeks ago. I cannot see the mediocre Colts’ defense stopping Jamaal Charles and the rest of the Chiefs’ offense again. And Andrew Luck, facing a healthy Chiefs front-seven will be unable to keep up.
Philadelphia over New Orleans: We’ve seen it time and time again this year, the Saints are a worse team on the road and not in a dome, then they are at home. Although Drew Brees should be able to make things happen against the Eagles’ secondary, they will be unable to pull it out on the road again, as the Eagles will light up Rex Ryan’s defense in a shootout.
San Francisco over Green Bay: Aaron Rodgers played against the 49ers last year and they were still unable to beat them. In round two, I don’t see it being any different, especially with Rodgers coming off an injury. The Packers will be unable to stop Colin Kaepernick as he runs and passes the 49ers to a victory at Lambeau.
Denver over Kansas City: This is a game Denver could easily lose, similar to the Ravens game last year. After beating the Chiefs twice in the regular season, it will be tough for the Broncos, with a not-so great defense, to beat the Chiefs again, even at home. But there’s no way I’m picking against Peyton Manning yet, as he will find a way to win this game, even in the frigid Denver cold.
Cincinnati over New England: You should never pick against Brady and Belichick in the playoffs, but I think without Rob Gronkowski, Brady will have trouble finding someone to throw to. Even without Geno Atkins, the Bengals have a tough defense, and if Andy Dalton can limit the turnovers, as I think he will, the Bengals will go into Foxboro and win this game.
Seattle over San Francisco: I’m not picking anyone against Seattle at home, especially the 49ers. While Jim Harbaugh is a great coach, the Seahawks will be hungry to beat the division rival after losing to them at Candlestick just a few weeks prior. Defenses will control this game and a better ground game from the Seahawks and Marshawn Lynch will be the difference, along with the deafening roar of the 12th man.
Philadelphia over Carolina: While the Panthers defense will be able to slow down Chip Kelly and the Eagles’ offense, I don’t think they will be able to slow them down enough for Cam Newton and this Panthers’ offense to keep up.
Denver over Cincinnati: The Bengals run comes to a quick end in the Mile High city as Dalton and the Bengals’ offense is unable to keep up with Peyton Manning. Neither defense will keep it low-scoring but the Broncos will pull out in the end as Andy Dalton turns the ball over a few too many times, unable to keep up with Manning.
Seattle over Philadelphia: Chip Kelly’s run ends in Seattle as the Eagles are thrashed by the Seahawks’ defense. Out of their element, in a low-scoring ground and pound game, the Eagles’ offense will slow down and be forced into turnovers by the Seattle’ defense and the 12th man. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ offense will take advantage, leading to a Seattle victory.
Denver over Seattle: Without the 12th man the Seahawks will not have their usual home-field advantage at Metlife Stadium. And without it, Peyton Manning will take advantage, out playing Russell Wilson in the frigid New Jersey February to bring back to Denver a Super Bowl victory.
Offensive MVP: Peyton Manning, QB, DEN. After breaking Tom Brady’s touchdown record, Manning has this award in the bag. He has put up one of the best statistical seasons by a quarterback ever.
Defensive MVP: Robert Quinn, DE, STL. Quinn is second in the NFL with 19.0 sacks and seven forced fumbles. He has helped turn the St. Louis Rams’ defensive line into a force to be reckoned with.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Eddie Lacy, RB, GB. Without Lacy, the Packers do not make the playoffs. He helped carry the offense when Rodgers was out with a collarbone injury.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Sheldon Richardson, DT, NYJ. Richardson helped to turn around the Jets defense into one of the best in the league.
Coach of the Year: Bruce Arians, ARZ. Arians inherited a team without a quarterback and a maligned offensive line and turned them into an 11-win playoff contender. Chip Kelly could also win this award, but he had more talent to start with and won fewer games than Arians.