Round Two – some bold predictions…

After last Saturday’s matchups, I thought my days of predicting game outcomes was done.  Fortunately, Sunday’s matchups allowed me to somewhat redeem myself.   I now look to add my two cents on what this week’s matchups have in store for us. 

The outcome of the games on Saturday, realigned some of my originally thought out matchups for this week.  As a result, I am going to go back to square-one and look at each matchup individually.  I am also going to throw away stats.  Too many times in Fantasy Football, I would look over stats and read way too much into what the analysts wrote.  Instead of going with my gut feeling, I would make moves based more on numbers and other people’s opinion.  This week, I am going to go with my gut…period. 

AFC

Ravens vs. Steelers – ask me to look at this matchup on paper and I like the Steelers slightly better.  Not because they are at home, but because they have more X-factors.  They have Polamalu, who has been a Ravens killer and Mike Wallace (and Sanders, who is a sleeper here), who could easily make some big plays against, a shaky at times, Ravens secondary.  Since we aren’t going to look deep into the stats, I am going to confess my gut tells me the Ravens can pull this one off.  I admit, I went with the Steelers in this matchup last week, but that was assuming the Ravens had to first go to Foxborough and beat the Patriots.  Given the easy “warmup” win against the Chiefs, I believe the Ravens will go into Pittsburgh warm and ready, while the Steelers could face the “bye week fallout”.  The “bye week fallout” is when a team plays its first matchup in the playoffs, after being on a bye, and is a little rusty, from the week off.  On the other side, the team they face, is warm and coming off a win.  The game will no doubt be physical and close, but I think the Ravens will come out of Steel town with the win. 

Jets vs. Patriots – Originally I thought the only team that could go up to NE and hand the Pats an early ticket out of the playoffs were the Ravens.  This still might very well happen, but it won’t be this week and based on my gut feeling, it won’t happen.  The Jets showed that they still have a top ranking defense, when they held the Colts to 16 points last week.  I also believe, as I posted in my blog last week, that Sanchez and the Jets have faith on their side.  Sanchez was inspired after meeting a boy named Aiden, who recently passed from his battle with cancer and one should never underestimate the effect this has on a person or team.  Most will say the Jets are done with Brady and company set to put another hurting on New York.  I say this game is going to be closer than anyone thinks and that the Jets have a legit chance to win.  Since my original AFC pre-season Championship matchup prediction were the Ravens vs. the Jets, I’ll even go as far to say the Jets win. 

One note to keep in mind if you are a Ravens or even Steelers fan.  I am sure most are rooting for the Jets to beat the Pats, thinking a home matchup against the Jets would be a better matchup.  Buyer beware – if the Jets do indeed go to Foxboro and beat the Pats, they will be walking on water and a force to be reckoned with, no matter where the next game is being played!

NFC

Seattle vs. Bears – Seattle was an enigma for many last week.  I don’t think many people had them beating the Saints or even keeping pace for that matter.  As I posted in my analysis last week, the one thing Seattle had going for them last week was home field advantage.  This week, they do not have that advantage.  What Seattle does have is nothing to lose.  They weren’t suppose to win last week, and no one will really expect them to win this week.  On the other side of the ball, you have a quarterback that can be shaky at times, especially under pressure.  The key for the Bears is to deflate Seattle’s confidence fast.  They need to score first and score again, putting Seattle in a position to throw a lot and giving Chicago’s defense a better opportunity to force turnovers.  If the game starts to go Seattle’s way and Cutler and company have to work quickly to dig themselves out of a hole, Seattle could end up upsetting yet another team.  In this case though, not being home and going up against a much better defense, I do believe Seattle’s road to the bowl ends here.

Packers vs. Falcons – I won’t go into many details on this matchup.  I made it clear last week I didn’t like the Falcons.  I am not impressed and don’t envision them as a number 1 seed (yes, I know, they are the number 1 seed).  I love the Packers.  I have the Packers going all the way.  They have both a dynamic offense and defense.  I love them even more now that James Stark (one of my sleeper picks late this season), finally was given another opportunity to show his ability on the field.  I expect the Falcons to be a bit more ready for Starks, but Green Bay has so many other weapons.  Look for this one to go the Packers way.

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