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The Prognosticator: Playoff Edition

 


Welcome my fantasy brethren to another edition of The Playoff Prognosticator.  May it be your harvest moon.  

Another season came and went with the usual smattering of surprises.  This was a particularly difficult season to predict as there were very few teams that were constant all season long.  Most peeked either in the beginning, middle or end of the season with few staying true to their average week to week.  We still had fun hypothesizing and trying to apply the years of predicting experience to the NFL.  We hope you benefited in some way from what we provide here at FantasySharks.com.  We’ve received many “Thank You” posts in the message board for helping win your championship.  We’re truly humbled and gratified to be your fantasy source.  

This is the traditional end of the season Progno as we wrap up the season before the playoffs begin.  I’ve received a number of Emails about the Playoff Progno and its eerie accuracy.  I like to stare a challenge in the face and knock it back a few paces and that’s what I try to do with this playoff edition.  Sure I could just pick this weeks games then pick up the pieces of where I went wrong and then pick next weeks games like everyone else.  That way next year I can make the claim that I picked Team A over Team B in the Superbowl and won!  Well, yeah, it’s a 50/50 proposition.  Instead I like to lay it all out for you so you know ahead of time where the chips are going to fall.  We not only pick an ultimate Superbowl winner, but every match up along the way.  Or to put it another way, we go for max “look like an idiot” effect!  But where’s the fun if you don’t jump in the deep end?

For those new to this column this year, this is the 9th annual playoff edition Progno and without the fine people who read this, we wouldn’t have gotten past the 1st annual.  For that I am truly thankful.  You’re fine people, I thank you for all the kind words all season long, for it is those words and those words alone, that keep me going.

Thanks for reading all season, I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing it.  


Wildcard Weekend

Team Rush Pass

BAL

135

177

CAR

105

217

DAL

127

169

DEN

167

183

GB

119

245

IND

98

208

SEA

105

226

TEN

109

217

 

Red – Hot

Yellow – Warm

White – Room Temp

Lt. Blue – Cold

Dk. Blue – Frigid


#5 Tennessee Titans at #4 Baltimore Ravens, January 3, 4:30pm

The Titans play good D.  We know that.  The Titans have Steve McNair, we know that too.  You’re not a playoff team unless you were stellar this season, this isn’t hockey after all.  But the Titans have a fairly soft division (minus the Colts) and the Ravens have a fairly tough division.  Everyone who makes it this far is good.  Every team in this article is good.  But not every team is going to win because they’re good.  It’s an important distinction.  

If you watched the Ravens and the Steelers play last week you were treated to a fantastic game of football.  The Ravens played defense like their Super Bowl year and that is not over exaggerating.  We all say and know that defense wins championships yet for all the evidence that backs that up, we always teeter when the rubber meets the road.

Quick!  Who has the better defense?  Baltimore or Tennessee?  Well if defense wins championships?  And there’s significant evidence to back up that claim.  Isn’t this easy?

The Ravens not only have a killer D that wins championships but they tout the league’s running champ in Jamal Lewis.  A solid (an understatement) running game coupled with a stellar defense is about as good as it gets in the NFL.

The Titans are favored in this but the Ravens have the better make up to go deep into the playoffs.

Prediction: Ravens 28 – Titans 20  (Titans -1)


#6 Dallas Cowboys at #3 Carolina Panthers, January 3, 8:00pm

Just making the playoffs, though they’ll never admit it, is success enough for the Cowboys.  They were dirt bottom last season and in one season they turned that around to be a playoff team.  Simply amazing and already the Cowboys will be satisfied with where they ended up this season.  

The Panthers have a better nucleus and that will see them through this game.  Stephen Davis should be back at full strength and that makes the Panthers very hard to beat on their home turf.  

Prediction: Panthers 20 – Cowboys 17  (Panthers -3)


#5 Seattle Seahawks at #4 Green Bay Packers, January 4, 1:00pm

The best game of Wildcard Weekend.  The return of Mike Holmgren to Green Bay and he’s an underdog to boot.  That’s OK, because we’re going to find out that Brett Favre will start to appear for big games this year.  The Packers already have a solid ground game and now it’s Brett Favre time.  Check this out.

Prediction: Packers 29 – Seahawks 20  (Packers -7)


#6 Denver Broncos at #3 Indianapolis Colts, January 4, 4:30pm

I thought Mike Shanahan learned his lesson about sitting players before a playoff game?  I guess not.  Look for Clinton Portis to run wild in this one.

The Colts begin their magical destiny here as they cap about the most perfect way to build a Superbowl team as ever has been done before.  The catch down the road is that they’ll have home field advantage again later in the playoffs, something they don’t really expect right now.    

Prediction: Colts 27 – Broncos 20  (Colts -3)


Divisional Playoffs


#3 Indianapolis Colts at #2 Kansas City Chiefs, January 10/11

The Colts have to make it through one game in a hostile environment and this will be a tight one.  It really is anyone’s game as both teams have firepower to get it done when they need it.  The Colts will continue their winning ways here and stun the Chiefs.  Though after their clean smack down of the Broncos, the line will be fairly close.

Prediction: Colts 28 – Chiefs 27


#3 Carolina Panthers at #2 Saint Louis Rams, January 10/11

And the Cinderella story ends now.  There is only one team in the NFC that can match up with the Rams and this isn’t the one.  The Rams on their home court are next to impossible to beat.  Especially if you don’t have a load of speed like the Panthers do not.

Prediction: Rams 27 – Panthers 17


#4 Baltimore Ravens at #1 New England Patriots, January 10/11

The first big shocker of the playoff season happens here.  Today I firmly believe that the best team in football is the New England Patriots.  Everything up until now can be instantiated and cross coo berated.  They have had an incredible year in a tough conference.  Don’t even get into it with me over the AFC or NFC.  The AFC by far has the better teams this year and this is an AFC Super Bowl all the way.  The best NFC team was the 5th best team in football according to my calculations.  

The Ravens have a tricky balance for the Patriots to play because it’s harder to confuse the very simplistic offense of Baltimore.  The Patriots have a field day with complicated offenses but something so simple like the Ravens will give them problems.  They lose their edge of surprise and that will hamper them.  

I repeat, if you watched that Steelers/Ravens game last week you know the Ravens are not to be messed with.  That was one of the best displays I’ve seen in a long time.  

Prediction: Ravens 24 – Patriots 20


#4 Green Bay Packers at #1 Philadelphia Eagles, January 10/11

The Packers are better in this playoff series than many give them credit for.  They’re not an en vogue selection but mark my words, they’re a solid contender in these playoffs and they’ll be discredited early.  

The Eagles could use the weeks rest and they’ll be even better from it.  The Eagles have the most well rounded team in the NFC and can hurt you a variety of ways.

Prediction: Eagles 28 – Packers 27  


Championship Games


#4 Baltimore Ravens at #3 Indianapolis Colts, January 18, 3:00pm

And here we are, the #3 and #4 seed dueling it out for the AFC Championship.  It could be anyone’s title out of the Colts, Ravens, Patriots or Chiefs, all are certainly deserving of the award.  Yet, it will come down to two lower seeds to carry the torch for the AFC.  The Colts have the 2nd most efficient turnover team in the playoffs besides the Denver Broncos.  The big difference is that while the Broncos are holding onto the ball better than anyone in the playoffs, the Colts are 2nd and take away a ton more balls.  The Colts also get a surprising late playoff home game.  The surgical efficiency of the Colts will rip open the Ravens and Edgar Allan Poe’s heroic run ends here.  

Predicition: Colts 28 – Ravens 24


#2 Saint Louis Rams at #1 Philadelphia Eagles, January 18, 6:45pm

A great game of football for sure.  The Championship games this year promise to be a couple of great ones.  The Eagles at home change things up just enough for the Rams to bring them out of their rhythm.  The Rams are like an Italian sports car, when everything is aligned just right, the car drives like it was an extension of yourself.  When just a little carbon is entered into the equation, the car bucks, skips and jumps its way home.   

Prediction: Eagles 30 – Rams 27


Super Bowl XXXVIII


#3 Indianapolis Colts vs. #1 Philadelphia Eagles, February 1, 6:25pm.

And so the ride ends.  The magical Colts against the seemingly unstoppable Eagles.  In my book, magic always wins over unstoppable.

Prediction: Colts 28 – Eagles 24


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