It’s day two of the Playoffs, which means it’s day two of the TSS Playoff Challenge. Yesterday saw Tin’s Packers manhandle Whitt’s Vikings (poor Joe Webb) while David D.’s Texans proved too much for AJ’s Bengals.
Today, though, features the games we really came to see. Either Chuch Pagano’s magical season or Ray Lewis’ legendary career come to an end today when the Ravens face off against the Colts. Then the marquee match-up has hotshots Russell Wilson and RGIII going head-to-head in a rookie showdown we’ve all been waiting for since Tony Romo sh*t the bed last week.
Without further ado, here is your preview!
5 Reasons The Baltimore Ravens Will Win (J. Tinsley)
1. Maybe through inspiration alone, Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and Bernard Pollard – all playing together for the first time this year – leading the defense will inspire this non-traditional Baltimore defense for a turn-the-clock-back performance.
2. Joe Flacco is the only starting quarterback in NFL history to make the playoffs in his first five seasons. I flipped a coin with heads being Good Joe and tails being Bad Joe. Needless to say, it landed on heads.
3. Expect a healthy dose of Ray Rice. That always tends to work well, especially whenever the opponent ranked near the bottom of rushing yards per game and yards per attempt like the Colts were this year.
4. Baltimore’s coming into this game well-rested (and losers of four of their last five). They’re also a battle-proven postseason team. They’ll use both mental aspects to frustrate potential Rookie of the Year candidate Andrew Luck and the Colts.
5. There’s no way the Ravens let Ray Lewis go out with a first round loss, right?
Final Score: 30-22, Ravens
5 Reasons Why The Indianapolis Colts Will Win (Gotty)
1. Andrew Luck’s only getting better as each game goes by. Conventional wisdom says a rookie who has started every game this season is no longer a rookie. Weekly, he’s proven that he can put the team on his shoulders and lead them to victory.
2. Youth versus age here. What the Colts lack in playoff experience (most haven’t played a playoff game before), they make up for by having fresher bodies than an aged Baltimore squad that has battled injuries all season long.
3. Even though Baltimore won last year’s meeting between these two, that game didn’t feature Luck or even his predecessor Manning. And if we’re tracking history, Indy won the six games prior to that meeting.
4. Indy has plenty of momentum. They enter the playoffs winners in five of their last six and nine of their last 11. The Ravens? Losers in four of their last five. One time is in full stride while the other is limping along.
5. The “Chuck Pagano Effect.” Okay, I made that up but don’t be so quick to discount it. Not only does 59-year-old coach’s return provide an emotional lift (“hey, if he can beat cancer, we can beat the stinking Ravens.”) but Pagano knows the Ravens. As their former defensive coordinator, he’s familiar with the team’s schemes, the personnel and its DNA. It’s not everything, but even a slight advantage is an advantage in these situations.
Final Score: 24-21, Colts
5 Reasons The Seattle Seahawks Will Win (Raj)
1. Russell Wilson has built himself a very strong case for Rookie of the Year during the last few games. And though RGIII is no slouch himself, the ‘Hawks QB has risen to the occasion just about every time the pressure’s been on him.
2. Thanks to Marshawn Lynch, Seattle is one of the last remaining run-first football teams left in the NFL. As long as the game goes through Beast Mode, they’ll be controlling the clock and doing the most effective thing they possibly can against Griffin – not letting him have the ball.
3. Between Aderall Admiral
Danny Brown Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner, the Seahawks arguably have the best cornerback tandem in the league and they’ll allow the rest of the defense to focus on running back Alfred Morris and the ground game, while they shut down the deep balls.
4. Washington’s defense isn’t great and Pete Carroll won’t hesitate to go right at Mike Shanahan’s throat the entire game. Hell, don’t be surprised if there’s a little running up the score in this game either.
5. RGIII’s knee is still iffy and Seattle’s front four will capitalize. As long as they can constantly put pressure on the QB, he’ll be hesitant to do too much outside the pocket and consequentially be forced to throw the ball earlier than he’d like to.
Final Score: 20-17, Seahawks
5 Reasons The Washington Redskins Will Win (AJ)
1. RGIII. Nothing against Russel Wilson, but Washington’s rookie quarterback is better. He did more with less, transforming one of the worst offenses in the league into one of the best seemingly overnight. And, although Wilson threw for more touchdowns, Griffin’s quarterback rating was slightly higher (102 to 100), and his ability as a running quarterback is unparalleled.
2. Home field. Washington was 5-3 at Fed Ex field; Seattle finished 3-5 away. Look for that trend to continue as playoff-starved Redskins fans make their presence felt.
3. Alfred Morris. The sixth-round gem was the best running back in football not named Adrien Petterson this year, a fact punctuated by a 200-yard, 3-TD performance against Dallas to ensure a trip to the postseason. It’s pick your poison for Seattle, but no matter which rout they take, either Griffin or Morris will make their presence felt on the ground.
4. Mike Shanahan has found success in the past with a similar quarterback/running back duo.
5. BECAUSE WE ALL WANT TO WITNESS ONE MORE ALL-CAPS WHITT RANT BEFORE HIS INSUFFERABLE TOWER OF HUBRIS COMES CRASHING DOWN TO THE GROUND IN A GLORIOUS, GUT-WRENCHING MANNER!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Final Score: 30-21, Redskins