After showing my dominance during the regular season it seems only fitting we continue making picks now that the post season is upon us. For those keeping track at home, after falling into 3rd place I was able to climb back to the top, finishing the season at 166-90, and winning confidence points by 4. So there you have it, GuysNation. Shall we take a look at this weekends games? You’ll notice a slight difference. Including the team’s seeds, records, and how they got into the playoffs. Plus doing a little more analysis since there are only 4 games to discuss.

#5 Seed New Orleans (11-5, wildcard) @ #4 Seattle (7-9, NFC West Champs)

I use the word “Champs” loosely with the Seahawks. Don’t get me wrong, they WON their division, but calling someone a champion when their record is 7-9? Ugh. I’m not one to say they shouldn’t be in the playoffs. I AM one to say they should not get the benefit of a home game. I’m a proponent of records determining home field. The division championship guarantees a playoff spot, to me? That’s enough. The Saints had been rolling, including a win AT Atlanta, which was only the 2nd loss at home for “Matty Ice” aka Matt Ryan, in his career. Then, in what was damn sure a surprise to me… the Saints lose at home to Tampa Bay. Seattle won what amounted to a one game playoff Sunday Night against St. Louis. They’re improved from 2009, but still very incosistent. They do have one of the loudest stadiums/crowds in the NFL and that could be an issue for the Saints.

How the Saints Win: Drew Brees does what Drew Brees does. Spread the ball around. Make sure you get Reggie Bush involved early, and… most importantly? SCORE EARLY. Take the crowd out of it by going up 7-0, 10-0, 14-0!

How the Seahawks Win: PRAY. You’re out manned almost everywhere. You may start Charlie Whitehurst. Good luck.

My PICK: Saints 31-17

Rob’s Pick:  Saints.  I’d really like to go the opposite direction with this one, given the injuries to New Orleans’ running backs, but I just really don’t like what Seattle has to offer.  Their win over the Rams wasn’t overly convincing, and that was in a big game at home.  The defending champs are just going to have too much power, so they’ll advance this time.

Mindcricket: With Seattle’s notorious home-field advantage and an injured New Orleans team flying to Siberia on a short week, the stage is set for an epic upset.  The Saints will be without exciting rookie tight end Jimmy Graham, star safety Malcolm Jenkins, and top backs Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory, both of whom were placed on injured reserve earlier this week.  Meanwhile the Seahawks come in with few injuries and momentum from last Sunday’s division championship game.  As you might guess, I think this game will be a bit more competitive than most pundits are suggesting.  The Saints’ ailing offense will likely start slow and the game should remain tight into the 3rd quarter.  Barring a rash of turnovers in the 2nd half, New Orleans’ experience and talent level should wear down Seattle and elevate the Saints to victory.  Prediction: New Orleans 24, Seattle 13

JMB:  NO over Seattle – I’d love to see Seattle win just to make things interesting, but I can’t see Seattle hoping to match NO’s firepower even without Thomas/Ivory. Look for Reggie Bush to make a few key grabs.

Gools:  I see this game being a lot closer than the public thinks.  That doesn’t mean that I think the Seattle Seahawks are a good team by any stretch (they would’ve had the 8th pick in the draft had they lost to St. Louis Sunday night for crying out loud!), but playing on the road in Seattle is a tough chore.  The Saints are really banged up after placing Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory on the IR which leaves them with only Reggie Bush and Julius Jones – not exactly the scariest ground game.  Couple the lack of a running game with the loud Seattle crowd, the West coast travel for the Saints and the disrespect card that you know Pete Carroll is playing in the locker room, and I think the Seahawks jump out to an early start in this one to make the Saints sweat.  However, Drew Brees and his aresenal of WRs (and watch out for TE Jimmy Graham – I’ve been touting this kid for the past 10 weeks) will ultimately be too much for Seattle to handle.  I like the Saints to move on to the Divisional Round by a score of 24-14.

#6 New York Jets (11-5, wildcard) @ #3 Indianapolis (10-6, AFC South Champs)

Don’t know why I need to keep putting “Jets” after New York… we KNOW the Giants aren’t in the playoffs. Yes that’s a potshot even my regular season “competitor” can enjoy. Jets started off 9-2… finished 2-3. Offense lost steam. Sanchez looked inexperienced. The defense looked human. Even their beloved coach’s act has seemed to wear thin. Rex was a media darling, and Jets fans loved him… not so much after the struggles. People are griping about Rex talking too much, and I heard one noted sports talk host and Jets fanboy, Mike Greenberg, say he wished Rex would be more like Bill Belicheck. Indianapolis was pronounced dead after a three game stretch that saw Peyton throw 10 interceptions, but they’ve won 4 straight, and they HAD to win them to get into the playoffs. Basically, Indy has been playing playoff games since 14. There are two schools of thought. 1 – good momentum going into the playoffs and you KNOW everyone is focuses and ready for the task at hand. 2 – you fought so hard to get IN, you have nothing left.

How the Jets Win: Get to Peyton. Get to Peyton. Get to Peyton. Rush his throws. Annoy him. Make him get all angry and pouty. Peyton hasn’t been as good in the post season as he has in the regular season. Pressure is higher. Defenses are better. The other way to win would be to keep Peyton off the field. Run the ball. Control the clock.

How the Colts Win: Having Peyton Manning is a great start. Being able to establish the run, with their healthy backs.

My Pick: Indianapolis 27-21

Rob’s Pick: Indianapolis.  I know the Jets have a great defense and a good running game and have been scoring plenty of points the past three weeks, but Peyton Manning has intangibles that make it impossible for me to bet against him.  Now that the Colts have their running backs, their play action pass will be working great, and there’s no way the Jets are going to be able to keep up by relying solely on their running game (which an improved Colts rush defense might slow).  Needing Mark Sanchez to stay error-free while trying to keep up with Manning’s scoring potential is not a recipe for success that the Jets can rely on.

Mindcricket: Both teams come into this one playing pretty good football.  The Jets got a big road victory in Pittsburgh, narrowly lost in snowy Chicago, and throttled the Bills.  The Colts turned their season around after a 3 game losing streak to win their last 4, including quality wins over Jacksonville and Oakland.  I expect New York to be able to move the ball on Indy, so the key matchup will be Manning v. the Jets defense.  Rex Ryan is a stinky 1-5 against the future hall-of-famer, with the only victory coming in a meaningless game late last season.  I think that history will provide some intense motivation for the feminine foot fiend and his Jets will sneak away with a win.  Prediction: New York 27, Indianapolis 24

JMB:  Indy over NYJ – The Colts have found a running game again with Addai back, and that will dramatically help with blitz pick-up. Also on offense look for Tamme over the middle, especially with the Jets issues at safety and I think Garcon can beat Cromartie. Lastly, the Colts have drastically improved over the past few weeks on stopping the run.

Gools:  This is the rematch from last year’s AFC Title game, and it should be a good one.  The Jets come in playing better football of late, but they can’t match the streak the Colts are on.  Indy has essentially been playing playoff games for a month now, so they shouldn’t feel the pressure in this one.  The Jets on the other hand have a lot to live up to after their freaky foot-fetish of a coach keeps going off at the mouth.  The Jets kept it close last year until Indy stopped letting them hang around in the 2nd half and put them away.  This year Indy is going to need some step-up performances from guys who were never part of the plan.  To make up for the injured Austin Collie, Anthony Gonzalez and Dallas Clark, look for Blair White and Jacob Tamme to be targeted early and often.  Couple that with a fres and healthy Joseph Addai, and the Colts’ offense should be as good as it has been since the beginning of the season.  On the other side, the Jets will rely heavily on the run against and undersized Indy defense.  The big offensive line of New York will try and move the chains in big chunks while Mark Sanchez does his best not to put his team in any bad spots with turnovers.  I expect NYJ to keep this close because of the huge advantage they have with their running game, but I believe that Peyton has some magic left and wants to shut Rex Ryan’s mouth for the second year in a row.  Colts 27-23

#5 Baltimore (12-4, wildcard) @ #4 Kansas City (10-6, AFC West Champs)

Baltimore finished the season strong, winning their last 4 and being really close to winning the AFC North. The offense looks great behind runningback Ray Rice, and having multiple threats at reciever: Housmanzahdeh, Boldin, Mason means teams can’t stack the box and focus solely on the run. The question mark, ironically, has been about Baltimore’s defense which has shown cracks. They are getting older, and especially late in games have looked vulnerable, but if you think Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, and company aren’t getting up for a playoff game? Kansas City is a feel good story in the NFL this season. From dreadful to AFC West Champions. They are great at home, only losing 1 game, their season finale to Oakland. They have a solid defense, a great running game, and Matt Cassel has an absolute weapon who terrifies defenses, in Dwayne Bowe. Will the announcement of their offensive coordinator, Charlie Weis leaving for the University of Florida affect things? Nah. Its not college. These are professionals and Weis is staying through the playoffs so there isn’t going to be a change in the play calling.

How Baltimore wins: Stop the run. If they stop the run, they win. Kansas City has one of the most potent rushing attacks in the league. Jamal Charles and Thomas Jones are a fearsome twosome. If you make the KC offense a one dimensional passing attack? You win.

How Kansas City wins: Run like the wind. Ball possession. Long drives. Keep Baltimore’s aging defense on the field. I have a number in my head for a Kansas City win. They rush for 130 yards, and they win.

MY PICK: Baltimore 21-16

Rob’s Pick:  Kansas City.  I’m inclined to think that the inexperienced QB who has been efficient and didn’t turn over the ball much this season will fall to pieces against the ball-hawking Ravens defense, but I like the coaching staff the Chiefs have put together far too much.  Baltimore gives me plenty of reasons to think they’ll thrive in Arrowhead with their key players (Flacco / Rice / Boldin / Lewis / Reed), but I’m going out on a limb here.

Mindcricket: At 12-4, the Ravens are not your standard wild card team.  Their four losses came against AFC #1 seed New England by 3, AFC #2 seed Pittsburgh by 3, NFC #1 seed Atlanta by 5, and division rival Cincinnati by 5 – a game which ultimately cost them the division title.  Meanwhile, Kansas City is a surprise playoff participant after an impressive turnaround from last year’s 4-12 finish.  The Chiefs hit their stride mid-season, putting up impressive rushing numbers while WR Dwayne Bowe torched defenses deep.  They have since come back to earth, struggling to regain that explosiveness over their last several games.  However, the playoff-tested Ravens have played at a high level more consistently than the Chiefs and should get the tough road victory.  Prediction: Baltimore 20, Kansas City 10

JMB:  KC over Baltimore – I’m taking the upset. KC will bounce back from last week. Bottom line is that the Raven’s D is getting older and slower, they could have really used the division win/week off.  I just don’t they are the same unit they have been in the past.  They have been scored upon by some less than stellar teams i.e. Buffalo (34 points!).  They always play divisional foes tough, but this is on the road in a tough environment, and the offense doesn’t inspire me that they can really score at will, especially with Flacco at the helm. He can and will turn over the ball at key points, and frankly, they should be MUCH better passing than they are with Boldin, Mason, and Ray Rice.

Gools:  The Chiefs are getting no respect.  They are 3 point underdogs at home to an inconsistent Ravens team even though they are 7-1 at Arrowhead this season.  It may have something to do with their poor display in the season finale vs. Oakland and Charle Weis’s distractions of another job, but KC is a good team.  Above average defense, QB who is playing as well as anyone not named Brady, a great 2 headed running game (although there is little doubt that Jamaal Charles is their stud), and a top tier WR in Dwayne Bowe.  The Ravens are no slouches either with plenty of talent on offense and defense, but this team seems to play down to it’s opponents every week, and if they’re not playing the Steelers/Pats/Falcons/Jets, they seem less interested on the field.  The offense as a whole is inconsistent and the defense is quite overrated – they cannot cover a lick and even Ed Reed’s game-changing ball skills don’t change that; their run defense is no longer elite (but still pretty good) and their pass rush disappears in the last quarter.  All of this has the makings of an upset in my eyes.  I’m a Ravens fan, but I don’t see any fight or heart in this team.  I’m calling it: Chiefs 20-17

#6 Green Bay @ #3 Philadelphia (10-6, NFC East Champions)

A rematch from week 1. Back then Kevin Kolb was the Eagles starter. Ryan Grant was the Packers running back. Everyone thought Green Bay was a Super Bowl contender, and that the Eagles were going to have a “rebuilding year”. Out of those things, one has remained at least possible. Green Bay has the talent to be a Super Bowl contender, but its damn hard to do it by having to win 3 road games. They just played a tough hard hitting game at home against bitter rival, Chicago to get into the playoffs. Does that game take a toll? The Eagles on the other hand limped into the playoffs losing 2 straight. Okay, lets toss out the week 17 loss as the Eagles second string slash practice squad took the field and nearly beat the Cowboys. The week 16 loss to the Vikings was the one that Eagles fans, like myself, worry about. Almost everyone got rested, so the Eagles are, essentially, coming of a bye week. Vick’s quad is said to be 100%. Desean Jackson rested his ankle. Hopefully this means the Eagles come out of the tunnel healthy, rested, and ready to play. If they’re flat? Green Bay will throw up 28 before the end of the half. Both offenses are potent. Both should be able to score. Its what the defenses do that will determine this game. Green Bay has a good defense with speed. The Eagles defense… not so good… one of the worst when it comes to red zone defense. So, if the Pack get to the Eagle’s 19? Bet on a touchdown.

How The Packers win: Keep Vick off the field. Unfortunately they don’t run the ball all that well, so I’m not sure how this is accomplished. Still. Keep Vick cold and on the sideline. Don’t let him find his rhythm and that’s a start. When he’s on the field? Rush him. don’t let the deep routes materialize. Flush him to his right.

How the Eagles win: Use Lesean McCoy. Make sure you’re running early and throwing screens to keep Green Bay honest, AND to minimize the hits Vick takes. (frustrated Eagles fan tangent in 3…2…1: Best way to keep Vick from getting hit so much?! RUN THE BALL MORE!!! – he’s one of your best weapons, and arguably the 2nd most important player on your team… MORE McCoy!) – Keep Vick Healthy and upright and you win the game.

My Pick: not about to change, NOW… E-A-G-L-E-S… EAGLES!!!!

Rob’s Pick:  Green Bay.  Teams are finding out how to keep Mike Vick under control, and as much as I appreciate the Packers offense, their strong point is their defense.  If DeSean Jackson were playing better lately, I’d say the Eagles had enough weapons to beat the Packers, but he isn’t, so I’m definitely going with Green Bay… and I couldn’t be happier.

Mindcricket: The marquee matchup of wild card weekend features a bevy of exciting playmakers.  From Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Clay Matthews, and Charles Woodson to Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and Asante Samuel, there should be no shortage of fireworks on Sunday.  An opening weekend matchup between these two squads was won by Green Bay 27-20 after Michael Vick led a furious comeback in place of injured starter Kevin Kolb.  The Packers held a convincing 20-3 lead early in the 3rd quarter, but were unprepared for the dynamic play of Vick.  This time around, Clay Matthews and company should be much more prepared to contain the nimble passer and force him into a mistake or two.  On the other side of the ball, it’s hard to imagine Aaron Rodgers struggling to convert opportunities against an Eagles defense that gave up 31 touchdown passes this season (28th in the league).  Prediction: Green Bay 27, Philadelphia 17

JMB:  Green Bay over Philly.  Michael Vick is hurting, and he so far can’t handle the blitz off the edge. Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews are going after a hobbled Vick. Also, Aaron Rogers is money against the blitz/aggressive D’s.

Gools:  My most highly anticipated game of the weekend.  Both teams met in Week 1 with the Pack taking it on the road.  Back then, Kevin Kolb started for Philly before being knocked to the mat with a concussion and opening the door for dog-killer Michael Vick and thus changing the course of the Eagles’ season.  Speaking of concussions, had Aaron Rodgers not suffered 2 this year, the Packers might have taken the #2 seed and been a prohiitive favorite to make the SuperBowl in Dallas.  Instead, they must play a tough road game and they are easily the most decimated team in the playoffs due injury – even worse than the Colts.  However, Aaron Rodgers is special and gives his team a chance to win every game.  I really think this game is going to be close and will come down to 3 things: 1. How healthy is Michael Vick?  2. Can the Packers keep contain on Vick and not let him run wild?  3. Can the Packers muster any sort of running game?  I think the answers are: still hurting but will be effective; the Pack has the defense to contain Vick’s mobility; and NO, the Packers have no one to run the ball besides their all-world QB.  I think Vick is going to lose a game all by himself in the playoffs, but will the first one be the one and done?  I’m going to pick the Eagles here because of their dynamic QB and all of his weapons, but I would not be surprised in the least to see Green Bay advance.  Philly 27-24

Early Super Bowl Picks:

Sir Hayes:  Patriots and Eagles.  Patriots are the favorite.

Rob:  Patriots (because I haven’t seen any weaknesses in them since Moss left) vs Green Bay (who stayed strong even without Aaron Rodgers).  Big winner (bets hedging):  Pittsburgh Steelers

Mindcricket:  New England vs. New Orleans – the old master squares off against the new master.  Both Bill Belichick and Sean Payton come from the BIll Parcells coaching tree and it shows with their teams preparedness and creative use of personnel.  With two weeks for these two masterminds to dissect each other, I think this match-up would be an absolute treat for NFL fans.  New England is the more likely team to get to the dance simply by holding serve at home, while New Orleans will need to win at least two road games.  I expect Green Bay will knock off Atlanta and put the Saints back in the Big Easy for the NFC championship.  Unfortunately, the black & gold’s good fortunes will stall once Tom Brady completes the masterpiece he didn’t finish in 2007.  New England 20, New Orleans 17.

JMB:  I like Pittsburgh coming out of the AFC.  NE is the top dog and probably the consensus pick, but I like the winner of Indy/Pittsburgh to knock off NE after NE gets a physical match from Baltimore or KC.

I like GB coming out of the NFC.  I think GB is that team that is peaking now at the right time.  They have the best D in the NFC playoffs, AND I trust Aaron Rogers more than any QB left in terms of protecting the ball while trying to go down field, and in health.  Vick is hurt.  Brees throws picks when the running game isn’t there.  Culter throws picks regardless.  Matt Ryan frankly doesn’t get the ball down field.  His yards per attempt is quite low, and its not as if they are a New England style passing game.

Super Bowl – I like Pittsburgh over GB, simply because I think Roethlisberger and Polamalu will find a way to make a big plays to win. That is what they seem to do with their backs against the wall.

Gools:  Ill pick Pittsburgh vs. Atlanta in the SB with Matty Ice winning game MVP honors and Falcons getting their first Lombardi trophy 23-16.

Big thanks to all contributors. Who do YOU think wins, GuysNation?