The Carolina Panthers are finally a .500 team! Their record? 8-8-1. That is a very average record. After losing in the wild card round (AGAIN!), Marvin Lewis' career record as an NFL head coach is 100-94-2. That is also a very average record. Marvin Lewis' career record in the playoffs? 0-6. That is a historically bad record. So bad, only Jim Mora Sr., who famously didn't want to talk about playoffs, is in the same league. Mora's record? Also 0-6. Aaron Rodgers and Tony Romo are two of the toughest QBs in the NFL, and they match up this week with Rodgers planning on playing with a calf muscle. When Cutler was in the playoffs, he took himself out off a game because of a bruised butt! Clearly Rodgers is a tough, tough man who wants to win.
We're getting closer to the Superbowl, and we're down to 8 teams left. Who's going to move on and who's going home? Here's how I see it playing out:
Ravens @ Patriots. The Patriots are unstoppable at home, even if the Ravens have historically performed well against them. Baltimore's defense is not as elite as it once was, and will struggle to contain Tom Brady in the playoffs. Patriots roll, sending the Ravens home (even though I'd love to see Baltimore's season end next week against the Colts in honor of Johnny Unitas, it's not going to happen). Final score: Patriots 35, Ravens 14.
Colts @ Broncos. I still don't trust Peyton Manning in big games. He has a habit of choking. His only Super Bowl victory came as a result of the inept combination of Rex Grossman and Lovie Smith. Indy will roll in this game, sending Peyton Manning home to watch Andrew Luck face Tom Brady (even though the officials will likely penalize the Colts heavily during this game in an attempt to set up another Manning-Brady matchup). Final score: Colts 38, Broncos 35.
Cowboys @ Packers. If Aaron Rodgers was healthy, I'd pick Green Bay in this game in a heartbeat. However, Rodgers hasn't been the same since getting injured and stomped on by N'Damukung Suh. Rodgers' calf will hold him and his team back as they barely fall to the Cowboys, who are on a roll. Final score: Cowboys 24, Packers 23.
Panthers @ Seahawks. The Panthers no longer have a losing record, and will give the Seahawks a run for their money this week. Everyone will pick the Seahawks to beat the Panthers at home, but I feel like the Panthers will shut down Seattle's passing game. They won't come out with a win, but this game is going to be extremely close and an extremely low scoring game. Final score, in overtime, Seahawks 17, Panthers 14.
Ravens @ Patriots: I will say I belive the Patriots are the most talented team all around in football. They have one of the top 5 greatest QBS of all time and a coach who is probably among the top 4 of all time. The Ravens on the other hand are probably the 7th most talented team remaining in the post season by all around talent. (Panthers the least). Yet this doesn't entirely matter just like 2 years ago the Ravens weren't the most talented they were just absolutely hot and have post season Joe. (ESPN copied me and took that) That same Ravens team won the superbowl. I'm taking upset Ravens 24 - Patriots 21.
Panthers @ Seahawks: Everybody is making a joke of Carolina being here. Let me just say the Panthers and Seahawks have always collided with great defenses and led to great matches. Seattle is the superior team though and at home. I take Seattle in a closer game then most expect. 27 - 23.
Colts @ Broncos: This game comes down to two things. Is it going to be cold outside and will Peyton finally perform in big games. Cold + playoff game = a terrible Peyton Manning. This being said Andrew Luck is overrated and I don't see him being able to come in to Denver and besting THIS Broncos TEAM. Peyton is not a team by this I mean it will have to be a team effort so don't crown Peyton for the whole credit. Broncos win 34 - 20.
Cowboys @ Packers : This could be game of the year, yes better then the Super Bowl. Aaron Rodgers is playing "injured" but technically so is Romo and I don't give it an excuse. Though the calf could be something terrible for Aaron to be playing with injured. I do want to say the Ice Bowl is the best game in football history. I think these two teams are identical entirely. This game is hard because yes the Cowboys are on the road but they are 8-0 on the road and did win in Seattle so they have won in a tough away game. I am going to take the NFL legend to be and his cheese head faithful to carry the team. Packers win 34 - 28.
Sports give us as the human race something to cheer for and support and give hope to all of us.