Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens
Saturday 4:30 p.m.
It is going to be loud in Baltimore, and the Ravens will be fresh and extremely enthusiastic. Baltimore had the bye week to mend some wounds and watch Indianapolis beat Kansas City in a game in which the Colts had 23 first downs before the Chiefs got their first. It is imperative for the Colts to weather the storm early on the road, especially as their defense is even worse when trailing. The Ravens have a fantastic defense and might be the nastiest team in the playoffs; they are going to be ready to play. Bob Sanders' return to the lineup last week energized the Colts defense, which played very well. Both teams should enter this game with confidence. This should be a good one.
Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints
Saturday 8:00 p.m.
Can the Saints continue their Cinderella season against an Eagles team that is playing with a lot of confidence? When these teams meet in Week 6, the Saints outplayed the Eagles in all three phases of the game. Saints head coach Sean Payton will rely on quarterback Drew Brees to attack with short, rhythm passing game to set up the run. Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson must find a way to neutralize the Saints' running game, while pressuring Brees in the pocket.
Look for Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg to continue to stay balanced by relying on RB Brian Westbrook to set up the play-action pass against a suspect Saints run defense. Saints defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs will rely on his attacking multiple fronts to disrupt the Eagles' blocking patterns, while trying to keep QB Jeff Garcia in the pocket in passing situations.
Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears
Sunday 1:00 p.m.
The Seahawks were embarrassed by a Week 4 loss in Chicago and will look to avenge that loss by beating the Bears at home and knocking them out of the playoffs. The Bears are the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but they have a huge question mark at quarterback. Rex Grossman has been up and down all season, and if he struggles this week, he and the Bears could be in trouble. Grossman needs to have a smart game to take advantage of the injury-plagued Seahawks secondary.
New England Patriots at San Diego Chargers
Sunday 4:30 p.m.
Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson, the league's MVP and Offensive Player of the Year, will go up against the NFL's fifth-ranked run defense. New England QB Tom Brady looks poised to make another great run in the playoffs, as he was almost flawless in a wild-card win over the Jets. San Diego QB Philip Rivers played better in Week 17 against Arizona, but overall he has not played well over the past month. This will be Rivers' first taste of the postseason, and it will come against a Bill Belichick-coached defense. Belichick does an excellent job of putting his guys in position to succeed and has made even the most seasoned QBs struggle in the playoffs.