The NFL's Wild Card Playoffs begin at 4:30 PM EST this afternoon! Obviously the Broncos aren't a part of it, but we have our own bit of excitement to deal with. That doesn't mean we should ignore the football happening on the field. Consider this your open thread for today's games, your predictions for today's games, and anything else playoffs-related.
Atlanta Falcons (11-5) at Arizona Cardinals (9-7)
4:30 PM EST, NBC
Falcons coverage: The Falcoholic
Cardinals coverage: Revenge of the Birds
The Broncos beat the Falcons, in Atlanta even, but there is nothing disputing just how good of a football team this is. Matt Ryan is the only reason Ryan Clady isn't Rookie of the Year and Michael Turner showed exactly what the right Free Agent acquisition can do for a football team. The Cardinals are high flying, but extrememly one dimensional. They are playing their first home playoff game in 100 years, and haven't won a playoff gaem since Jake Plummer beat the Cowboys 10 years ago. Final Verdict: The Falcons have great balance on both sides of the ball. Add that to the fact that what appeared to be Jason Elam heading to the home town team has turned into what could be a deep run in the playoffs ang you have to root for the Falcons, right?.
Prediction: FALCONS 24, CARDINALS 20
Indianapolis Colts (12-4) at San Diego Chargers (8-8)
8:00 PM EST, NBC
Colts coverage: Stampede Blue
Chargers coverage: Bolts from the Blue
The Broncos didn't win the battle against the Chargers, but it is Denver that could be the reason the Chargers are one and done in the playoffs. LaDainian Tomlinson has a torn tendon near his groin and is a game time decision. Antonio Gates is also hobbled and if the Chargers are to have any chance in beating the Cotls they'll need to score.
For Indy, the Tony Dungy watch is once again on, and Peyton Manning is playing arguably the best ball of his career. Plus, I consider BigBlueShoe a good friend. I'll pull for the Colts, and believe they'll go on the road and beat Phyllis and the Chargers.
Prediction: Colts 38, Chargers 21
Hat tip to Buffalo Rumblings for the preview piece.