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Open Thread: NFL Divisional Playoffs, Day 1

The 2009 NFL Divisional playoffs are upon us!  What, you're not excited?  Yeah, me either.  Being a Buffalo Bills fan will do that to you - we haven't tasted playoff football in nearly a decade.  I've forgotten that flavor.

Still, good football is good football, and at least one of today's matchups is sure to be exactly the type of football I love watching.  Good defense rules.

Care to make a prediction about today's games?  I know I am, even though I only correctly predicted one of last week's four wild card games.  Who says you can't play the game if you stink at it?  I'm diving in head-first again this weekend, starting with today's two matchups.

Bal_medium   Ten_medium
Baltimore Ravens (12-5) at Tennessee Titans (13-3)
4:30 PM EST, CBS
Titans coverage: Music City Miracles
Ravens coverage: Baltimore Beatdown

-If the cliche "defense wins championships" holds true, then this is going to be a championship playoff matchup.  That's really the long and short of it.  I love watching two smash-mouth football teams slug it out in a low-scoring game, so I'm going to love watching this one.  The tough part is guessing who'll win - also an appealing characteristic of this game.  I think Baltimore is a slightly better team, especially defensively, so I'm going with the upset pick.

Prediction: RAVENS 13, TITANS 9
Familiar faces: Ravens DT Justin Bannan, S Jim Leonhard, RB Willis McGahee.

Ari_medium   Car_medium
Arizona Cardinals (10-7) at Carolina Panthers (12-4)
8:15 PM EST, FOX
Panthers coverage: Cat Scratch Reader
Cardinals coverage: Revenge of the Birds

- Remember what I just said about enjoying watching two smash-mouth football teams slug it out?  The Panthers are that team.  The Cardinals are not.  If 2008 was anything, it was a year in which physicality, a strong running game and hitting the guy across the line from you in the mouth won out the vast majority of the time.  Just look at the top two teams in each conference - if the Titans, Steelers, Giants and Panthers are known for anything, they're known for knocking the crap out of their opponent every single week.  Sorry, Cards fans; your team doesn't stand a chance tonight.

Prediction: PANTHERS 31, CARDINALS 17
Familiar Faces: Cardinals OL Mike Gandy.

(Notice how neither the Titans or Panthers have a single, solitary ex-Bill on their team.  OK, Josh Stamer is a Titan, but he's on IR - he doesn't count.  No wonder those teams were a combined 25-7 this year.)

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