Thanks to not having class on Wednesday, my post-video-game-marathon evening was freed to keep Byron awake while I researched this week's playoff games. I think I may actually watch everything I'm in town for, and maybe the ones that I'm not in town for, thanks to Ryan's DVR. I'm basing these picks mostly on rushing DVOA and Weighted Overall DVOA.
4 points: Chicago Bears over Seattle Seahawks. This one's not even close. Despite what ESPN may try to push on you, this is the least likely of the upsets to occur this weekend. Seattle's run defense sucks; the Bears' doesn't. Chicago is a good team; the Seahawks aren't. End of story.
3 points: Baltimore Ravens over Indianapolis Colts. I really struggled to assign point values for the other matchups; I'm really not that sure on any of them. Baltimore's defense is absolutely killer, though, and should be more than capable of stopping both Manning and Addai, or at least slowing them down enough to where the offense can keep up. I'm sensing a low-scoring, close game here, but I feel more confident in Baltimore than I do about the other two teams.
2 points: New England Patriots over San Diego Chargers. While this is my least confident pick, I gave this game two points because of the numbers. Philadelphia and New Orleans are much more evenly matched than the Patriots and the Chargers, both in terms of rushing defense and overall DVOA. I think this will definitely be THE game of the playoffs. The Patriots do a lot of things very well, with rushing defense being one of them. The Chargers, with a respectable defense overall, just do not defend against the rush very well. Both teams have the ability to attack over ground and over air, but I think the Patriots will come out on top. Sorry, Jeff.
1 point: Philadelphia Eagles over New Orleans Saints. These are two extremely evenly-matched teams. Their offenses, defenses, and overall DVOA are very similar, but Philadelphia does a bit better on defense. This may be offset by the extra week of rest New Orleans has received; I'm not sure. Whoever the winner is, they'll have trouble matching up against the Bears in the next round, though.