The 2008 NFL playoff schedule is set after an exiting final Sunday. Who would have thought that the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots would fail to make the 2008-2009 playoffs after such great 2007 seasons? That was the case after Tony Romo could not get the Cowboys going against the Eagles and would lose 44-6? The Eagles needed some help to get into the playoffs earlier on Sunday. Since Oakland upset Tampa Bay and Houston took down Chicago earlier in the day, the win over the Cowboys got the Eagles the final wild card spot for next weekend in the NFC.
NFL Playoff Schedule
Jan. 3, 2009: AFC, NFC wild-card games
Jan. 4, 2009: AFC wild-card game ; NFC wild-card game
Jan. 10, 2009: AFC divisional playoff game; NFC divisional playoff game
Jan. 11, 2009: AFC divisional playoff game; NFC divisional playoff game
Jan. 18, 2009: AFC Championship Game; NFC Championship Game
Feb. 1: Super Bowl XLIII at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida
Even with their defeat to Indianapolis today, the Titans head into the playoffs with home field advantage and the number one seed in the AFC. Tennessee has clinched the AFC South, a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout playoffs. Pittsburgh has clinched the AFC North and a first-round bye. San Diego won their way into the playoffs with a defeat of the Denver Broncos to cap a remarkable turn-around this season finishing at 8-8 after sitting at 4-8 four games ago. Denver has obtained the distinction of being the first team ever to be in first place for the duration of the season to lose a playoff berth in the last week of the regular season.
AFC Wild Card Game Previews and Predictions for the Jan 3rd and 4th Wild-Card Games
Games listed are based on the new tie-breaking procedures found here!
Saturday 3 January 2009 at Qualcomm Stadium, 8pm (Shown on NBC)
Indianapolis Colts (12-4) at the San Diego Chargers (8-8)
Both teams enter the first round of the playoffs peaking at the end of the season. The Colts started the season 2-4 and have been led by Peyton Manning to 9 consecutive victories in a row to finish out the season! Phillip Rivers and the Chargers have been almost as hot coming in to the playoffs with 4 consecutive wins and a bit more balanced of an offensive attack than Indy has displayed this season. Although Indy defeated the Chargers earlier this season, 23-20, the odds only have the Colts favored by 1 point.
Prediction: The Colts find their running game and defeat the Chargers at home for a 10th straight victory this season, 35-31.
Sunday 4 January 2009 at Dolphin Stadium, 1pm (Shown on CBS)
Baltimore Ravens (11-5) at the Miami Dolphins (11-5)
Baltimore is coming off of a big win over the Jags, 27-7 to finish the season at 11-5 to cap an amazing turnaround after their 5-11 season in 2007. Quarterback Joe Flacco passed for a career high 297 yards in the win over the Jags to win their way into this year’s playoffs. The Miami Dolphins were also in a must-win situation on Sunday against the New York Jets. The Dolphins prevailed, winning 24-17 and capped a remarkable turn-around for the Dolphins who were 1-15 last season. As a result of the victory the Dolphins won the AFC East title for the first time since 2000 and their 10 win improvement is tied with the the 1999 Colts for the best improvement ever in NFL history.
Prediction: The Ravens are favored to win the game by 3 points. Earlier in the season they defeated the Dolphins 27-13 in Miamai in October. Prediction is that Flacco leads the Ravens to a second victory over Miami, 21-10.
Tennessee Titans (13-3)
Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)
New York Giants have clinched the NFC East, a first-round bye, and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Arizona has clinched the NFC West. Some surprises this past Sunday were the Eagles drubbing of the Cowboys as well as the upsets of Tampa Bay and the Chicago Bears. The NFC Wild Card will kick off with what is expected to be a high scoring game pitting the Falcons against the Arizona Cardinals with the Eagles taking on the Vikings in the Sunday game.
NFC Wild Card Game Previews and Predictions for the Jan 3rd and 4th Wild-Card Games
Saturday 3 January 2009, at the University of Phoenix Stadium, 430PM, (Shown on NBC)
Atlanta Falcons (11-5) at the Arizona Cardinals (9-7)
Atlanta enters the game having outlasted Saint Louis, 31-27, to cap a remarkable turnaround from their 4-12 record last season in the wake of the Michael Vick scandal. Behind rookie quarterback, Matt Ryan, Atlanta was able to obtain the number 5 playoff ranking with the late victory Wild Card playoff spot. The Cardinals come into the game defeating Seattle 31-24 and winning the NFC West. The Cardinals came into the game having lost 4 of their last 5 games, but were led to victory by quarterback Kurt Warner.
Prediction: Atlanta is favored to win the game by 2.5 points. Although the two teams did not meet head-head this season, the Falcons come into the game having won their last three games of the regular season. Prediction is that Atlanta wins and covers the spread, 35-28.
Sunday 4 January 2009, at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, 430PM (Shown on FOX)
Philadelphia Eagles (9-6-1) at the Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
Philadelphia had to beat the Cowboys and get a lot of help to make this playoff game. They did just that in a very impressive win over Dallas (44-6) to get to the playoffs. Minnesota comes into the Wild Card game having taken down the number one seeded, New York Giants, 20-19 with a 50 yard field goal as time expired in Sundays game. The Vikings won their first NFC North title since the league re-alignment and have made the playoffs for the first time in four years. Adrian Peterson ran for 105 yards for the Vikings in the win over the Giants and looks to be a big factor for Minnesota in the off-season.
Prediction: Philadelphia is favored to win by 3 points. After looking at how both teams performed against Atlanta earlier in the season and Sunday’s games, our prediction is that the Eagles win and cover the spread, 21-17.
New York Giants (12-4)
Carolina Panthers (12-4)