Today's NFL Matchups
The "early" game is Washington at Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay is favored by 2 points, as befits the home team. However, they have a quarterback (Chris Simms) who has never played in a postseason game. They are facing a team that's won five games in a row and which is led by a quarterback with experience at winning playoff games on the road. I really see this game as a coin toss, slight edge to Washington because of the experience factor at quarterback.
The later game features Jacksonville at New England. Is there anybody in the world who thinks Jacksonville can win this game? Yeah, on any given Sunday, but this is Saturday and Cinderella ain't going dancing.
Start with the quarterback. Tom Brady has done more to push forward his case as the the greatest player in the history of pro football at his age than anybody in the past. Joe Montana didn't have three Super Bowl rings after four years in the league; it took him nine. Brady's 9-0 as a postseason starter.
Byron Leftwich is playing in his first playoff contest. Leftwich seems to be developing into a top-flight quarterback. In his third season, he upped his yards per attempt to over 7.0 and threw only 5 interceptions. His TD total was low at 15. Although he's black, he doesn't play the black style of quarterbacking; he was credited with only 67 rushing yards on 31 attempts.
Could I see Jacksonville winning? Sure, if they get a couple of lucky plays and Tom Brady stops playing like Bart Starr's more athletic brother. But don't count on it!