If it wasn't for that infamous 4th & 26, this would have been the 2003 NFC Championship. Carolina will shut down Ahman Green, making things difficult for Brett Favre. If the Packers don't have Mike McKenzie available, Jake Delhomme will be throwing downfield all game long.
Carolina Panthers 27, Green Bay Packers 10.


Dallas Cowboys (11-5) at Detroit Lions (10-6)

The '98 New York Jets, I mean the Dallas Cowboys travel to Detroit, where the Lions will be playing their first playoff game since 1999. Expect the natural postseason jitters from a very young Lions team. In 2005, they will have a shot at the Super Bowl, but not this year. Dallas wins in overtime.
Dallas Cowboys 23, Detroit Lions 20.


AFC Wild Card

Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6) at Tennessee Titans (11-5)

Although they were close in the standings, they were not during the regular season. The Titans swept the Jaguars, winning 23-20 and 28-10. Jacksonville will not be able to advance the football against Tennessee's superb run defense. Jacksonville has an excellent stop unit themselves, but they can be beaten with the pass, which Steve McNair can take advantage of. The Jaguars will have to wait until 2005 to defeat Tennessee.
Tennessee Titans 24, Jacksonville Jaguars 10.


New York Jets (11-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)

This is the upset of Wild Card Weekend. Kansas City was foolish and did not upgrade their defense this offseason, which is why they'll lose their second consecutive playoff game at home.
New York Jets 38, Kansas City Chiefs 34.


NFC Divisional Round

Dallas Cowboys (11-5) at Seattle Seahawks (12-4)

It'll be very difficult for Dallas to travel up to frigid Seattle and win a playoff contest. Matt Hasselbeck and his talented receivers will abuse Dallas' shaky pass defense. Like the Cowboys, the Seahawks have one of the better defenses in the NFC. Dallas will have their shot at revenge in 2005.
Seattle Seahawks 27, Dallas Cowboys 16.


Carolina Panthers (10-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (12-4)

Can you say "revenge?" I can't. Philadelphia does not have the defense to stop neither the combination of Stephen Davis and Deshaun Foster, nor the passing game of the Carolina Cats. The Eagles' young secondary will be exposed as Jake Delhomme connects early and often with Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad. The Panthers have one of the elite defenses in professional football, so shutting down Philly's improved offense shouldn't be much of a challenge.
Carolina Panthers 24, Philadelphia Eagles 13.


AFC Divisional Round

New York Jets (11-5) at New England Patriots (12-4)

Much like the Titans-Jaguars playoff contest, the Jets will have to overcome a rival who swept them during the regular season. They won't be able to until 2005. New England's defense will get inside Chad Pennington's head, much like the Oakland-New York playoff game in 2002.
New England Patriots 27, New York Jets 17.


Tennessee Titans (11-5) at Baltimore Ravens (12-4)

Baltimore lost to Tennessee in a home playoff game in 2003. Responsible for that victory was Eddie George, whose tough running made up for the mistakes Steve McNair made. Also gone are Robaire Smith and Jevon Kearse. The Titan defensive line is still decent, but Jamal Lewis will have an easier time running through lanes created by his mammoth offensive line. However, Lewis may not be available due to legal issues. If that wasn't factored in, Baltimore would win this contest, but selecting a team to win when their best offensive option may not be unavailable is foolish.
Tennessee Titans 16, Baltimore Ravens 13.


NFC Championship Game

Carolina Panthers (10-6) at Seattle Seahawks (12-4)

This is about as even as two teams can get. Carolina has the slight edge on defense, while Seattle has the minimal advantage on offense. There's a greater chance that the Panthers will not be here (read Top Stories: Super Bowl losers), and the Seahawks will be at home, where they are nearly invincible. Seattle goes to the Super Bowl.
Seattle Seahawks 24, Carolina Panthers 21.


AFC Championship Game

Tennessee Titans (11-5) at New England Patriots (12-4)

The Patriots are the best team in the NFL. However, given the current state of the NFL and the manner in which previous Super Bowl winners have played their following seasons, I can not have New England advancing to the Super Bowl. Remember, the Titans were a Drew Bennett dropped pass away from winning in Foxboro.
Tennessee Titans 13, New England Patriots 10.


Super Bowl XXXIX

Tennessee Titans (11-5) vs. Seattle Seahawks (13-3)

We have all seen this before. A great defense against a great offense. History has displayed that the defensive team always defeats the offensive team. Shaun Alexander will have problems running against the Titans' stout defense, which will make things more difficult for Matt Hasselbeck. Steve McNair, perhaps the toughest player in the NFL, will lead his team to victory.
Tennessee Titans 21, Seattle Seahawks 13.



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