Eight teams will be in action over the weekend as the NFL playoffs kick off. Fox Business has evaluated the win/loss and stock market statistics over the past 20 seasons of playoff games for each team and come up with a ranking based on their playoff record and the prior weekâ€™s market activity. Here's a look at what which teams might come out victorious.
The major indexes saw weekly gains with the Dow Industrials gaining 0.8%, now on a six week winning streak. The S&P 500 was also up closing out the week with a 1.1% gain also up six weeks in a row. The markets had been pressured early on food inflation concerns as well as a larger than expected initial jobless claims number and lower than expected retail sales data but these were offset by upbeat manufacturing reports for the US, Asia, and Europe and a better than expected ADP private sector jobs report. Tech stocks driven by chipmakers got a boost from the new products displayed at the Consumer Electronics Show. The markets retreated late in the week after a weaker than expected December jobs report and a Massachusetts court ruling against U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) in an important home foreclosure case but still rode earlier gains to a positive finish.
AFC Game 1 â€“ Jets @ Colts
The sixth seed New York Jets (11-5) head back to Indianapolis where their 2009 playoff run ended last year to take on the third seed Colts (10-6).
Mark Sanchez in his second year has been suffering from a sore shoulder but was rested in the regular season finale along with RBs LaDanian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene. The Jets will need to rely on a strong running game to set the tempo and keep Peyton Manning on the bench which may help counter the pass rush by Indy DEs Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. Defensively, the Jets will need to put some pressure on Manning but have been hampered in the secondary lately by the loss of S Jim Leonhard and injuries to James Ihedigbo and Eric Smith.
The Colts are not without significant injuries which may make this a test of the depth chart. Manning is without the services of favorite targets Dallas Clark and Austin Collie but the running game has gotten a boost lately with the return of RB Joseph Addai. The Colts are coming off a four-game winning streak with a rejuvenated running game and run defense which will be tested by the Jetâ€™s fourth ranked ground game.
Over the past 20 years, the Jets have played 12 playoff games and have a playoff rank of .600 when the Dow closes the prior week up and .600 when the S&P 500 is up giving them a final rank for this week of .600. During the same 20 year period, the Colts have played 20 Playoff night games and have a rank of .462 when the Dow is up and .417 when the S&P 500 is up giving them a rank this week of .440.
FoxBusiness.com picks the New York Jets on the road to advance to the AFC Divisional round.
AFC Wildcard FBN Staff Picks:
Strong matchup but the win goes to the Colts. Jets are distracted.
Colts because the Jets have every reason to win this game but they are the Jets, and that is why they will lose.
Peyton has been in playoff mode for the past month and keeps his patchwork squad moving on past a Jets team that may have peaked too soon.
AFC Game 2 â€“ Ravens @ Chiefs
The fifth seed Baltimore Ravens (12-4) head into the playoffs for the third time behind QB Joe Flacco who has reached the playoffs each time in his first three seasons. RB Ray Rice will look to have a repeat of his hot streak at the end of last year against the Chiefâ€™s 14th ranked rush defense while Baltimoreâ€™s fifth ranked run defense will be tested by the Chiefâ€™s top ranked running offense. S Ed Reed has come on strong with eight interceptions over ten games in large part due to the stout run defense freeing him up in the secondary.
The fourth seed Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) make their first playoff appearance since 2006 behind their league leading rushing game led by RBs Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones. OLB Tamba Hali leads the AFC with 14.5 sacks and getting to Flacco may be the difference maker. WR Dwayne Bowe who missed a practice due to illness has had a great year and will have a much larger role if the Ravens can slow down the Chiefs' running game.
Over the past 20 years, the Ravens have played 12 playoff games and have a playoff rank of .600 when the Dow closes the prior week up and .667 when the S&P 500 is up giving them a final rank for this week of .634. During the same 20 year period, the Chiefs have also played 12 playoff night games and have a rank of .334 when the Dow is up and .428 when the S&P 500 is up, giving them a rank this week of .382.
FoxBusiness.com picks the Baltimore Ravens on the road to advance to the AFC Divisional round.
AFC Wildcard FBN Staff Picks:
Chiefs take the win. Theyâ€™re hungry. They havenâ€™t been to the playoffs since 2006.
Ravens are my AFC dark horse. Balance on offense and a defense that isnâ€™t as gnarly as it once was but is still pretty good.
Baltimore is more battle-tested and Ray Rice wins the battle of versatile backs over Chief RB Jamaal Charles. The veteran Ravens defense negates the Arrowhead advantage for KC.
NFC Game 1 â€“ Saints @ Seahawks
The fifth seed New Orleans Saints (11-5) head to Washington to take on the fourth seed Seattle Seahawks (7-9) without two of their most potent weapons, RBs Chris Ivory and Pierre Thomson who were placed on injured reserve. Several players were also limited in practice leading up to the game including S Malcolm Jennings and TE Jeremy Shockey. RB Reggie Bush is healthy however and set to be in the backfield with QB Drew Brees. Even with the injuries, this may seem to be a mis-match but the Saints should not get overconfident. The Seahawks, the first sub .500 team to make the playoffs, announced Thursday that they would go with veteran QB Matt Hasselbeck who has nine playoff appearances in his career and while the Saints are the defending Super Bowl champions, they have never won a playoff game on the road.
The Seahawks defense has given up a lot of points this season and will need to stiffen against the Saints who average 24 points per game. One factor that could make the difference is RB Leon Washington who may have the opportunity to break some big returns against the subpar Saints' Special Teams which can tilt the field in favor of the Seahawks.
Over the past 20 years, the Saints have played 9 Playoff night games and have a playoff rank of .500 when the Dow closes the prior week up and .667 when the S&P 500 is up giving them a final rank for this week of .584. During the same 20 year period, the Seahawks have also played 9 Playoff night games and have a rank of .250 when the Dow is up and .333 when the S&P 500 is up giving them a rank this week of .202.
FoxBusiness.com picks the New Orleans Saints on the road to advance to the NFC Divisional round.
AFC Wildcard FBN Staff Picks:
Who dat? Canâ€™t help it. My Louisiana history has me picking the Saints all the way.
Saints are a great road team. If you remember the days of Tony Galbreath and Archie Manning, that is really saying something. Saints win.
This game will be closer than many expect given the Seahawks losing record, due to injuries to the Saints top two running backs and Seattleâ€™s deafening home-field advantage. Still New Orleans will Brees to victory thanks to their Super Bowl MVP QB, who will expose the Seattle secondary.
NFC Game 2 â€“ Packers @ Eagles
The sixth seed Green Bay Packers (10-6) head to Philadelphia against the third seed Eagles (10-6). Packer QB Aaron Rodgers is third in the NFL with a rating of 101.2 and will test the Eagles pass defense. Rodgers has also become a threat outside of the pocket with an average of 4.3 yards per rush which is second only to the Eaglesâ€™ Michael Vick. LB Clay Matthews is fourth in the NFL with 13.5 sacks and had 3 sacks in the season opener against the Eagles which led to Vick replacing QB Kevin Kolb after a concussion. The Eagles are second in the NFL in interceptions and will work to contain Vick and force turnovers.
Eagles QB Michael Vick makes his first postseason appearance since 2004 and was rested along with a number of other starters in the season finale. Look for RB LeSean McCoy to get involved early. McCoy had 1080 yards on just 207 carries this season and a heavy dose would open up the long pass threat. The defense, which gave up 23.6 points per game will need to stiffen against a Packers offense which put up 24.2 points per game. CB Asante Samuel led the NFC with interceptions and will look to restrict Packers WR Greg Jennings who was fourth in the league with 1,265 yards.
Over the past 20 years, the Packers have played 21 playoff games and have a playoff rank of .636 when the Dow closes the prior week up and .545 when the S&P 500 is up giving them a final rank for this week of .591. During the same 20 year period, the Eagles have played 21 Playoff games and have a rank of .455 when the Dow is up and .455 when the S&P 500 is up giving them a rank this week of .455.
FoxBusiness.com picks the Green Bay Packers on the road to advance to the NFC Divisional round.
AFC Wildcard FBN Staff Picks:
Packers will take this one. Eagles have too many injuries to put up a good fight.
Tough one. Eagles could win the Super Bowl or lose this week. Vick is mercurial and Rodgers, when healthy is steady. Not sure if Rodgers is or will remain healthy and the Eags are at home. Take Philly to win.
This matchup features two Super Bowl favorites and may be the most fun of the weekend tilts to watch. At first glance, this matchup is all about the health of Eagles QB Michael Vick. But the key is actually Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, who like Manning, has faced must-win games just to be here this weekend. The team has only lost once (at Atlanta) of the eight games that Rodgers has finished since starting 3-3. Plus the Packers defense has the speed and strength to contain Vick and overpower the Philly offensive line.