Howard Balzer

Tuesday, December 30, 2003 at 1:00am

Just so none of you faithful readers think the following has anything to do with the fact that this is being written for a Nashville paper, consider that back in May I predicted in Lindy's pro football magazine that the Titans would defeat the Packers in the Super Bowl.

And, even though many things have changed since last spring, I try to stay true to my preseason thoughts. To further reiterate that, the following playoff predictions are also in USA Today Sports Weekly this week. Thus, a national audience will also be able to call me crazy.

But here, from this weekend through Feb. 1, is how I think the postseason will develop.

NFC

Wild-Card Weekend

Green Bay over Seattle: Mike Holmgren returns to Green Bay, but the Packers won't allow a repeat of last season's playoff loss to Atlanta.

Carolina over Dallas: It was a great run for the Cowboys, but Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme will make fewer mistakes than Quincy Carter.

Divisional Playoff

Green Bay over Philadelphia: The Eagles are only 5-3 at home, likely won't have Brian Westbrook, and they won't be able to stop Packers running back Ahman Green.

St. Louis over Carolina: The Panthers will experience problems with noise, and quarterback Marc Bulger will do just enough to win.

Conference Championship

Green Bay over St. Louis: The spirit of Irvin Favre guides this team of destiny to a victory in the stunned Rams dome.

AFC

Wild-card Weekend

Tennessee over Baltimore: One-dimensional Ravens won't be able to handle playoff-ready Titans. But it will be a war.

Indianapolis over Denver: In a shootout, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning finally registers a playoff victory.

Divisional Playoff

Tennessee over New England: Patriots bubble bursts as defense can't find an answer for Titans quarterback Steve McNair.

Kansas City over Indianapolis: Arrowhead Stadium in January is not the place for the Colts offense to shine, as Priest Holmes runs wild.

Conference Championship

Tennessee over Kansas City: He's not what he once was, but Eddie George still has game as Titans control the tempo and stymie Chiefs offense.

Super Bowl XXXVIII

Tennessee over Green Bay: In the ultimate battle of warrior quarterbacks, McNair ends Brett Favre's miraculous run.

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