NTCF Divisional Round NFL Playoff Picks

Last week Matt went 3-1 besting all the other writers on this blog, while Brick was like Jeremy Giambi circa 2004 going 0-4. Everyone else went 2-2, and as much as everyone wanted to pick the Seahawks, no one pulled the trigger. Let’s see what happens this weekend.

I’m going to try and control my urge to boast about my game-picking superiority, but it is getting more and more difficult. By the time I got around to entering my picks, B-Farl, Scottie, and Gambo had all entered their picks and were unanimous on 3 of 4 match-ups. I want to protect the lead, but I’m not trying to start picking games like a baby over here. Time to get a bit creative…let’s do it…

Ravens @ Steelers

B Farl- Ravens

Easily the game I am most looking forward to watching this weekend. I think that the Ravens will win the rubber match this season, Pittsburgh’s offensive line is suspect and I think they will have their hands full with the Ravens pass rush. Mike Wallace no doubt poses a problem to the Ravens secondary and I fully expect this to be a close game. This is a defining moment for Flacco’s young career and I’m a fan.

Scott- Ravens

Polamalu isn’t 100% healthy. Rothelisberger is gimpy as well. Ray Rice and Flacco seem to be clicking at the right time. Furthermore, I don’t think the Steeler offense is capable of moving the ball efficiently against the Ravens D. This is as smash mouth as football gets and I am very excited for this game.

Gambo – Ravens

A tough, physical matchup for two prototypical smash-mouth football teams. Both have intimidating defenses that are a little short on cornerbacks, and offensives that have big, mobile quarterbacks, strong running games and play-making wide receivers. With a matchup this close you would usually side with the home team, but I said in the beginning that I am sticking with my preseason picks, so Baltimore gets the nod.

Matt – Steelers

I was leaning towards Baltimore in this one, but these three guys up above all went in that direction, so I’m taking a U-turn. When it comes to playoff time, there are four crucial elements that determine how much success your team can have, ability to run, ability to stop the run, limiting turnovers, and experience. Both the Steelers and Ravens can run, stop the run, and limit the turnovers, but the Steelers have a big advantage over the Ravens when it comes to experience. The more I think about it, the less I see Joe Flacco making some big plays late in the fourth quarter. I’m with Polamalu in this one…

Brick- Steelers

The only team that I see anywhere near the Patriots is the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger is a gamer (among other things) who really knows how to get what he wants late in the game even if he has to rely on his body guards to protect him in the bathroom…er, pocket…Wait, are we still talking football?  Mike Wallace is also one of the best WRs in the league now who can get by even the toughest secondarys.  This game is definitely going to be close but Roth will be the one taking the knee late in the 4th.

Q – Steelers

I’m keeping it short and sweet.  Strangely I’m picking this based on home field advantage even though each team won on the road against each other this season.  Except the Ravens did not have to face Big Ben, and although he did not have a great performance against them, the Ravens are still 0-1 facing him this season.

Packers @ Falcons

B-Farl- Packers

Atlanta is 20-2 at home with Matt Ryan, I hate the Matty Ice nickname it reminds me of cheap thirty racks for beer pong in college. Green Bay has been playing playoff games the past three weeks and I think they are the most dangerous team in the playoffs right now. They have a complete team and they are playing great football. To plug the fantasy football column that I jumped ship on earlier in the year I have two words…James Starks.

Scott- Packers

All year I have compared the Packers to the Red Sox with their injury woes. The difference is the Packers were actually able to overcome the losses of JerMichael Finley and Ryan Grant. The bottom line here is that Rodgers is the 2nd best quarterback in the playoffs right now, and the Packer defense is outstanding. I fully expect Michael Turner to gain less than 50 yards and for Charles Woodson to shut down Roddy White. Clay Matthews is going to be nightmarish for Matty Ice and at the end of the day we will be talking about the Pack going to the NFC Championship.

Gambo – Packers

Atlanta is 20-2 at home with Matt Ryan and are the No. 1 seed in the NFC with Michael Turner and Roddy White, but once again I have to stick with my preseason pick. The Packers looked great last week versus the Eagles. The defense is hands down the best in the NFC and if James Starks can give Green Bay half of what he did at Philadelphia, this team looks primed for a Super Bowl run. I fully expect the winner of this game to end up in Dallas.

Matt – Falcons

The reason I really love the nickname Matty Ice is because when anchors and “experts” on ESPN throw out the “Matty Ice” like it’s the cool thing to do, they often fail to realize that the nickname came from one of the worst beers of all time, but a beer that is commonplace with drunk college students. Anyways, similarly to the Ravens-Steelers game, the three previous writers all jumped on the Packers wagon after they beat down the Eagles. I can’t argue with that, I’ve been riding on the wagon since August. In the week 12 match-up between the Falcons and Packers, Aaron Rodgers had a huge day, while Clay Matthews was contained. The difference in that game was Michael Turner. I’m looking for the Packers to get a big dose of Turner combined with some late-game Matty Ice en route to a Falcons victory.

Brick- Falcons

The Packers still haven’t played well on the road (3-5) despite their road win against the choke job Eagles last week.  Matt Ryan and the Falcons are nearly unstoppable at home (7-1) and they bring a very balanced offense that has options everywhere.  If the Falcons offensive line can neutralize Clay Matthews you’ll have the Falcons walking away easily here.

Q – Packers

I do not know why, but I cannot trust the Falcons completely.  I understand the outrageous home record that Mattural Ice boasts, but watching them play a few games this year they appeared to be more lucky than good at points.  The Packers are on a roll and may not be stopped until the Super Bowl.

Seahawks @ Bears

B-Farl- Bears

I can’t believe the Bears are going to make it into the Conference Championship. What a boring team, but what a solid team. Mike Martz has been good for Jay Cutler and even better for Matt Forte. Forte is a complete back in this offense and he needs to be, have you seen the receivers? Seattle was a great story in round one and they will be who we thought they were come Sunday.

Scott- Bears

If the Seahawks secondary wasn’t atrocious, I’d pick the Seahawks here. I don’t trust Jay Cutler to lead a team deep into the playoffs but it appears the Bears are getting a second bye here. Their defense is a helluva lot better than the Saints and theres no way Seattle throws up 41 points against them.

Gambo – Bears

Chicago is very reminiscent of the team that went to the Super Bowl in 2006. That said, the other two remaining teams in the NFC are easily more impressive. Still, a suffocating defense leads the way, while the offense is based upon the quarterback not making mistakes. I don’t see Jay Cutler as a Super Bowl QB, but against a depleted Seahawks secondary he should keep it to only one interception.

Matt – Bears

I would like to say that I have an urge to pick the Seahawks here, but I really don’t. I’ll admit, they surpirsed me last week against the Saints. But, when you take a look at it, the Saints may have been the ideal opponent for the Hawks, or at least from those playing. Both the Packers and Eagles have much better defenses that New Orleans, and when you get into a shootout against a team, you never know what will happen. The Seahawks have been decent all season at home, but not very good on the road. The Bears defense will shut down Seattle’s offense, so it will be up to Jay Cutler not to throw 4 picks and blow the game.

Brick- Bears

Like Matt, I have the most insane urge to pick the Seahawks here but, I just don’t see it happening this week for Petey Carrol.  The Seahawks are arguably the worst road team in the league with their last road win coming on November 14th at Arizona.  However, their previous road win before that…October 17th at Chicago.  If that wasn’t so long ago I’d be even more intrigued to pick Seattle.  I think a lot of last weeks win for the Seahawks was built on emotion from squeaking into the playoffs, I’m not so sure they can keep it up for another week.  It’s not good that Seattle’s only hope is Cutler turnovers…

Q – Seahawks

You play to win the game…  And that is why I’m picking the Seahawks.  I sat at my computer last Friday night/Saturday morning/Early Saturday morning convincing myself that I was going to take the Seahawks and folded like a little baby when it came to crunch time, picking the Saints…we all know how that worked out, so this time if it bites me it bites me, if not, I’m the smart guy in the room.

Jets @ Patriots

B-Farl- Jets

This is a pick em’, not a who do you believe will win right? Look, I fully expect New England to win this game however I am a competitive person and I need to pick up a game somewhere. My devils advocate argument: I’ll go with the young Pats defense being caught by the levity of the situation vs. the Jets defense actually showing up this game. New England showed them the blueprint game plan last meeting. Rex Ryan, as much as he sticks his foot in his mouth (Peter Griffin laugh), he can scheme. This won’t be a blowout like last time.

Scott- Patriots

This game is scary to me as a Patriot fan. If the Jets have any sort of pride they will want to show some after being embarrassed the last time they took the field at Gillette Stadium. But with news that Damien Woody, the Jets best run blocker, is out for the remainder of the playoffs, Mark Sanchez being injured as well, I like the Pats. The Jets also don’t have anyone that can stop Gronkowski or Hernandez with Jim Leonhard out. Lastly, LT is a Jet, and history tells us that LT chokes like no other in big games.

Gambo – Patriots

Not that I ever really lost faith in Bill Belichick, but I am a firm believer once again. The offense looks just as good as it did in 2007 and the defense reminds of 2001 all over again. The Jets are very talented on defense and will challenge Brady’s bunch, but will not be able to keep them out of the endzone all game. Mark Sanchez has made strides, and even with weapons like Tomlinson, Greene, Holmes, Edwards and Keller, he is still a young player with a ways to go.

Matt – Patriots

I’m fully expecting the Jets defense to stroll into Gillette Stadium on Sunday fired up, ready to go, realizing that the only way their team will win is if they post a shutout, or something close to it. As much as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are deflecting all of the s**t that the Jets are talking, you know that the fire in their belly’s are burning even hotter after hearing everything coming out of New York. Rex Ryan should be worrying about some more dudes doing work on his wifes feet and Antonio Cromartie should be concerned about missing more child support payments. How do you complain about Tom Brady pointing at you when you run your mouth all week and proceed to get smoked 45-3? I’m confident in the Patriots on Sunday, but it’s the playoffs which means that anything could happen.

Brick- Patriots

I don’t believe that the last 45-3 meeting in Foxboro was a fluke but I don’t believe the Jets really brought their A-game either.  The Patriots are in the Jets heads no matter how much the Jets say otherwise.  There really isn’t much more to say over what the guys above me said other than the Jets fear playing the Patriots at Gillette a lot more than they show it.  Tom Brady (a Michigan/Patriots fan’s immortal icon) will be waving his luscious locks after a sound divisional deFEAT of Rex Ryan and his whiny Jets.

Q – Patriots

The Patriots are playing at home.  If that doesn’t convince you…Tom Brady is playing at home.  Last year was a result of bad timing and circumstance…the Patriots have been the best team in the NFL for over 2 months and it is tough to see them stopping that just because the Jets are babies.

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One Response

  1. I quoted Herm Edwards earlier with my Seahawks pick…and now I see that he and I are opposite on all 4 picks…he’s an idiot

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