Playoff Preview – Divisional Round

My favorite week, with the exception of week 1, of the NFL season/playoffs is here. The #1 and #2 seeded big gun’s return from their week off and face the best of the remaining teams.

Saturday, January 12th 4:30pm ET Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos

The Ravens step into Mile High with a win over Andrew Luck’s Colt’s in the Wildcard round. I’ve watched the Ravens quite a bit throughout the season and maybe it’s just me, but the Ravens intensity on defense against the Colts looked like the scary Ravens of old. Well, at least in the first half. The Colts had a lot of trouble having success on offense pretty much the entire game. The results of their drives in the first half of the game, in order: punt, fumble, punt, punt, field goal, field goal. The Ravens got off to a slow start as hi-res-156666942_crop_exactwell. This gave the Colts life, considering the score at the half being 10-6 in favor of the Ravens, it was not close to out of reach with the chokehold on the Colt’s offense in mind. Baltimore seemingly easily pulled out the win and limited the Colts to 9 total points. Overall, the Colt’s had a hugely successful year considering many had them at 32 in power rankings at week 1.

I digress.

Purposely.

I had to put some filler in so that I don’t come off, completely, as a Bronco’s fan boy. The Bronco’s are not the Colt’s. Peyton Manning is not Andrew Luck. Peyton Manning is a Raven killer. A Raven killer when the Raven’s defense was the most feared defense in league, not a watered down version of it. Denver went into Baltimore and beat the Ravens 34-17 in Week 15 and that means two things. The Bronco’s have extreme confidence that they can beat this team at home and the Raven’s want revenge. There were several injuries on offense and defense for the Raven’s that game but nothing game changing in my opinion.

The MVP candidate Manning throughout his playoff career has had seven ‘1 and dones’. Seven years where his team has made the playoffs and lost their first game in the playoffs. Even Manning himself has something to prove here, which I love.

Baltimore had success through the air towards the end of the week 15 matchup and Anquan Boldin is coming off of a fantastic week where he was very effective. Bailey and Harris will be tested for sure as Flacco loves to throw those deep balls pretty much at any time when there is single coverage. However, I only see Baltimore winning this game in one of two ways. 1: they force 4+ turnovers and even then they don’t have that great of a chance considering they struggled to execute at times against a poor defense last week. 2: if they knock Manning out of the game. Beyond that, it’s a landslide victory that won’t even feel like a playoff game.

Winner: THE Denver Broncos

 

Saturday, January 12th 8:00pm ET Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers

I don’t want to write about this game. I don’t want to think about match-ups or stats or anything that happened previously this season with these two teams. I want to sit down and watch a game that I have no idea what to expect out of it and love every minute. I have to pick a winner, though. How do I reach who my winner is? Whose team has Aaron Rodgers as their QB?

Winner: Green Bay Packers

 

Sunday, January 13th 1:00pm ET Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta’s strength is passing the football to their large and extremely athletic receivers. Oh, and Tony Gonzalez, too.

Seattle’s defensive strength is defending the pass.

Seattle’s offensive strength is running the ball a whole lot.

Atlanta doesn’t defend the run well. In fact, they don’t defend much of anything too well.

However, they somehow still manage to limit the scoring of their opponent. They actually have given up fewer points on the year than the entire AFC with the exception of the Bronco’s.

120910-wilson-480It’s widely known that Matt Ryan is 0-3 in the playoffs and no one more than him would like to break that streak. But with a Seattle team who seems to be peaking at the right time and that underdog hunger and mentality, he has his hands full.

I want Atlanta to win because I think an ATL/GB NFC championship matchup would be great to watch, but I’m going with my gut.

Winner: Seattle Seahawks

 

Sunday, January 13th 4:30pm ET Houston Texans at New England Patriots

I don’t really care that the Patriots blew out the Texans earlier this year because stats and history show that that doesn’t predict how the rematch wil1355256148_tom-brady-articlel go.

One thing I will say about that game is how easily it seemed the Patriots moved the ball. We heard a lot of JJ Watt hype and, hey maybe I’m wrong but, I’m not sure he was even on the field.

Because the Patriots got out to a lead and the Texans were playing from behind, they put the game in Schaub’s hands. The Texan’s weren’t able to use Arian Foster as effectively or as often as they would have liked to. In my opinion, the Texan’s are a tough team to play against when they are in control of the clock and the scoreboard. They can run with Foster and Tate and use Owen Daniels over the middle and in the slot. This opens up a deep game to Andre Johnson and they’re firing on all cylinders. The Patriots need to come out quick and put the Texans on the ropes and they win. The Texans have the star and fire power to put up the points but I don’t think they have the poise to do it under pressure in a close game or from behind.

Winner: New England Patriots

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5 Responses

  1. Yeah, Peyton Manning is a real Raven killer.

  2. Spot on with the Packers pick too. Great Saturday for you.

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