Saturday, January 14, 2012

NFL Playoff Picks - Divisional Round

Went 3-1 last week and only Tim Tebow having the game of his life kept me from going 4-0. We'll see if we can keep that going into the Divisional Round. Here's my picks:

New Orleans Saints (14-3) at San Francisco 49ers (13-3)
Photo Credit:
It wasn't THAT long ago that these two teams were in the same division. Ah, the old NFC "West". New Orleans, St. Louis, Atlanta and San Francisco. Yeah, that made sense... Even if you factor in that the Rams used to be in Los Angeles that division was a stretch. Dallas in the East and Atlanta in the West? Maybe Miss South Carolina was right. Some people in our nation must not have maps. But I digress. This is one of the more intriguing matchups of the weekend. You have the high scoring Saints against the defense oriented 49ers. My gut tells me that even though San Fran is a higher seed, the Saints are better, but it's never as simple as that. All of the Saints losses this year have come on the road while the 49ers are 7-1 at home. New Orleans is built to play indoors and the wind and moisture in San Francisco will certainly slow them down on offense. Plus, San Francisco has playmakers all over the defensive side of the ball. The pick here is the Saints just because it's hard to bet on Alex Smith over Drew Brees, however if the 49ers can force a couple turnovers and 1) protect the football and 2) protect their quarterback (the Saints had 6 sacks against the 49ers in the preseason) then it would not be impossible for them to pull off the upset. Pick: Saints 27 49ers 16

Denver Tebows Broncos (9-8) at New England Patriots (13-3)
Photo Credit:
The Broncos have no business even being in this game. That said, that makes them one scary opponent. They've already played the Patriots once this year, and while they lost, it's seldom as easy to beat a team the second time you face them. Just ask LSU. I really don't want to say the Broncos have a chance, but I didn't give them a chance last week either. Plus, the Broncos are built to win in New England in the winter. They can run the ball as good as anyone, and they play defense. And this wouldn't be the first time Brady and Belichick have lost to the Broncos in the playoffs. Flashback to January 14, 2006 - exactly 6 years ago today. The Patriots turned the ball over 5 times and lost 27-13 to a team quarterbacked by Jake "the Snake" Plummer despite outgaining the Broncos 420-286. I don't see that happening today, but the blueprint is there. Pick: Patriots 34 Broncos 17.

Houston Texans (11-6) at Baltimore Ravens (12-4)
Photo Credit:
This is where the Texans stagecoach turns back into a pumpkin. Third string quarterback T.J. Yates has been a great story leading the Texans to their first ever division title and their first ever playoff win, but I don't see a scenario where they beat Baltimore in Baltimore today. I know the Ravens have laid some eggs this year (see @Tennessee, @Jacksonville, @Seattle, and @San Diego), but they were 8-0 at home including wins over the 49ers, Bengals, Jets, Steelers and these same Texans by a score of 29-14 back in Week 6. Joe Flacco and the Ravens have been playing second fiddle to the Steelers for years, but now they finally have a chance to really do something special, and I don't see them screwing that up. Pick: Ravens 24 Texans 13

New York Giants (10-7) at Green Bay Packers (15-1)
Photo Credit:
The shootout between the Giants and Packers in Week 13 was one of the most entertaining games of the season with Green Bay needing a last second field goal to eek out a 38-35 win. Now the two teams get set for the rematch, only this time it's in Green Bay and the Packers have had an extra week to get healthy and prepare. The Giants are certainly playing inspired football right now, as evidenced by their 24-2 win over the Falcons last weekend, but they cannot afford another slow start especially on the road against a prolific offense like Green Bay's. The Giants need to score early and need to establish their revitalized running game if they are to have any chance. Think the Giants can't win at Lambeau? Don't forget, just a few years ago the Giants went into Green Bay in a playoff game and stunned Brett Favre and company in overtime to earn a chance to take on the unbeaten Patriots in the Super Bowl. And we all remember how that turned out.  Pick: Packers 35 Giants 27

No comments:

Post a Comment