NFL Divisional Round Playoff Predictions
By: Trent Little
A week into the NFL Playoffs, and one powerhouse has already been sent home packing, forced to clean out their locker room and dwell on “what the season could’ve been.” Last weekend the Tebow-led Denver Broncos defeated the deflated Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado. Aside from this major upset, there weren’t any surprises in the Wildcard Round of the NFL Playoffs. All higher seeds were able to pull out victories and advance to this weekend’s Divisional Round of the playoffs. The New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers will start off the Divisional round on Saturday at 4:30 pm, while Brady and the Denver Broncos will battle for the night game. The Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens will kick off Sunday’s slate of games, and the Week 13 rematch of the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants will conclude the Divisional round of the playoffs.
Saturday, January 14th
New Orleans Saints @ San Francisco 49ers- The battle of number ones. The New Orleans Saints are one of the hottest teams in the NFL at the moment, leading the league in passing yards per game with 334.2 yards a game. The 49ers come in with the top ranked defense, so something’s got to give. Drew Brees has had a record-breaking year surpassing Dan Marino’s record of passing yards in a season. However, Drew Brees hasn’t looked the same when the Saints play away from the Superdome. The 49ers didn’t allow a rushing touchdown this season until week 16. That being said, defense wins championships.
Prediction= 49ers win
Denver Broncos @ New England Pats- For the last week Sportscenter has turned into the Tebow show. You can’t escape Tim Tebow. I walk into grocery stores and he’s the cougars topic of discussion. However, I feel that Tebow’s run ends here. In their first matchup the Patriots easily handled the Broncos beating them 41-23 in Denver. I expect another dominant performance from Tom Brady being at home, with a AFC Championship berth on the line. The only way Tebow can pull this one out is if the man upstairs, Jesus Christ takes his jersey and plays quarterback.
Prediction= Pats win.
Sunday, January 15th
Houston Texans @ Baltimore Ravens- To the average sports fan this game should be an easy win for the Ravens. However, the Houston Texans are a very good low-profile team. The Texans possess one of the best defenses in the league. I’m not sold on their rookie quarterback( UNC alum), T.J. Yates, but the best wideout in the game Andre Johnson, and the two-headed monster in the backfield of Arian Foster and Ben Tate make his job a lot easier. At the end of the day this game comes down to which Ravens team will show up. If they feed Ray Rice early and often and keep the ball out of the hands of “Mr. Inconsistent” Joe Flacco they will win. In their first matchup this season the Ravens were able to defeat the Texans convincingly with their starting quarterback Matt Schaub healthy, 29-14. So I expect them to win again.
NY Giants @ Green Bay Packers- This is the most talked about game of the divisional round of the playoffs. Right now, the Giants are the hottest and most dangerous team in the league. However, as impressive as the Giants have looked recently they also looked horrific earlier in the season in losses to Redskins, and Seahawks. This season has been the best of Eli Manning’s career but I haven’t bought into him yet.The Packers have been dominant all season but I don’t think that one-dimensional offense will work against that ferocious front four of the Giants. The Packers inefficiency of a running game puts countless pressure on Aaron Rodgers to perform game in and game out. Aaron Rodgers MVP-caliber season ends here.
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