NFL Divisional Picks

I was 3-1 last week if you count the Cardinals thing, which I do. I’d say I have some level of credibility. Had it not been for a controversial no-call in Dallas, this would’ve been the most boring Wild Card Weekend in recent memory. The Colts controlling the Bengals was boring, the Ravens controlling Steelers was boring, and watching Ryan Lindley try to hit receivers in a hurricane was just uncomfortable. Possibly a microcosm for his career. He’ll be in the grocery aisle by next September.

Ravens @ PATRIOTS

Yes, I’m a Patriots fan. Anyone reading this probably is as well. There’s our biases. But this isn’t exactly a pick with no substance to it. Sure, The Ravens are a great playoff team, and Joe Flacco is a great playoff quarterback. Their win against the Steelers last week was impressive, to say the least. That offense had been surging since midseason, and the Ravens’ defense held them down. Granted, the Pats’ offense line will have to control Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs. Dean Pees also knows Brady well, since he’s the former defensive coordinator for the Patriots, and he’s successfully schemed against Brady in the past.

I’m still picking the Patriots because Tom Brady is also a pretty good playoff quarterback (18-8). Everyone who’s saying the Patriots lose this game just because they’ve lost to the Ravens before may forget the Patriots have also recently defeated the Ravens in the playoffs. The difference is the defense that’s ranked in the top ten this year, and the secondary that actually overs receivers. The Butler-Meriweather era has passed. Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner are slightly better at covering receivers. They go great with the eighth-ranked defense in the league. The Patriots have been to the AFC championship game three years in a row, and there’s no reason for it not to be four.

Panthers @ SEAHAWKS

Unless the Seattle offense we saw in week 16 that bent over the Arizona defense shows up, we could have a low-scoring affair on our hands. The last three matchups between these teams went to Seattle, but the Panthers were within 6 points of winning those games, and never let up more than 16 points. While the Seattle offense has the potential to light up the scoreboard, they’ve only scored more than 30 points three times this season: against a dragging Packers defense in week one, and the just stunning defenses of the Raiders and Giants.

Now that I’ve torn apart Seattle’s offense, I guess we can talk about their defense. In their 6-0 run to end the season, they only let up more than seven points once, against a pretty good Eagles offense.This included letting up a combined 10 points between two games to the 49ers. The Panthers defense has let up 28+ point totals seven times this season, and their 19th-ranked offense isn’t exactly helping either. They won’t be bail to get away with some of the slip-ups they got away with last week against the Seahawks.

Side Note: A team that goes an 0-6-1 run in the middle of the season shouldn’t be allowed in the playoffs, let alone host a playoff game. I’m surprised Eagles fans haven’t marched on the NFL Headquarters by now. They’re crazy.

COWBOYS @ Packers

Call me crazy, but I do believe the Cowboys get this win. They’re one of six teams in league history to go 8-0 on the road, all of which made at least the conference championship. Yes, the Packers are also 8-0 at home. And Lambeau field is unlike any place the Cowboys have played this season (although they did go in to Seattle and beat the Seahawks).

But unlike I usually do, I’m not going to whip out a bunch of numbers and stats that really don’t mean anything. Instead, I’d like to say that I don’ think Aaron Rodgers is at 100% going into this game. With the temperature set to be less than 15 degrees at kickoff, he’s going to have to beat the Cowboys defense with his arm. That means the Packers’ offensive line will have to make sure Rodgers doesn’t have to scramble, something I’m not sure they can do. The Cowboys will also have the league’s leading rusher on their side. I’m giving it to the Cowboys, but not by a lot.

Colts @ BRONCOS

I really want to pick the Colts, and I want the Colts to win as they’ll be an easier matchup for the Patriots, but the more and more I look at it I have to pick the Broncos. As we saw against the Cowboys, the Luck-Hilton show can come to a screeching halt at any moment, especially when one half of that hyphen is missing. Hilton is playing, but the Broncos stout defense should be able to handle these two for the most part. I don’t even think Peyton Manning will have to do much to beat his former team. He can make some mistakes and the Broncos would still win this game. that just isn’t true for the Colts. They can’t beat good teams. It won’t be an absolute blowout like it was in week one, but it should be a two score victory for the Broncos setting up and AFC championship rematch at Gillette Stadium.