Tags: NFL Predictions
Jan. 15, 2011
NFL Divisional Playoff Predictions
After Sunday’s games, our experts looked to the divisional round to determine what would happen next. The Jets are taking on New England in Foxboro, Mass. and the division rivals have been exchanging words all week. Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker even took some subtle jabs at Jets coach Rex Ryan’s “hobbies” - check it out here. But the game of the week has to be Falcons v. Packers as two of the top quarterbacks in the NFC battle each other for a spot in the NFC Championship.
Our experts had dismal weeks last week and are looking to bounce back. Even with last week’s downward spiral, Eli’s still in the lead and looking to capitalize on the divisional games. Let’s see if either Blake or Melissa has what it takes to overcome him.
Saturday, Jan. 15
Baltimore Ravens (12-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)
The Ravens are coming off a huge blow out against Kansas City last week and their defense played tenaciously. Look for Baltimore to come out even more tough against their divisional rivals this week.
This AFC North rivalry will come down to the wire—make no doubt about it. Baltimore and Pittsburgh split their season series, with the Ravens taking the first game 17-14 and the Steelers winning the second 13-10. I'll take Baltimore in a low-scoring affair. Look for Flacco to come up big in crunch time.
It’s always physical when these two meet and Saturday’s game will be no different. As well as Joe Flacco and the Ravens have played this year, Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has shined as well. Not to mention both teams have dominant defenses that look forward to crushing the opposition’s offense every time they take the field. This will be a close one, but I’ll take Pittsburgh to win by a field goal.
Green Bay Packers (10-6) at Atlanta Falcons (13-3)
Green Bay has finally found a reliable running game. The Packers defense is looking solid and Aaron Rodgers is playing well.
Aaron Rodgers has thrown for a record seven touchdowns in his first two post-season starts, and it looks like he's on his way to earning a spot in the NFL's elite quarterback class. If Atlanta can slow him down, the Falcons have a great chance at winning this game. But that's easier said than done. I'm going with the Pack, even in the Georgia Dome where the Falcons are nearly unbeatable.
Both of these teams are looking to make into next week’s NFC Championship game and they’ve both made solid cases for themselves this season. Led by quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers (Packers) and Matt Ryan (Falcons), the offensive production has been huge from both these teams. Although I know that the Falcons have played superbly this season, I’m willing to go with the upset and pick the Packers to slide by the Falcons this Saturday. Aaron Rodgers and that Packer defense might just be too much for Atlanta to handle, even with Ryan at the helm.
Sunday, Jan. 16
Seattle Seahawks (7-9) at Chicago Bears (11-5)
Plain and simple, the Bears defense will be too much for the Seahawks to handle. Not to mention the fact that the Seahawks unexpectedly won last week. Unfortunately for Seattle, their luck stops here.
Tons of people are picking the Seahawks at Chicago this week. "They beat the defending champs," they say. "They shouldn't have any problem beating the Bears!" Think again. A huge reason Seattle conquered Goliath and took down the Saints was that they were at Qwest Field—one of the loudest 12th men in the league. But the Seahawks are on the road this week, where they are just 2-6, and face one of the stingiest defenses in the league. Bears win.
Seattle surprised everyone last week by beating the Saints 41-36. Not many expected the Seahawks to defeat the defending champs in the wildcard round, and coming into this game against the Bears, people are starting to wonder: are the Seahawks for real? But I’m not convinced - the Bears’ defense should be able to stop any offensive production by Matt Hasselbeck and the ‘Hawks. If quarterback Jay Cutler gets points on the board, Chicago moves on to the next round.
New York Jets(11-5) at New England Patriots (14-2)
The Patriots are hungry—especially after hearing all of the trash Coach Rex Ryan and his team have been talking. Tom Brady will fire up the Patriots and look for them to run over New York.
It won't be the same type of blowout, but the Pats beat the Jets 45-3 in week 13—enough said.
The Jets just barely slipped by Peyton Manning’s Colts last weekend with a last minute field goal by Nick Folk. Jets’ coach Rex Ryan has been talking trash all week, especially when it comes to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Ryan has even called the game “personal” seeing as he’ll be playing against Pats coach Bill Belichick. In their last meeting, the Pats demolished the Jets by 42 points and needless to say, Ryan was pretty annoyed. Sorry Rex, it’s going to happen again. The Patriots are playing great football and when it comes to playoffs, they’ve got the experience and talent to win. Brady will once again lead his team to victory.