NFL Divisional Playoff Predictions
The NFL’s divisional playoff weekend has arrived and we have four great games ahead of us. At 4:30 pm today, we have the high powered New Orleans Saints visiting the NFC’s best defense in the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park. At 8:00 pm tonight, the Tom Brady and New England Patriots play host to the unpredictable Denver Broncos and Tim Tebow. At 1:00 pm tomorrow, the Houston Texans visit the AFC’s best defense in the Baltimore Ravens. Finally, at 4:30 pm tomorrow, the game that everyone wants to see, the rematch, the New York Giants go to Lambeau Field to try and get revenge on the Green Bay Packers for their week 13 loss to them at Metlife Stadium, 38-35.
Once again I will make my weekly predictions, with and without the spread. Two of the games I am really torn apart, but feel like I will make the right choice hopefully. Last week I went 3-1 without the spread, and 2-2 with the spread. My one loss without the spread was the Steelers over Broncos. My two losses with the spread were the Lions +10.5 against the Saints, and the Steelers -8.5 against the Broncos. If you’ve been following my picks all year, you will notice I am a lousy picker with the spread, but hopefully I can improve on that starting now and throughout the playoffs and into next season. I will start todays selections with today’s 4:30 pm game, between the the number one overall offense in the New Orleans Saints and the number four overall defense in the San Francisco 49ers. Both teams finished 13-3 and won their respective divisions. So lets get it rolling, here are my NFL Divisional Playoff Picks!
New Orleans Saints @ San Francisco 49ers – The number one offense against the number four defense, wow, that’s going to be some matchup. I heard over the radio that of the 31 NFL stadiums, Candlestick Park is one of two that is below sea level and the field is always wet. This may bode well for the 49ers, as they play their home games at Candlestick Park, obviously, and are used to the field conditions. The Saints may be in trouble as they are 5-3 on the road and will have to adjust to a wet field. I think the x-factor in this game is San Fran QB Alex Smith, if he can make plays on the Saints defense, and not turn the ball over, I think the 49ers have a really good shot to win this. In my opinion, I don’t even think this wet field will stop Drew Brees and this dangerous offense from putting points on the board. I’m rolling with the Saints in this one, with and without the spread. New Orleans (-3.5) against San Francisco.
My Prediction: New Orleans Saints 27 San Francisco 49ers 20
Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots – What may be the most watched game of the weekend, the Denver Broncos, led by Tim Tebow, invade Foxborough to take on Tom Brady and the number one seed New England Patriots. In an upset no one saw coming last week, the Broncos beat the Pittsburgh Steelers at home, 29-23 in overtime. The first play from scrimmage in overtime, Tebow threw an 80 yard touchdown pass to Demarious Thomas to send Mile High Stadium into a frenzy. If Tebow can make big plays again this week, like last week, the Broncos may have a great chance to pull off the upset again. In week 15, the Patriots won on the road in Denver, 41-23. So you can figure why they’re 13.5 point favorites at home this time around. I can’t possibly see Tom Brady being one and done in the playoffs again this year, and expect a close win and to see New England back in the AFC Championship game. Weirder things have happened, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Tebow pulls off another miracle and upsets Brady. I guess we’ll wait to see and find out. Denver (+13.5) against New England.
My Prediction: New England Patriots 31 Denver Broncos 23
Houston Texans @ Baltimore Ravens – The numbers two and three defenses in the league, the Texans and Ravens, respectably, go to war in Baltimore. This game should be low scoring, but also have some big plays. I think big plays are what wins this game, because neither of these defenses are going to let up long drives. When we thought that the Broncos and Steelers would give us a defensive battle last week, and didn’t get that, I think we get a tough defensive game this time. It seems as if no one is giving Houston a shot to pull off the upset, but i think they can. Flacco has been inconsistent all year, and Ray Rice and Arian Foster are both great running backs and these are two great defensive teams, so I think it could go either way. I picked Baltimore as my AFC representitive, and I’m sticking with them in this game. Houston (+7.5) against Baltimore.
My Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 20 Houston Texans 17
New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers – The game everyone wants to see, a rematch of their week 13 game at Metlife Stadium, where the Packers hung on to beat the Giants 38-35. I think the Giants defense has gotten much better since that meeting, and their running game has got going. The Packers haven’t played in two weeks and Aaron Rodgers hasn’t played in three weeks, so I don’t like this situation for Green Bay. I know this game is in Green Bay, but so was the 2007 NFC Title game, and the Giants pulled off the upset in overtime when Favre was the quarterback. In 2007, the Giants lost to the then undefeated Patriots 38-35 at home, and beat them in the Super Bowl 17-14. This year, the Giants lost to the Packers when they were undefeated 38-35 at home, now they face them again in the playoffs. I like this matchup a lot actually for the Giants, they are ready and healthy, and the defensive line is playing lights out. Green Bay will show signs of rust, and the Packers WILL NOT repeat as Super Bowl champions. New York (+7.5) against Green Bay.
My Prediction: New York Giants 34 Green Bay Packers 31