NFL Pick Em for the Divisional Round

Last week’s picks: 2-2

Season total (including playoffs): 162-82

We are back after a pretty good week of football, especially in the final game. Raise your hand if you had the Broncos beating the Steelers. There weren’t many. I wasn’t one of them, as you can see from my picks last week. I also got the Bengals pick wrong which looked pretty bad in hindsight.

Anyways, let’s get to arguably the best playoff round in the NFL: the divisional round!

Saturday, January 14

New Orleans Saints @ San Francisco 49ers – This may be the best game on the schedule. The Saints, who possess arguably the best offense in football, take on the 49ers, which have the best defense in the NFL. Which side of the football will prevail? The most intriguing part of the game may be the fact that Saints have to take their vaunted offense out of the Super Dome where they have been so dominant. Drew Brees is a great quarterback anywhere but his road stats (17 TDs, 8 INTs) are much less eye-popping than his home ones (29 TDs, 6 INTs). The Saints were 5-3 on the road while the 49ers were 7-1 at home, a place where they will be hosting their first playoff game in nine years. The big question is can Alex Smith win the 49ers a playoff game? The Saints defense is not that good so he will have opportunities. I just can’t see him beating Brees. Saints take this one late. My pick: New Orleans Saints

Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots – Can Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos pull off another upset? The Patriots, who had the bye last week as a result of being the number one seed, probably spent most of their time preparing for the Steelers. Belichick and the Patriots have experience against these Broncos, though, as they beat them soundly in week 15 at Denver. Tebow looked like a different man last Sunday afternoon/evening against the Steelers, though. He may shine again against the Patriots worst ranked defense. I just can’t see the Patriots losing at home yet. Brady to Gronkowski should be a big hookup all night. My pick: New England Patriots

Sunday, January 15

Houston Texans @ Baltimore Ravens – Something tells me we’re going to see a lot of Arian Foster and Ray Rice here. Foster ran all over the Bengals tenth ranked rushing defense last week. The Texans also got big plays out of their defense and quarterback T.J. Yates, as they went on to win in blowout fashion over Cincinnati. They face a leg-up in competition this week against the Ravens, who were 8-0 at home in the regular season. The Texans did their job last week and will be playing with house money on Sunday. If they play loose like they have nothing to lose, they should keep the game close. The Ravens are just too good at home and will be rested, though. They simply can’t lose this one. If they do, Harbaugh and Flacco go right on the hot seat. My pick: Baltimore Ravens

New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers – It is almost four years ago that the New York Giants went into Lambeau Field and defeated the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game. The Packers, now with a different quarterback in this year’s future MVP Aaron Rodgers, are a better team than they were four years ago. The Giants, while probably not as good as they were then, are on the same kind of roll they were four years ago. This one is a great matchup. In 2007, the Giants played the Patriots tough in week 17 but wound up losing. They, of course, defeated that same team in Super Bowl XLII. This year, the Giants gave the Packers everything they could handle in week 13, before losing 38-35. Can history repeat itself? If the Giants play with a “We have nothing to lose” attitude, like the Broncos and Texans also should, this will be a fascinating game to watch.

This one is honestly very difficult to pick. I could totally see the Giants going in there and upsetting the reigning Super Bowl champions but, in the end, I think the Packers have too much on offense for the Giants to stop. The Giants should be able to put points on the board, as well, but I have a feeling this one is like week 13, where the team with the ball last wins it. I doubt it will be 38-35 this go around but maybe something more like 24-21. Packers still win. My pick: Green Bay Packers

There you have it. Best of luck to your teams!

See you next week for the Championship round!

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