NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round Picks

January 15, 2011

Get ready for some exciting games this weekend. The matchups should prove to be hard-hitting, tough football games, many of which may go down to the wire. Quite honestly though, I’m just glad that we won’t have to hear much more back-and-forth between the Jets and the Patriots. It’s was funny for awhile, but now it’s just starting to get old.

AFC Divisional Round

Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh

These teams do not like each other, and as a result will likely make this one of the toughest, hardest hitting games of the entire season.

In addition to being a heated rivalry, the games this season between these two teams have been extremely close. The two regular season games were decided by a total of six points, and today’s game could very well come down to a field goal as well.

Defense will set the tone for this game, but this one may be decided by which quarterback plays better. Neither Joe Flacco nor Ben Roethlisberger should be affected by the temperature, but a telling stat favors Pittsburgh. Joe Flacco has never beaten Ben Roethlisberger.

Although Baltimore’s optimistic defense will keep it close, I don’t know if Flacco & Co. can do enough on the offensive end to win this game. I think that Pittsburgh will win this game, but will be bruised and bloodied by the end. Whoever wins may be at a disadvantage next weekend because of that.

Final Score: 17-14 Pittsburgh

New York vs. New England

A lot of people think that this game will be a close one, and that the Jets may even be able to beat the Patriots in Foxborough. While I don’t think that New England will pound the Jets like they did back in Week 13, I do think that New England will win this game rather comfortably.

The Jets’ trash-talking leading up to this game tells me that they know they are at a severe disadvantage going into this one. The Patriots are confident because of their play on the field, not because of their mouths. On the field, I think that the Jets may have trouble because Mark Sanchez still seems uncomfortable playing in cold weather. Sanchez is going to need to have one of his best games of his young career if he wants to lead the Jets to a win over New England. However, I just don’t see that happening.

Final Score: 35-20 New England

NFC Divisional Round

Green Bay vs. Atlanta

This game was great in the regular season, and I don’t expect anything less this time around.

Atlanta is getting less respect that they probably feel they should be getting, considering that they did have the best record in the NFC in the regular season. In addition, the Falcons have already beaten Green Bay at home this season, and Matt Ryan is 20-2 at home as a starter.

Green Bay has finally started playing like many people thought they were capable of when the season started. Thanks to running back Brandon Jackson, the Packers have finally found a running game, and will likely use that to help balance their offensive attack. While Green Bay has not played particularly well on the road this season, they arguably should have won the last meeting against Atlanta.

I picked Green Bay to go to the Super Bowl at the beginning of the season, and I’m not about to change my pick now. I think that Aaron Rodgers will lead Green Bay to a victory, but it will be close.

Final Score: 24-21 Green Bay

Seattle vs. Chicago

Seattle was the biggest shocker of Wild Card Weekend; who says they can’t do it again this week?

Seattle didn’t exactly go against an elite defense in New Orleans, but the Seahawks still put on quite a show offensively (of course, so did New Orleans). If Seattle wants to win today, they’re going to need to put on an equally entertaining show against an a Chicago defense that is much better than New Orleans.

Like the Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh game, I think this game could come down to the quarterback play. Matt Hasselback is not an elite quarterback, but doesn’t make very many mistakes. I still don’t trust Jay Cutler, and if this game is close, I feel that he could be the undoing for Chicago.

If Seattle is able to generate offense against the Bear’s tough defense, then this one could be exciting. In their five losses this season, Chicago has shown very little offensive firepower. If Seattle can score at will like they did last weekend, I think that Seattle can pull off another huge upset.

Final Score: 27-24 Seattle

– K. Becks

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