Friday, January 9, 2015

2015 NFL Divisional Playoffs

I picked three out of four last week bringing my record to 10-5. While I did well picking who would win, my prediction of having four very competitive games fell way short. No such predictions this week as I fear we may be in for two maybe three clunkers. This weekend will serve as a sort of weeding out setting up two good matchups during the conference finals. But before we get ahead of ourselves, here is who I think will win this weekend.

Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots
Saturday 4:35pm on NBC

I have heard analyst after analyst say the Ravens are the one team the Patriots do not want to see. I have to agree. This might be the best matchup of the weekend. The question is, which Joe Flacco will show up? If the one who showed up in Pittsburg last week makes the trip to Foxborough, the Ravens will control from start to finish. True it is hard to count the Patriots out in any post season but I think the Ravens are ready. The Ravens will pressure Brady, helping to protect a vulnerable secondary. I did not pick the Ravens last week but I do think they will move forward to the AFC championship.

Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks
Saturday 8:15pm on Fox

Cam Newton has endured quite a bit so far this season in getting the Panthers to this point. He may endure more in this one game than he has in the seventeen previous. The Seahawks defense is healthy, which they were not when the two teams met earlier. On offense, the Seahawks will not turn the ball over like the Cardinals. The Panthers will have their opportunities to score but there is just not enough on the table for them to beat the Seahawks. The defending champs move on in a game that might be over by halftime.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers
Sunday 1:05pm on Fox

There was a lot of talk about last week’s pass interference that wasn’t. The officiating in that game was uneven, making a great argument for keeping teams of referees together to work the playoffs. But now it is time to move on and the Cowboys will try to do just that. With their running game the Cowboys are geared for the cold of Lambeau Field. However after last week there are questions about the offensive line. Expect the Packers to take advantage of lessons learned. An even bigger question is the health of Aaron Rodgers. The answer to this question will have a lot to do with who wins the game. If Aaron cannot go, this game will be close with the visiting team very likely to walk away with the victory. The Packers seem confident Rodgers will play. If he does he will be a nightmare for the Cowboys’ secondary. Even in the cold the Packers will pass the ball and will move on to face Seattle in the NFC championship.

Indianapolis Colts vs. Denver Broncos
Sunday 4:40pm on CBS

Last week I said Andrew Luck would carry the Colts to victory. This week Luck will not be enough. The Broncos have worked on their running game this season and I think that will be the difference against the Colts. With the running game working and with Manning behind center the Colts will have a long day on defense. Meanwhile the Broncos defense will do just enough. The Colts will move on to face the Ravens.

I am not sure if the games, other than the Ravens/Patriots will be competitive but you never know what might happen on the field.

What do you think?

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