It is getting colder. This means the NFL playoffs are heating up. Some call this the best football weekend of the year. I was 4-0 last week. The “experts” and I don’t agree on much this weekend. This means I’m either crazy like a fox or just plain crazy. Let’s dive in.
Ravens (11-6) at Patriots (12-4)-The first game to be played this weekend is in my view, the most interesting. John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco and the rest of the Ravens are real comfortable in Foxborough in January. They’ve gone in there twice in the last 5 years and knocked off heavily favored Pats teams in the playoffs. The Pats can’t be too happy to see the Ravens again. The Pats have been so good at everything this year. A healthy Rob Gronkowski has stabilized the passing game. They’ve used a myriad of tailbacks to keep defenses honest, and they have all done a good job. Tom Brady is still Tom Brady. The Ravens’ Justin Forsett has been quite the find. The journeyman RB got the starting gig out of necessity, 1,200+ yards later, he has kept it. I just hate this matchup for New England. I expect their undersized wideouts to be tossed around by Baltimore’s physical defense, led by Terrell Suggs. The Ravens always elevate their game this time of year, and the Pats haven’t the last few years. I’ll take the upset here, but have enough respect for New England to realize I could eat major crow. Bal 24 NE 20
Panthers (8-8-1) at Seahawks (12-4)-Why is Seattle an 11.5 point favorite here? They should be favorite. However, has anyone watched Carolina this last month? Cam Newton is playing as good as any QB in the playoffs, they can run the ball on anyone, and Seattle won’t be the only great defense on the field in this game, Don’t let all the winning fool you, ranked 28th in the league in passing, Russell Wilson is Andy Dalton with a ridiculously better supporting cast. I think LB Luke Kuechly and company stuff Marshawn Lynch and the run game and the offense scores just enough to shock the world and make sure there is a new world champ on February 1. Car 17 Sea 13
Cowboys (13-4) at Packers (12-4)-This game sells itself. Two of the NFL’s most iconic franchises grinding it out in the playoffs at Lambeau Field. The fact that it is going to be freezing actually benefits Dallas who has the more consistent run game behind the league’s leading rusher DeMarco Murray. We all know Green Bay’s defense is average at best. They will get some stops, but not many. Aaron Rodgers will have to put the Pack on his back. Given his health and the conditions, I don’t see it. I picked Dallas to reach the Super Bowl last week, no reason to change. Dal 27 GB 20
Colts (12-5) at Broncos (12-4)-Denver comes off a much needed bye week and may be as healthy as they have been all year. C.J. Anderson continues to give the offense the balance it has strived for since some guy named Manning arrived in Denver in 2012. The aggressive Broncos defense needs to simply stay home and guard against the Andrew Luck to Dan Herron checkdowns that were responsible for Cincinnati’s slow and painful death last week. I see a straightforward win for my Broncos here. Den 31 Ind 17.
There you have it folks, I said I was crazy. By the way, I’ll take the Bucks over the Ducks by a field goal in an underwhelming title game on Monday. Happy weekend to all.