Playoffs 2012 – Division Round

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Wild Card Weekend is past us and here are some quick observations before getting into the Division Round.

Andrew Luck is for real. At the beginning of the season with all the RGIII hype, I made a bold prediction that as good as RGIII is Luck would win a Super Bowl first. After watching Luck first hand, I still say that is the case. While he didn’t throw a TD pass, he threw with confidence and made smart plays.

I wish a lot of the more seasoned players played with the heart of these rookies. I watch Luck and Wilson both make awesome tackles and blocks. Where most QBs would have given up on the play, I watched Luck prevent a pick 6 by chasing the Ravens D player all the way downfield. Wilson made some awesome blocks, which helped Lynch’s cause and in one case, score a TD. RGIII, while not a smart move to play, played through the pain. Again, not a smart move, but a true competitor.

I’m 4-0 in the playoffs so far…

Okay, on to the next round:

Baltimore at Denver – can Baltimore pull off an upset of unthinkable proportions in Denver this weekend – yes. Can the world end the next day – absolutely. Would I bank on either – no. I was at the Ravens game this past weekend. I saw what took place on the field first hand. While the Ravens pulled off the win, they didn’t look that impressive, especially in the first half. In fact, Indy had plenty of opportunities to put themselves in a good position to win. On the other side, the Ravens tried to give the game away a few times with fumbles and poor passing decisions. Add it all up, send it to Denver against a much better defense, an elite QB and an away venue at a high altitude, it all adds up to this one could be over at halftime. With that said, I could see the Ravens keeping this competitive for the first half or so, but unlike last week, they won’t have Luck in this game (haha – I had to say it). Eventually, Manning will get into a groove and pick this team apart like a Baltimorean picks crabs. Keep in mind, Baltimore won’t necessarily lose because Denver is the best playoff team in the mix, but more so because Baltimore is the weakest playoff team left in the mix.

Denver – 34, Baltimore – 20

Green Bay at San Francisco – this one is a tough one to call this weekend. Green Bay definitely looks better on offense and made a mockery of Minnesota last weekend. Of course, it didn’t help that Minnesota had Joe Webb as their QB, but that game isn’t much different with Ponder. I expect this to be a slow moving game at first, but I think the 49ers will eventually get the best of Green Bay’s defense. I also think San Francisco will have more success stopping Green Bay than Green Bay stopping the 49ers.

San Francisco 21, Green Bay 17

Seattle at Atlanta – what happens when you mix the X Factor team of 2012 with the Bye week blues team…you get the biggest upset of the year. Yes, I think this has upset written all over it. Seattle are the Giants and Packers of the last 2 years. They are red hot and ready to strike whoever gets in their way. Atlanta on the other hand has been on cruise control and is due to fail. Matt Ryan has a winless record in the postseason and I feel that this is a team where the bye week will work against it more than it will help. Seattle’s D, their beast like run game and their momentum will help them send the most overrated team of 2012 packing and wondering if Matt Ryan will ever win as many post season games as Tim Tebow.

Seattle 27, Atlanta 14

Houston at New England – this is probably the matchup I struggle with the most this week. Something says Houston can leave with the win this weekend. When you look at Houston on both sides of the field you wonder why they aren’t more dominating. They have one of the best RBs and WRs in the game. They have a great TE and a pretty solid defense. Then I think, they were a dominating team at the beginning of the year. Then they suffered a key injury on defense and they started to stumble a little. New England on the other hand has had some bad games, but for the most part, once again their dominate offense has lifted them into the playoffs as a top 2 seed. Although Houston looked better last week, I think the Patriots will pull this one off. I think Houston makes it close and although my gut says they win, I will stick with the safer bet. I think Foster commands the running game, keeping the ball out of Brady’s hands. I also think Houston has success in the passing game, especially Andre Johnson. This will be closer than people think, but Brady pulls off the win, sending the Patriots to Denver for a classic rematch of Manning vs. Brady…that’s unfortunately, Peyton…not Eli.

New England 31, Houston 28

Look ahead assuming everything goes as plans above:

New England at Denver – old school shoot out has Peyton heading to yet another Super Bowl. Gut check – if Houston pulls off the upset this week, they beat Denver here.

Seattle at San Francisco – sticking with the hot hand and the team with arguably the coolest uniforms in the NFL. Hawks win.

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