Jeff Thurn’s NFL Picks for the Divisional Round
Last week my fortunes on Saturday were not to good, however Sunday's games made put me at .500 for the weekend. Lets see if this week will bode better.
1. Baltimore 24 Denver 20 - Looking at this match-up, I think that the Ravens will get the best of Peyton Manning and the Broncos in Mile High on Saturday. Combine the emotion of the Ravens defense with the running game of Ray Rice, I think the Ravens have the edge. Knowing that Rice can't have as bad a game as he did against the Colts, he will fire back in this game and have a nice day on the ground. Put that with the fact that Manning is 0-3 in sub 40 degree playoff games and considering it will be around 15 degrees at kickoff, its going to be a tough loss for the Broncos.
2. Green Bay 29 San Francisco 22 - Aaron Rodgers returns home to where he grew up to take on the team he grew up cheering for and the team that passed up on him in the draft. Ever since the 49ers made the move to replace Alex Smith with Colin Kaepernick, I have explained that they will not be successful in the playoffs. That comes to fruition tonight in San Fran. Rodgers throws for a big game and the Packers D is able to confuse Kaepernick into mistakes and the Pack go to the Conference Championship game.
3. Atlanta 31 Seattle 14 - The hottest team in the NFL is the Seattle Seahawks. The #1 team in the NFC in the regular season was the Atlanta Falcons. The match-up in the first game on Sunday with a trip to the Conference Championship on the line. Atlanta, just like Seattle is amazing at home, losing only 1 game all season. The crowd will be ramped up in the Georgia Dome and so will Matt Ryan the Falcons QB. He has not won a playoff game in the NFL, but that will all change on Sunday. Watch for the key match-up to be the defensive backs of the Seawhawks v. the wide receivers and TE's of the Falcons. I think the Falcons will win that battle and win the game convincingly.
4. Houston 31 New England 23 - If you look at the Monday Night Football game from early December, you'd think this is a clear cut win for the Patriots. Not so fast my friends. Houston for most of the season was considered the best team in the AFC. A couple of late season mis-haps caused them to slip to the #3 seed. Going into this game the Texans will have motivation and a different game plan to combat what the Patriots did in their last game. I look for Arian Foster to have a big day on the ground. Look for him to rush for more than 100 yards and you will see a solid air attack from the Texans too. The Patriots will be able to move the ball but once they get into the Red Zone, they will settle for Field Goals and not Touchdowns and will fall short in this contest.