Although we don’t like making excuses, we have to say that since last week was an an anomaly, we received no help from the Bengals. Houston’s secondary is not the sharpest in the league so Andy Dalton, who couldn’t make a pass to Katherine Webb, Brooklyn Decker, or any of the Sports Illustrated Swim Models last week, just made this boring game even more of a yawner. The Bengals should have, and could have won this one…
And the Redskins, who never had a fully healthy RGIII on the gridiron last week, didn’t stand a chance against the Seahawks. Reports prior to the game said he was fine. His knee was never 100% and he played way too long; the blame for which gets placed directly on the doctors for passing that information along to Mike Shanahan.
The Ravens, well, let’s just say they had an emotional high going on with Ray Lewis’s impending last home game of his career rather than the Colts, who seemed drained from the emotions they left on the field in the game before when head coach Chuck Pagano made his return from treatment from Leukemia. The Colts, well, if you pardon the pun, just ran out of Luck..
Enough sour grapes. We look to make amends this week and better our post-season record with these picks…
*Home team in CAPS
BRONCOS over Ravens- We have heard all of the rhetoric all week long of how Peyton Manning doesn’t like the cold weather. Yeah, yeah, yeah..I’m sure he decided to make his return to the NFL after a year recovering from four neck surgeries just to cave when the temp dips below 30. Right! This is a Broncos team that hasn’t lost a game since October 6th in Foxborough. Joe Flacco won’t have the emotional crowd behind him or rookie Andrew Luck on the other team to deal with. Instead he’ll face future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, frigid temps, a hostile crowd, and Von Miller & Elvis Dumervil. Different story. Different ending. Broncos by 15!
We don’t think that #18 Peyton Manning will be adversly affected by the cold weather. Photo: blacksportsonline.com
Packers over the 49ERS- Tough game. Explosive offense against a methodical defense. However, we’re going with the Pack here as they come in to this game having won 9 of their last 11 and, for the first time all season, are completely healthy on both sides of the ball. We’re still not convinced that Colin Kaepernick is this year’s version of Alex Smith. Yeah he can run and scramble but he tends to get flustered with a minimal amount of pressure and that’s what the Packers need to show him. They also need to try and slow down the ground and pound Niners and in particular Frank Gore. And if Green Bay’s O-Line can protect Rodgers, we think there is just too much offensive power for the 49ers to play catch up. G.B. in a close one, perhaps by a field goal.
Seahawks over the FALCONS- In what could be the best game of the weekend, Atlanta will be looking for it’s first win in it’s last three playoffs. The combination of Mike Smith and Matt Ryan have been bridesmaids but never a bride. The pressure will be more on the Falcons to finally get over the hump then it will be on the visiting ‘Hawks. Seattle has outscored their opponents 217-74 over their last six. Russell Wilson has played like a seasoned pro instead of a rookie and their defense has been stellar. We must admit it was a bit unnerving when they fell behind to the Redskins 14-0 last week, but good teams just find a way to win. It was also surprising that the Seahawks decided to travel back to Washington after the Redskins game and thus have been forced to make two cross-country trips in a week, but they are playing on such a high and with so much confidence, that we’re going with them regardless. We also think that their DB’s will handle Julio Jones and Roddy White, while Ryan gets to see the kind of pressure he witnessed in last season’s 24-2 loss to the Giants.
PATRIOTS over the Texans- Frankly, the Texans should not have won last week’s game vs the Bengals. It was more of a case of the Bengals beating themselves than the Texans beating them. We still think they peaked back when they were 11-1 and feel the results of the blowout to these same Patriots will be evident again. Tom Brady has an arsenal of receivers to pass to and Rob Gronkowski, who didn’t play in the 42-14 drubbing on December 10th returns for this game. This could, and probably will get ugly early. This game is not for the faint of heart so ‘viewer discretion is advised.’
#12 Tom Brady should have a proverbial ‘field day’ against a mediocre Texans secondary. Photo: nj.com