January 10, 2013 by stevietz93
And then there was eight. Eight teams fighting for four spots and a chance to continue their Super Bowl aspirations. After a pretty uneventful wildcard weekend, I’m hoping, as an NFL fan, that the games this week provide a lot more entertainment than last week. I hope the biggest story after this week isn’t an injury to one of the game’s brightest stars, but rather a celebration of dominance from some of the game’s brightest stars.
Anyways, enough of my nonsense about what I hope happens. Here’s what I think will happen (With a little bit of hope, *cough Packers cough*).
Houston Texans vs New England Patriots
The Texans are coming off a very uninspiring win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The defense played good, Arian Foster ran the ball well, and Matt Schaub did enough to win the game. But the Bengals were invisible, and not because of the Texans defence. I think the game was more a product of the Bengals ineptitude rather than the Texans dominance. Earlier in the season, the Texans faced Tom Brady and get absolutely demolished. The didn’t abandon their man-coverage scheme that works against lesser opponents and got picked apart by Tom Terrific. I think the Texans will work on that scheme this week, but I don’t think Wade Phillips is the type of guy to fully abandon his defensive philosophy. He believes in what he thinks and this week, it might garner better results. But in Foxborough, in January, against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick? The only way the Texans have a chance is if Foster rumbles for 200 yards and a couple of scores. And even then, it’ll be a close game.
Patriots win 34 – 20
Green Bay Packers vs San Francisco 49ers
I’m going to pick the Packers to win. If you have read my “about” section, you will know that I am a die-hard Packers fan. And technically, I am being biased towards them. But here’s a legit, unbiased take on why I think the Packers will win this game. Right now, they’re riding a high after the clobbering of Vikings, albeit without Christian Ponder. That, and Aaron Rodgers always plays with a chip on his shoulder, especially when he feels slighted. If you know anything about Rodgers back story, you’d know how badly he would want to beat the 49ers on their own turf. And at this point in the season, the Packers are healthier than ever, finally with a full receiving corps and Charles Woodson back on the defence. The 49ers, meanwhile, have to hope that Justin Smith can be effective with his torn triceps. If he is less than 100%, it will hinder Aldon Smith’s ability coming off the edge. In the end, I think Rodgers will be too much for the 49ers to handle, especially with a the Smiths (Justin & Aldon) not being able to do what they’ve done all year.
Packers win 27 – 24
Seattle Seahawks vs Atlanta Falcons
While everyone is praising Russell Wilson and the Seahawks for being the hottest team in football right now, the Falcons have slipped under the radar as the #1 seed heading into this matchup. I think people tend to forget the Falcons were 13-3 in the regular season, and saw their QB Matt Ryan take it to a whole new level with WRs Roddy White and Julio Jones. They had statement wins over the Saints and Giants, and want to kill the mantra that they can’t win a playoff game. The Seahawks are obviously tough as nails and are playing great football, but I just don’t see the Falcons relinquishing their spot in the NFC that easily. I think the Falcons come out on top in a nail-biter.
Falcons win 17-16
Baltimore Ravens vs Denver Broncos
Ray Lewis had a great sendoff with the Ravens win over the Colts last week, but I don’t see that magic continuing versus Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Even against the Colts mediocre rush attack, the Ravens defence looked very vulnerable, and that doesn’t bode well against the new-found Broncos attack of Knowshon Moreno. Couple that with the fact that Flacco doesn’t get to play a cakewalk defence, and you have a recipe for trouble. Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil are going to be a handful for the Ravens offensive line, and Champ Bailey will make it tough to hit the home-run through the air. All these side-stories work in the Broncos favour, and then you add Peyton Manning to the mix. He can’t be intimidated, and will do what he does in this game. Not make mistakes, take care of the ball and exploit mismatches. I’d love to see the magic continue with Lewis and the Ravens, it just doesn’t seem possible in these circumstances.
Broncos win 31 – 17