After Wild Card weekend there are only 8 teams left in the hunt for Lombardy trophy, 4 of those teams will advance to next Sunday’s Conference Championship games. First, here are my picks for Saturday Divisional Playoffs games.
Baltimore Ravens (11-6) @ Denver Broncos (13-3), Saturday 4:30 PM (ET)
The last time this two teams met it was Week 13 of 2012 regular season. The Broncos led 31-3 at the end of 3rd quarter and easily won the game played in Baltimore with final score 34-17. This time the game will be played in Denver and the Broncos should have no problem advancing to the AFC Championship game next Sunday. But this is a playoff game, divisional round and chances are there will be an upset in one of 4 games this weekend. Somehow I’m not comfortable with picking against the Broncos who will have to face the Ravens led by QB Joe Flacco. Flacco had it rough all season when playing on the road and Broncos’ defense will probably make it even harder for him than the last time they played them Week 13 of the regular season in which Flacco completed only 50% of his passes. Again, I can’t see how could Flacco outplay QB Peyton Manning’s offense who scored an average of 33 points in the last 5 regular season games. True, it happen against not so good opponents but I think that Denver will find ways to score enough points on the Ravens and advance to AFC championship game.
Broncos 26-20, Result: Ravens 38-35 (2OT)
Against The Spread: Ravens (+9.5)
Over/Under: Over 45.5
Green Bay Packers (12-5) @ San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1), Saturday 8:00 PM (ET)
Just like Denver and Baltimore this two NFC rivals also played during regular season, but a lot has changed since Week 1. This time San Francisco will try to beat the Packers with Colin Kaepernick at quarterback and with injured DT Justin Smith. The Packers come to San Francisco healthier and with more balance on offense compared to earlier part of the season. If the 49ers want to beat the Packers they’ll again have to shut down opponent’s running game and force QB Aaron Rodgers to make mistakes. When on offense, the Niners will try to run the ball as much as possible in order to keep Rodgers off the field. Even without Justin Smith at full strength, I believe 49ers D-line can make Packers’ offense a bit more one-dimensional. It will be difficult for 49ers to win this game, but it’s playoff time and I have no intention to pick against San Francisco as they face their toughest challenge so far in this season.