The two games that have already played out on Saturday proved yet again that the best and most exciting football is played in Divisional playoff round. On Saturday the Ravens beat the Broncos in double overtime and the 49ers beat the Packers to advance to Conference Championship games. I went 1-1 with Saturday Divisional playoff picks, here are my picks for 2 Sunday Divisional round games.
Seattle Seahawks (12-5) @ Atlanta Falcons (13-3), Sunday 1:00 PM (ET)
This is supposed to be a great matchup between physical Seahawks’ secondary going against one of the best air attack in the league. Seattle is playing great on defense in general and I think they’ll be able to limit Atlanta’s passing game especially if they can stuff their running game early on in the game. For Atlanta on other hand it will be even more crucial to stop Seattle’s ground game, not only Seattle’s running backs but also rookie quarterback Russell Wilson who can make plays on the ground. Atlanta had plenty of time to prepare for dangerous Seattle team and the Falcons have an important home-field advantage in a game that will be played at 1 PM Eastern Time. The last two Seattle losses were against Detroit and Miami and both games were early games played on East Coast. This is a second consecutive trip to East Coast for Seattle Seahawks and I think they won’t be able to overcome that even tough I expect another solid performance from their defensive unit.
Pick: Falcons 24-23, Result: Falcons 30-28
Against The Spread: Seahawks (+2.5)
Over/Under: Over 45.5
Houston Texans (13-4) @ New England Patriots (12-4), Sunday 4:30 PM (ET)
This is a rematch from regular season game in which the Patriots beat up the Texans 42-14. I expect it to be much closer battle than it was in Week 14 on Monday Night when nothing seemed to go Texans’ way and I think Houston will be hungry to revenge regular season loss and will be difficult to beat. With a couple of late season losses Texans lost the right to host this playoff game which could end up being a big disadvantage. With Tom Brady at quarterback the Patriots are 10-2 when playing at home and will look to improve on that record. Like I said I anticipate much closer game but I’m going with New England to win this one at home and advance to AFC championship game for the second year in a row.
Pick: Patriots 27-21, Result: Patriots 41-28
Against The Spread:
Once again home-field proved to be big advantage in Wild Card playoff round, in first two Wild Card games played on Saturday Texans beat the Bengals and Packers beat the Vikings to advance to the Divisional playoff round. I went 2-0 with Saturday Wild Card picks, here are my picks for 2 Sunday Wild card games.
Indianapolis Colts (11-5) @ Baltimore Ravens (10-6), Sunday 1:00 PM (ET)
No offence to all Colts fans out there, but 2012 Colts have to be one of the worst if not the worst 11-5 team in NFL history. Those 11 wins mostly came against below average competition. The Colts did won 3 times against teams with winning record, but all those wins were at home including a win against the Texans in the last week of the regular season. The Colts will need some kind of miracle similar to the one Denver Broncos generated in last season’s Wild Card overtime win over Pittsburgh Steelers. Remember, no one gave any chance to the Broncos last year, but they somehow managed to win the game. Anything can happen, but I think the Ravens will take advantage of home-crowd atmosphere and will be too much for the Colts. Baltimore went only 1-4 in its last 5 but 3 of those 5 teams were playoff teams. Indianapolis Colts were flying high all season on emotions but it seems the Ravens will out-emotion them this week as LB Ray Lewis returns in the lineup from injury after he announced he plans to retire at the end of this season.
Pick: Ravens 30-23, Result: Ravens 24-9
Against The Spread: Ravens (-6.5)
Seattle Seahawks (11-5) @ Washington Redskins (10-6), Sunday 4:30 PM (ET)
This are two very similar teams, offensively that is. With rookies at quarterback, Seahawks and Redskins were 2 most run-heavy teams in the NFL during regular season. Seahawks ran the ball 55% of their all offensive snaps, Redskins with 51% also went against the flow. So both teams don’t ask a lot from their quarterbacks, at least not with their pass attack. The team that can stop opponent’s running game and make them pass more will probably win this game and I like the Seahawks defense more in this matchup. Of course things can go different way with a couple of great plays from special teams, but here too I think that the Seahawks are in better position to receive the necessary spark from the special team unit. Out of all 4 Wild Card games I really can’t wait to see this battle between Seahawks and Redskins. The Redskins are at home and Seahawks had to make cross-country trip but their level of play has been great lately and I think they will come out of this battle victorious.
Pick: Seahawks 24-17, Result: Seahawks 24-14
Against The Spread: Seahawks (-3.5)
Over/Under: Under 46.5