We gave Peter Cavanaugh the day off to focus on Greg Oden, so I've stepped up to the plate to break down this week's NFL divisional playoff games. That doesn't mean you shouldn't put just as much credence into my picks. In fact, if Peter's love affair with the Dallas Cowboys is any indication, my picks should stick better than a Rob Ryan coaching job.
This is Joe Flacco's biggest game as a pro. It's time for Joe Flacco to show what he's worth. Haven't we heard that like 17 times already? Guess what? He's average. And when Peyton Manning meets average, he's more murderous than Ray Lewis in a strip club parking lot.
Prediction: Broncos 34, Ravens 17
Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers
Let me preface this by saying I think the 49ers have the best team left standing in the playoffs and that Colin Kaepernick is a remakably better QB than Alex Smith. Now that I've said that, I will tell you that the 49ers are going to lose this game BECAUSE of Kaepernick. Whether it's a curse on Jim Harbaugh for replacing Smith while he was having the best statistical season of any QB this year, whether it's rookie playoff mistakes, or the fact that Aaron Rodgers will actually be better not having to deal with the “frozen tundra” of Lambeau, things do not look to be in San Francisco's favor. Maybe with a year of playoff experience under his belt, Kaepernick will be ready for the big stage… just like Alex Smith last year.
Prediction: Packers 24, 49ers 13
Seattle Seahawks vs. Atlanta Falcons
Now it gets hard. This is the only game of the weekend I have no idea which side of the fence the ball will land. On one hand you have the best team in the NFC who is 0-3 in their last three playoff appearances. On the other you have the over-achieving Russell Wilson and his Seattle Seahawks, a team no one predicted to make the playoffs, let alone win their first road playoff game in eight attempts. The root-for-the-underdog-at-all-costs in me wants to see the Seahawks keep up their improbable run, but something in me is saying this is the year Atlanta and Matt Ryan become “real”. It'll be tighter than a nun's chuff either way you slice it.
Prediction: Falcons 28, Seahawks 23
New England Patriots vs. Houston Texans
God, I hate Tom Brady. Mother fucker I hate the Patriots. When will they go away and just die already?
Prediction: Patriots 34, Texans 10