Last weekend was one of rare events. Usually the road teams win two of the Wild Card games. Last week featured one win by the visitors, a stat usually reserved for the Divisional Round. Home teams win just over 75% of the Divisional Playoff games since the 12 team playoff format was implemented.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Baltimore @ Denver
- Peyton Manning is 9-2 against the Ravens in his career and has not lost to them since 2001. That was a 39-27 loss in which the game-winning score was a 5 yard pass to Qadry Ismail from Elvis Grbac. Moe Williams was the leading rusher in that game. By then, Ray Lewis was already about to go to his fifth Pro Bowl. Manning's 15-6 win in 2006 is still one of the most interesting playoff games of recent history. Of course, that 15-6 is one of the two Manning wins outdoors during January in his career (2-7).
Can Manning find success against them again? I think he can, considering that Andrew Luck was able to have success throwing to Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener last week. The Ravens won that game with the big blitz, but they have to know Manning would kill them with that game plan. Sadly, the Ray Lewis comeback could really hurt the Ravens with some of the high-low and levels concepts that the Manning Offense is known to live by. Let's be honest, Mike McCoy, a hot coaching candidate, gave away the reigns to Peyton weeks ago. Of course, he probably deserved it for the work put into getting all those wins with Tebow last season. PICK: (DEN 8-1)
Green Bay @ San Francisco
- Alex Smith is not the quarterback. The best receiving weapon for Aaron Rodgers is not Greg Jennings. Neither team ended up to be the #1 seed in the NFC. Coach Harbaugh has given extra stick-um out in practice this week and America is ready to throw their shoes at the TV if they see any more State Farm commercials. By the way, Green Bay, can you get a better line soon? It's impossible to try and write a joke about it without thinking about Swiss cheese. PICK: (SF 5-4)
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Seattle @ Atlanta
- In honor of hockey being back, the Seahawks will wear full "Green Man" bodysuits for the game like the Canucks fans. That's a National Hockey League team in Vancouver. Vancouver is in Canada. I know, I know, this is a football column. Okay, fine, how did everyone feel about Demba Ba going to Chelsea?
Okay, in all seriousness, can anyone remember any #1 seed not coached by Marty Schottenheimer that could play the "Nobody Believes in Us" card? Matt Ryan is 33-5 at home in the regular season and 0-1 at home in the playoffs along with being 0-3 overall in the playoffs. See, that's why Falcons. That, and Michael Turner is running like Jerome Bettis. It's not good to run like a retired guy and it's not good that Atlanta only converts 18.5% of their runs into first downs. Only the Saints, Browns and Cardinals were worse in that category. Finally, the Falcons and the Colts were the only playoff teams to give up more yards per play on defense than they gained on offense. Those are the reasons many don't believe in the Falcons. PICK: (SEA 5-4)
Houston @ New England
- It is easy to think that the Patriots will dominate this game since they won 42-14 just a few weeks ago. Of course, the Jets from a few years ago won despite being killed a few weeks earlier by the Pats, so that is not a great way to look at it. The best way to look at it is to look at Matt Schaub and then give a gander to Tom Brady. Isn't Tom Brady dreamy? I mean, uh, his passes. His passes look much better than Schaub's. Plus, Belichick is probably pissed that his team came less than ten plays short of the record for plays ran in a season. PICK: (NE 8-1)
LAST WEEK: 4-0
SEASON: 167-92-1 (64.4%)