This is the best weekend of the year. If you had somewhere to go, cancel your plans, because that groove on the couch misses you. I know it’s been hard to stay “into it” since your fantasy team was officially eliminated from contention, but it’s time to gear up for playoff football. The schedule is as follows:
Baltimore Ravens vs. *New England Patriots – Saturday @ 4:35 P.M. (NBC)
Carolina Panthers vs. *Seattle Seahawks – Saturday @ 8:15 P.M. (FOX)
Dallas Cowboys vs. *Green Bay Packers – Sunday @ 1:05 P.M. (FOX)
Indianapolis Colts vs. *Denver Broncos – Sunday @ 4:40 P.M. (CBS)
* – Indicates Home Team
If the Ravens and Patriots matchup is giving you deja vu, you are not the only one. This is the fourth time in six years that these teams will face each other in the postseason. And while the Patriots have the best postseason record of any team since the turn of the century (18-8), the Ravens have been Tom Brady’s kryptonite. Joe Flacco and the Ravens have beaten the Patriots in two of their last three trips to Foxboro. As much as I would enjoy seeing that trend continue, I believe the Gronkanator and the Pats will be too much for the Ravens to handle.
Prediction: Patriots 27 – Ravens 21
Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers will look to keep their momentum going as they venture to CenturyLink Field on Saturday. The Panthers are looking to become the first team ever to advance to the Conference Championships after having a losing record during the regular season (7-8-1). The Seahawks were 7-1 at home this season, and will look to continue that trend with their usual formula: ground and pound + violent defense = more points than the other team. If the Panthers are going to have any chance in this game, they’ll need Cam Newton to do his best Superman impression. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening. Expect a defensive struggle in the first half, and then the Seahawks should pull away late in the game.
Prediction: Seahawks 26 – Panthers 17
As we transition to Sunday, expect the best game of the Divisional Round to come from the frozen tundra; aka Lambeau Field. This is a product of matchups. Demarco Murray, if healthy, should run all over the Packers less than stellar defensive line. However, Aaron Rodgers, if healthy, should have a field day with the Cowboys secondary. This matchup marks the first time in NFL Playoff history that an undefeated team at home (Green Bay 8-0) will host an undefeated team on the road (Dallas 8-0). Murray is the Cowboys only chance at victory, because as good as Tony Romo is, he is not winning a shootout against his counterpart. The soon to be MVP (Rodgers) should be able to will his team to victory with or without a torn calf. I see the Packers edging out the Cowboys in a thriller.
Prediction: Packers 28 – Cowboys 27
And to wrap up a great weekend in football, Andrew Luck will march in to Denver to take on Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Everyone can talk about how ordinary Peyton has looked over the last month, and how bad he is in the playoffs, but I am not ready to give up on the first family of football. Andrew Luck is a phenomenal talent, and I expect him to be great for 10 more years, but this is not his year. This Colts team is not strong enough defensively to stop Peyton Manning, and their running game has simply crumbled. They have left Andrew Luck on an island. I hope this game is close, but I see Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, and Emmanuel Sanders being too much for the Colts to handle.
Prediction: Broncos 34 – Colts 24
What do you think? Who do you have advancing to the Conference Championships?
Let me know in the comment section below.
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