Saturday, January 11, 2014

NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round Saturday

Now, we've widdled the teams down to 8: Denver, New England, Indianapolis and San Diego from the AFC, and Seattle, Carolina, San Francisco and New Orleans from the NFC. Last week, I went three for four in my picks and I went with a system of splitting up the games that between the two days given, and I'm going to do that again today. Onto the picks!

Saturday's games:

New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks (1:35 pm PT/3:35 pm CT, Fox) - Last week, Drew Brees finally won a road game, beating the Eagles 26-23. This week, he and his high-powered offense have a much bigger task: playing in the nosiest, most hostile environment in football that is CenturyLink Field, and playing perhaps the toughest defense in the NFC. Seattle's coming off a bye-week, and now face the task of figuring out how to better protect their QB, Russell Wilson from the Saint's very tough front seven. 

My pick: Seahawks - To me, this team has just too good a running game (Marshawn Lynch is a beast) and too deep on defense to let Brees pick them apart. He has the weapons on offense, but I'm not sure how he - or players like Jimmy Graham and Marques Coleston will fare against the league's best passing defense (just 172 passing yards given up per game). 

Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots (5:15 pm PT/7:15 pm CT, CBS) - Like most of us, I was surprised how Andrew Luck led his Colts from a 20+ deficit and beat the Chiefs 45-44 last Saturday. This week, he'll be squaring off against Tom Brady and a Patriots team that's quite simply not the same, frightening team we've seen in year's past: Wes Welker left to play with Denver, Rob Gronkowski is out with a torn ACL, and Aaron Hernandez is standing trial for murder. The good news is that Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton will be out for tonight's game; not because he's injured, but because Bill Belichick will make sure he's as much of a non-factor as possible.  

My pick: Colts - Like I said, New England doesn't scare me like they have everyone. Brady doesn't have the same offensive firepower, and although their defense is decent, I believe in the abilities of Andrew Luck and that Trent Richardson will come alive - or, at least, give Indy some resemblance of a running game.

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