This week’s topic is this weekend’s NFL Divisional Playoff games. The writers were asked who would win in each matchup, what the score would be and why they think the result would be that way.
Baltimore Ravens vs Denver Broncos (Saturday at 4:30 pm)
Sammie: I think Denver will win this matchup of Flacco vs Manning. This game will take the Ravens on the road against a future Hall of Fame quarterback, who will have himself and his team ready. Final score 24-17.
Adam: This is Ray Lewis’ final season and the team won a hard fought emotional victory last week to advance. They had a decent year and I am sure Baltimore believes they can win. Here are the issues – Denver has won 11 in a row and Peyton Manning has beaten Baltimore nine consecutive times. Also earlier this year Denver doubled up Baltimore in Baltimore (without Ray Lewis) and Peyton Manning did not play well. I expect Peyton to exploit the Ravens’ defensive holes and for the Ravens to again not know how to properly utilize Ray Rice. It will be up to Flacco to keep up (which he did admirably in the playoffs last year against Brady) without Tory Smith (he is playing but the box score hasn’t shown it in months). Overall, Denver should take this one without a 4th Quarter sweat. Final score 34-16.
Fred: Ravens lose to Broncos because Flacco historically is average at best on the road, which isn’t good enough to take down the rested Broncos. Final score 27-13.
JR: The Broncos will defeat the Ravens. Ray rice will rush for about 120 yards and it will not be enough to stop the Broncos and Manning. Final score 28-17.
Rich: If this game was in Baltimore, I might give the Ravens a chance, however, I think the Broncos will just steamroll over them in Denver. Just a shame that this will be Ray Lewis’ last game. Peyton Manning leads the Broncos to a win. Final score 34-17.
Green Bay Packers vs San Francisco 49ers (Saturday at 8:00 pm)
Sammie: I think San Francisco will win because of their running game and a more mobile quarterback in Colin Kaepernick. The 49ers’ defense will be up to the task with a stout front of creating turnovers for Aaron Rodgers. Final score 27-24.
Adam: To me this is a game of fairly evenly matched teams. San Francisco is the home team but starting a young QB with no post-season experience. Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay have been there and done that. While the Packers’ running game is not great it seems bringing back Ryan Grant has allowed them to force other teams to play them honestly, freeing up the big play down the field. I would expect a close game with Green Bay winning it on the road late. Final score 27-17.
Fred: Being a Niners fan, I can’t make a prediction on Packers/Niners playoffs game.
JR: My gut instinct tells me to go with the Packers, Aaron Rogers has the playoff experience and it may prove to be to much pressure for Kaepernick. I think Green Bay has a chip on their shoulders from being ousted last season by the Giants. Final score 24 – 21.
Rich: The 49ers beat the Packers earlier in the season and I expect the same thing to happen this weekend but it will be a close game that comes down to whomever has the ball last. Final score 31-28.
Seattle Seahawks vs Atlanta Falcons (Sunday at 1:00 pm)
Sammie: I believe the Falcons will finally get over the hump and capture that ever-so-elusive playoff win that will help them possibly go on to the Super Bowl. The Falcons have the ability to strike fast with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones & the future hall of famer tightend Gonzales. Final score 34-28.
Adam: I find the line to be a telling sign in this matchup. It is Seattle +1. As you know the home team always spots the visitor three, so that means the folks in Vegas are actually considering the Seahawks a slight favorite on a neutral field. That being said Atlanta has been almost unstoppable at home since Matt Ryan took over at QB. Now the playoffs have not been where Atlanta has thrived lately actually getting embarrassed in recent years. Russell Wilson might very well beat out Andrew Luck for ROY. I believe in the dome, Seattle finds a way to slow Julio Jones and Roddy White just enough to allow for a road victory increasing Russell Wilson’s stock again. Final score 24-21.
Fred: Minus the Giants game, the Falcons have severely underperformed this year at home. I just simply don’t trust them against an “on fire” Seahawks team. Final score 28-27.
JR: Seahawks will fall to the Falcons. The Falcons offense at home will be too much for the Seattle defense. score 31 – 14.
Rich: I have no faith in the Falcons, especially in the playoffs. They didn’t really face a tough test all season while the Seahawks are riding high right now (similar momentum that the Packers and Giants had in the last two seasons that resulted in Super Bowl wins for those teams). Seahawks win easily. Final score 27 – 10.
Houston Texans vs New England Patriots (Sunday at 4:30 pm)
Sammie: It looks to me that the Patriots will beat Houston not as bad as before because Houston will show pride. The Texans did not exactly put on an offensive show against the Bengals last week so unless their players and coach step it up, this will be the end of the line for the Houston Texans. FInal score 28-14.
Adam: Houston had another nice season increasing their stock from year to year. They looked like they were going to be the overall #1 seed but struggled down the stretch including an embarrassing defeat in New England in week 14. Arian Foster will get his yards and they will keep it closer, but Tom Brady, Ridley, Welker, the two TE monsters and the mad genius will find a way to prevail at home. Final score 28-17.
Fred: The mastermind Belichick has extra week to prepare, which should guarantee this victory. Final score 34-24
JR: The Texans are going to win because they finally got back to playing the way the have in the early part of the season but it will be a close game. Final score 28-21
Rich: This is going to be a tough game. The Texans still feel humilated from the last time they faced the Patriots. However, giving Belichick more time to game plan spells doom for any team not named the New York Giants. Final score 37-24.
Thanks to all the writers for taking part in this week’s Writers’ Block. What do you think? Are the writers wrong? Please feel free to comment below.