Yesterday did not go so well in the NFL world for me. If you saw my comment in yesterday’s blog containing my predictions for Saturday’s games, then you saw that I went 0-2. I incorrectly selected both the Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers to win their games. Subsequently, with the Broncos losing yesterday, I have also lost my AFC Super Bowl representative and Super Bowl Champion.Have no fear! I have a new Super Bowl match-up and champion as well! After yesterday’s mess I now have a impressive record of 4-2 in my Playoff Picks for Rugby Heads. Now on to my Sunday Divisional Round Picks!
Seattle Seahawks (5 Seed) at Atlanta Falcons (1 Seed): All week people have been saying if there was an upset this weekend, it would occur in this game. Well, I’m not one of those people. The Falcons have the best dual wide receiver-tight end combination in all of the NFL (receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones and tight end Tony Gonzalez,) one that I believe will outshine Seattle’w two tough cornerbacks; Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner. Sherman and Browner are two of the most physical corners in the league and like to bump at the line of scrimmage and a bit after. This is the match-up I’m most intrigued by. The match-up’s winner will be determined on how close the referees call this game. If they call a very loose game then I believe Atlanta’s Jones and White could be shut out, if not, then Atlanta could get a lot of extra yardage due to a few yellow flags thrown at the Seahawks’ expense. I feel that this will also be the game where it all unravels for Seattle’s rookie quarterback Russel Wilson. Atlanta has a very good defensive backfield, one that might be too good for him to beat. This third round pick’s magical season stops at the Georgia Dome. My Prediction: 35-24 Falcons
Houston Texans (3 Seed) at New England Patriots (2 Seed): The winner of this game determines home-field advantage for the AFC Championship Game next weekend, with yesterdays’ Baltimore Ravens victory. This game features two of the top offenses in the NFL. Houston brings to Gillette Stadium one of the best running backs in the NFL in Arian Foster and a Top 3 receiver in Andre Johnson and to top it off, their QB Matt Schaub isn’t half bad either. The Patriots will be defending their home turf with one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game, Tom Brady, the best slot receiver in the NFL in Wes Welker, and two of the Top 5 tight ends in the league in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. This game will provide a lot of scoring because not only are these two high-powered offenses, but the two defenses that aren’t the stingiest at the moment. Houston has a better defense than New England, but with the injuries on their squad, most notedly the lose to inside linebacker Brian Cushing, it’s not the same as it was at the beginning of the season. The Deciding Factor in this game is whichever defense bends but does not break. Something I’m looking forward to is how New England’s “so-called” Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins can handle Houston’s All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt. Mankins was someone I said did not deserve to be in the Pro Bowl this year because he missed significant time (six games) due to injuries. Lets see if he proves me wrong. My Prediction: 41-33 Texans
My Revised Super Bowl Prediction for Rugby Heads:
Baltimore Ravens (AFC 4 Seed) at Atlanta Falcons (NFC 1 Seed): After my AFC Rep. and Super Bowl Favorite lost yesterday at the hands of the Ravens, it was back to the drawing board. It didn’t take me long to come up with my new match-up and champion. The Ravens were my preseason pick to win the Super Bowl and the only reason I didn’t have them making it back to the Super Bowl at season’s end was because they played so poorly down the stretch. Now that this team is healthy, the offense is clicking, and they have a little extra “umph” behind them this post season my mind has changed. Last week I mentioned how this will be Raven’s defensive leader Ray Lewis’ last go-around. And after watching Lewis the past two weekends and his post game interview, you can’t help but root for the guy and tell he wants to go out with a bang. This team has it all; a great run game (Ray Rice), a stout defense (Lewis and Ed Reed) when rested, and a quarterback (Joe Flacco) with a big arm. However, I still like the Falcons way too much and without Denver in the picture it makes Coach Mike Smith and Matt Ryan’s road to the duo’s first championship much easier. The funny thing is, I’ve been saying for a few years now that this would be a very likely Super Bowl match-up at somepoint and at the beginning of this year I said it would be the Ravens vs. either Atlanta or the Philadelphia Eagles (and we all know what happened to the Eagles.) My Prediction: 28-20 Falcons