Round 2 is upon us… and the Cardinals, Steelers, Bengals and Lions are no long in playoff contention. The first round was nothing short of boring, with flags being picked up, a road win for the Ravens and big games from the game winning QBs.
I went in the 2-2 in first round.
- Baltimore @ New England: The Ravens showed us once again they aren’t afraid to go on the road in the playoffs. This is the first postseason match-up between these two since Baltimore defeated New England in the 2012 AFC Championship game during their run to winning the Superbowl. The Patriots are well-rested coming off their bye week, and look to make it back to a 4th straight Conference championship. Tom Brady and company finished with the best record in the AFC, but numbers wise these two teams are very similar. The Pats finished 12th in total offense, the Ravens at 13th. New England’s defense isn’t top 10 like Baltimore, while Brady out passed Flacco in the regular season. This is going to be a tough game, and I don’t see it being very high scoring. Baltimore has a huge advantage on the ground and have to exploit that. But many doubted Brady early on when they got off to a slow start (for them) and I won’t do that here. He knows this defense well, and will want revenge for that 2012 knockout. Give me the top seed to advance in this one. NEW ENGLAND WINS
- Panthers @ Seahawks: Two top 10 defenses clash in this NFC battle. Carolina is hot, winners of 5 straight games, playing like the team that made the playoffs a season ago. Seattle is rested, and look to continue their top rated defense and get a lot out their 9th ranked offense. This won’t be as easy for the Seahawks to win as Carolina’s round 1 win, but I do think the defending champs will get the win. Proof of that came in their week 8 game, a 13-9 defensive struggle that went the way of the Hawks. I don’t think this one will be as low scoring as both offenses are in better shape, but the 12th man will be out in force, and this Seattle team is playing like a Superbowl champion looking to repeat. SEATTLE WINS
- Cowboys @ Packers: Two 12 win regular season teams meet up in cold Lambeau this weekend. Dallas played well in their win over Detroit, but they also benefited from some missed calls including a flag that was picked up on PI that would’ve put the Lions close to the red zone. Aaron Rodgers and company had a week to rest, and now they look to take advantage of their home-field advantage and their 8-0 home record. Dallas did play well on the road, going 8-0 away from home. So what gives? There are MVP candidates on both sides, both QBs are hot, and both have capable run games. This is going to be fun, but I think this is comes down to which team I like in big spots, and Aaron Rodgers knows how to come up big in big games, and he has been unbelievable at home. I think that continues. GREEN BAY WINS
- Colts @ Broncos: Before the season, I had this game as a possible AFC Championship game. I love what I saw from the Colts on offense in their win over the Bengals, especially getting Dan Herron and the ground game involved early. Denver is getting used to being here, so a week off did them and their aging QB good. This could be a shoot out with both high powered offenses, but the biggest change to the Broncos from last season to this is their improvement on defense. So give me a big stop late at home by Denver, not to mention I think we’re destined for another Brady-Manning match-up. DENVER WINS