2012 NFL Divisional Round – FootballSaturday, January 12, 2013 16:00
Game picks for the 2012 NFL Divisional Round Weekend.
NFL Divisional Week
LAST WEEKS PICKS
5 – 5 = .500
Specials: 2 – 2 Overall Tally: 138 – 122 – 6 = .531
Specials: 39 – 34 – 1 = .534
DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF WEEKEND
GAME OF THE WEEK (8 – 10)
Green Bay Packer @ San Francisco 49ers – 3 (45)
No way I’m taking the Niners starting a rookie QB over Aaron Rodgers with a championship at stake. Dom Capers will put a spy on Kaepernick and the 49ers will rely on Frank Gore to match Rogers in the air.
That won’t get it done.
Take the Pack, the Over, and the Special for this week’s first trifecta.
PACKERS 31, NINERS 28
LOCK OF THE WEEK
Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos -9 (44)
We wish we could say the Ravens could put together a magical run and upset the comeback player of the century.
We wish we could say Ray Rice will run through an overrated Wild Horse defense.
We wish we could say Joe Flacco is ready to blossom as an elite NFL quarterback.
We also wish we could play guitar like Jimmy Page and had Ron Jeremy’s Rolodex and wish the wife wouldn’t mind us having our first two wishes come true.
Reality says Denver’s defense is probably the most underrated unit in the playoffs.
Reality says Joe Flacco has had years to blossom and he’s not about to in Mile High air across the field from Peyton Manning and Von Miller.
Reality says you won’t be hearing any brilliant Les Paul riffs from The Gairzo and he won’t be calling any porn stars—and his wife will smack him in the head when she gets home.
There is some hope for the Rat Birds…maybe Ray Lewis can inspire his brethren to make one last stand for glory.
Reality says Flacco, Lewis, and Rice not only lost to an injury–riddled Steeler defense when they still had a shot for a first-round bye, but Charlie Batch was quarterbacking for Pittsburgh.
Peyton Manning will probably do just a tad better.
Take the Broncos, the Over, and the Special—BIG!
BRONCOS 33, RAVENS 20
Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons –2.5 (46)
I’ve always believed the “rookie wall” theory regarding high profile NFL rookie QBs. Nine years ago we saw record setting Ben Roethlisberger bite the big one against the Pats in the AFC title game. Sure, it didn’t help Bellichick and his defense knew what plays were coming, but he had a horrible game against the Jets in the wildcard round and the Steelers won only when the Jets missed a chip shot field goal that would have sent the game into overtime.
Roethlisberger later admitted he was running on fumes. They were pungently evident when he threw a late 2nd-quarter pick six to Rodney Harrison.
We saw it this year in the last quarter of the season as RG3 broke down, then finally broke against the Seahawks. Look at Andrew Luck’s stats from Week 14 on. He averagesdabout 70% of the numbers he accrued in the first 13 weeks.
Likewise, RG3’s numbers plummeted after Week 15. Of course, it may be simply a phenomenon of time and place. Football players are used to 12-13 high school games and then sometimes one more at the college level. The last two games of an NFL season might not sound like much of a difference, but you then have to add 3-4 playoff games. Beyond that unprecedented challenge, you must avoid 300-pound men who want to destroy you—especially when your body wants to shut down.
It has to take a toll.
Strength of schedule, offensive philosophy, and psychology all play a part in how hard the rookie hits the wall—but hit it he will.
Russell Wilson, like Big Ben nine years ago, has had more consistency and less production because he has a great defense and running game to lean on.
Wilson has been asked not to necessarily win games—just don’t lose them with a dumb decision.
Even if the wall does not await Wilson in the ’12 playoffs, a very pissed-off Atlanta Falcons squad does. All year—it has only intensified as the playoffs approached—they have heard about losing playoff games at home and against teams they were favored to beat. The 0 – 3 record Mike Smith and Matt Ryan own is perched on the Falcons’ collective shoulder like a rotting cow chip. Smith and Ryan have to be sick to their stomachs.
If I had the option I wouldn’t make this play because I can credibly imagine scenarios in which either teams wins in a rout or on a last second safety.
I’m taking the ‘Hawks to barely cover and think the Birds of Prey power wash the cow chip off there shoulder with a long game-ending field goal…and the Under…
FALCONS 23, SEAHAWKS 21
Houston Texans @ New England Patriots -9.5 (48.5)
Against Wade Phillips defenses Tom Brady has feasted like a Yankee at a Texas BBQ. Any team that has beaten Brady in the playoffs has done so with relentless pressure, man coverage on the outside receivers and a zone-blitz on the inside. And endless combinations meant to confuse Brady.
(It doesn’t happen often. The Colts, Jets, Steelers and Ravens can claim most of those victories—but Brady is 16 – 6 in the post-season.)
The good news for the Texans…Jonathan Joseph is back in their secondary, and J.J. Watt—this year’s easy choice for DPOY—has knocked down 19 passes and could frustrate Brady if a couple tips fall the Texans way.
Look for the Texans to make the adjustments off the regular-season beating the Pats gave them. Adrian Foster will find a lot more holes to run through, Watt will make his mark and Joseph might return a pick six.
But it won’t be enough.
I’m thinking the 9.5 spread is too much, but when the dust settles the Patriots will play for another shot at a fourth ring.
New England might not cover and the Over is the smart play in this one.
PATRIOTS 34, TEXANS 27
NFL Lines Divisional Playoffs Games
1/12 – 1/13, 2013
|Date & Time||Favorite||Line||Underdog||Total|
|1/12 4:30 ET||At Denver O/U||-9 LW||Baltimore||44|
|1/12 8:00 ET||At San Francisco||-3 GW||Green Bay O/U||45|
|1/13 1:00 ET||At Atlanta||-2.5||Seattle/em> O/U||46|
|1/13 4:30 ET||At New England||-9.5||Houston/em> O/U||48.5|
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