After the first week of the Playoffs, the standings are:
Jesse (@rant9space) 2-2
Jeremy (@Jlippiatt) 1-3
So that was a fantastic weekend of Football, so what does the Divisional round have in store for us? Let's speculate!
Saints vs. Seahawks, Saturday, Jan 11 at 4:35pm on Fox
Well how about the Saints winning on the road? I guess they can do it, and honestly the Eagles were the best team of the worst division in the history of anything so take that for what it is worth. So can the Saints go on the road again, to the one place that still actually has a home field advantage and win again? According to Football Outsider, the Seahawks are the most efficient team, with a total DVOA of 40.1% (as a point of reference, Jacksonville’s DOVA was -38.2%, if you want more detailed explanation of what DVOA is and how it is calculated, go here.)
While the Seahawks have the best DVOA, it is built on their defense, not their offense. The homefield advantage of the Seahawks is based on the noise and occasionally the weather. But I don’t think Drew Brees is going to be bothered by noise, but I think he will be bothered by the Seahawks big Cornerbacks. Those guys are big for that position and that is why the Seahawks D is so good. The Seahawks might get Percy Harvin back, but even if they don’t, I think the Seahawks win by running the beast (Marshawn Lynch) and using play-action to get the long plays they need to win. The Seahawks are 8 point favorites in this game, I don’t think they cover, but I think they win. Seahawks 28-Saints 21
First I’d like to take a moment to say I’m only 3 damn points away from being 3-1, so it wasn’t like I was way off on my predictions, I was a bit off on points, so what, you wanna fight about it?! The one I did get was one I’m super stoked about, THE CHARGERS WIN! That was a great game if you are a Chargers fan, man so many ginger turnovers I thought they were selling Arby’s on that field!
Saints in Seattle, yeah I don’t have high hopes on this one either. The Saints didn’t look amazing last weekend, but they barely got the job done. Brees did decent in the chilled air and made some decent plays. I’m guessing they wouldn’t have made it without the Shayne Graham field goals, so good call on the Saints for dropping Hartley and getting Graham. The run game was important in this game with 185 yards on the ground, I expect to see more of that against Seattle. Sadly that doesn’t always work out so well, and their secondary is pretty damn good as well. Can the Seattle offense and defense be stopped? It can, and I’m guessing the Saints are watching a metric ton of tape and gigabytes of digital videos from when the Cards played the Seahawks at home. They need an even run and pass game, oh and some smash mouth defense. I think they can do it, they just played a game similar to this in Philly.
Seattle’s dick is so hard for this game it’d make a horse blush. What an amazing season for the Seahawks and the ol’ Cheat Carroll, oops, Pete. In all honesty the Seahawks are playing at an amazing level as their offense and defense is some of the best in the league and they look great. Except for that blemish at home with the Cardinals. Their head wasn’t in the game and now they need to regroup and refocus. They MIGHT have Percy Harvin back and when the crowd is involved they are unstoppable. There are cracks in the defense and the Seahawks need to bring their A++ game to get this done.
Since I’m waaay far behind in the picks, I’m going full crazy. I believe the Saints have the upper hand in this because they know what they need to do this round, make big plays and stop the the Seahawks.
Who Wins? New Orleans Saints
Why? The Saints are on a high from last week, and they have proven they can win on the road in the post season.
I too was only 3 points away from being 3-1, but as I mentioned last week, the Packers could not find a way to cover the middle of the field so they gave up huge yards on important downs and gave the 49ers position to kick the game winner. Oh well. Maybe this will motivate them to get better.
This matchup, Saints at Seahawks, in my mind is the game of the weekend. The last time the Saints played here in the post-season, Marshawn Lynch was recorded on the richter scale (and if I were voting for the best, most entertaining run of all time, it would get my vote). I think that Brees and the Saints will come with their A-game, but I will not be able to pick against that Seahawks Defense. They are suffocatingly good. They have been building this thing for 3+ years to be the dominant force in the league, and now they are. Richard Sherman may be the best corner of the decade. They allowed (or restricted rather) an impressive 231 points all season long. The only way the Saints win is for that Ryan defense to generate turnovers with good field position and the Saints to get a lead early, because I don’t think Wilson and that offense in Seattle are built to come from behind, but then again they have posted 4 games with 30+ points.
I will go with Seattle at home to win 26-20. I think Seattle is nearly unbeatable at home, they are good enough to mess up the offensive rhythm of the Saints and will run the ball a lot to chew up the clock, while doing just enough on offense to stay ahead on the scoreboard. Meanwhile the Saints just aren’t great on the road.
Colts vs. Patriots, Saturday, Jan.11 at 8:15pm on CBS
I hate the New England Patriots. I hate them so much. I hate Tom Brady and his ridiculous haircuts, I hate Bill Belichick and his inability to express joy in anything, and I hate their reputation for being this great organization, even though all they have done since winning the Superbowl in 2005 is lose two more Superbowls, get spanked by the Ravens a couple of times in the playoffs and turned into the Mid-2000s Colts, a team that does great in the regular season, scores a lot of points and then loses in the playoffs. This Patriots team has no real offensive weapons other than Tom Brady; and their best defensive player, Vince Wilfork is out. So who is going to win this game? Well since the weather played such a big part of the first week of the playoffs, we might as well check on the weather in Foxboro on Saturday. High of 50 and Low of 42 with a 60% chance of rain. That kind of weather is not helpful for either team, and my heart doesn’t allow me to root for the Patriots in any single way, even picking them to win on a blog. Colts 31-Patriots 28.
Wow, I didn’t expect the Colts to make it past the Chiefs, but yet here we are with them in the next round. Quite the nail biter of a game last week, a lot of fun to watch though. The Colts were down 31 to 10 going into the half. They were struggling like hell on both sides of the ball, I knew I picked the correct team to win. Then they claw their way back to win the 2nd largest playoff comeback ever. We all know Luck loves his 2nd half and 4th quarter comebacks, but to do it in the postseason and hang up that many points is impressive. This neck beard can get it done, but against the Pats? I’m not sure, I think the Patriots might be able to take them on offense even with all of their struggles they’ve had on that side of the ball.
We all know now that Jesse hates the Patriots, it's awesome. I don’t hate the Patriots, I really liked their tight ends the past two seasons, mostly for fantasy reasons. Now that one is in jail and the other is broken in a few places, I’m less of a fan for fantasy reasons. Do they have what it takes to beat the Colts? I think so, but this game is really a tossup in my book. In the Belichick/Brady era they are 11 and 3 at home in the playoffs, but 3-3 the past six years, so they are very beatable even though the Patriots are favored to win.
Who wins? Indianapolis Colts
Why? I think they’ll be down going into the half and we know what happens in the second half of that story.
Man, no one hates the Patriots more than Jesse, right? While I’m not a fan of the Patriots, I do like how Belichick goes about his business. I’m not a Brady fan, but respect his game. There is something undeniable about this Patriots team that keeps clearing the house of its household name players but still finds ways to win 10 or more games. Brady literally doesn’t move in the Pocket. He drops back, stands like a statue for what seems like 10 minutes, then finds the open guy. If he were standing behind the Packers O-line, he would not have lasted 3 games this year. Man the Patriots are amazing.
So, enough pissing Jesse off. The Patriots are good but very beatable this year. Andrew Luck is just as good if not better than Brady at this point in each of their careers and the Colts play well on the road. What you need to win in New England is a run game and the Colts are ranked 20th for the season (17th in passing). Wilfork is out for the Patriots, but that may not matter. I see this game coming down to who runs the ball better and controls the clock with the lead. I think New England is in a better position to make that happen. For the Colts to win, they will need to light up the scoreboard, which they are capable of … but I’ll take New England to win, 24-17.
49ers vs. Panthers, Sunday, January 12th at 1:05pm on Fox
Sorry about the Packers Jake. I know you would have been able to go to this game had the Packers made it. The 49ers are turning into your personal Reggie Miller (I’m a New York Knicks fan who was tormented by him in playoffs over and over again to the point that his face makes me want to vomit) and for that I am sorry. But can I say that I love me some Colin Kaepernick? Man he is fun to watch, and now we get to see him in a playoff game with another running Quarterback who can throw the ball deep, Cam Newton. Carolina and San Fran are 3rd and 6th, respectively, in Football Outsiders DVOA rankings, both with great defenses and decent offenses. Carolina has been able to do well on Defense without going blitz crazy, which is always a good strategy in the playoffs (i.e. Giants in 2007 and 2011) Both teams played in tough divisions and have the same record, so this one is going to be tough. The 49ers are actually favored, even though they are playing on the road, that is pretty ballsy. But, when in doubt, take the home team in this round. Panthers 33-49ers 28.
Wow, the 49ers made it out of the really frozen tundra, that is crazy! I mean I know the 49ers are good, but to come into freezing ass cold weather and win, that is insane! Good work on the 49ers what an impressive win. Sorry to Sutton for the Pack loss, but somehow the 49ers were just better. The end of that game was impressive as you know that ball felt like a rock especially after the 3rd field goal, but Dawson picked it up. The 49ers have proven they can win on the road and I’m willing to bet they can do it again. If they can contain Cam and keep that Panthers defense from running them over they can get this one in the bag, they were one point off of a win earlier this year.
RAWR!!! I’m a Panther, get it!? Because of the roaring!? No? Well screw you then. Who would have thought that these cats starting the season at 1-3 would end up damn near winning out, I know I didn’t! They’ve looked great almost all season and only have a few blemishes on their record. They have a defense that can make important stops and an offense that can make key plays when needed. They took care of the 49ers in week 10, and I say they can do it again.
Who wins? Carolina Panthers
Who would have predicted the Panthers as the #2 seed when this season began? Answer: no one. How did they do it? Defense. Theirs is nearly as good as the Seahawks and if they were playing anyone else I’d say home team wins without pause. This 49ers team is good in all phases of the game, but I would say their most impressive quality is the ability to come out on top nearly every time a play breaks down. You can’t beat luck in the playoffs and I think luck is on the 49ers side. Kaepernick threw a potential game-losing throw last week right at Micah Hyde’s face and dude dropped the interception. That’s some luck right there. Also, the 49ers defense is ranked 5th in the league and this team obviously plays well on the road.This is Cam Newton’s first NFL playoff game and he is fully capable of psyching himself out on the big stage. Steve Smith is likely pissed about this Rick Flair incident so I expect (and hope) to see some fights on the field. No one disrespects #89 and gets away with it. I forsee penalties, clumsiness and turnovers from the Panthers. This game, when looking into the team stats and standings should be a 13-6 win for the Panthers. However, I’m going to say that Cam throws a pick-6 and their defense gets its weakness exposed by the unpredictable nature of Kaepernick’s game. I’ll take the 49ers to win an odd one, 21-9.
Chargers vs. Broncos, Sunday, January 12th at 4:40pm on CBS
So I feel like the momentum (which doesn’t exist) is moving towards the Chargers. They beat Broncos in Week 15, both their offense and defense have been playing better as the season progressed. If you watch the NFL at all you know the story line about Peyton Manning in the playoffs and when it is cold. But, and while I can’t find the stat right now, the home teams in the division round have an amazing record. Home field advantage does not seem the exist in the first round, or the conference championships, but in the divisional round they do very well. Also, at least at the moment, the weather for Denver on Sunday is in the 40s with a slim chance of rain. Not exactly freezing. The Chargers won in week 15 but shortening the game, giving Denver as few offensive possessions as possible. That might work again, but if the game turns into a shoot-out, Denver is going to win. But will I go against the bizarre streak of the team that played the Eagles in the their first home game goes to the Super Bowl? Also, 6th seeds have a great record recently in the Playoffs. As a fan of Peyton Manning, I hate saying this, but I think the Chargers win a close one. 41-38.
The game of the week right here! Will they, won’t they!? Can Peyton and his horsies keep up their strong numbers against the hot running Bolts? Fuck no they can’t, not happening. We know how to beat the Broncos, keep the ball out of Peyton’s hands. It is very simple and straight forward. They have so many options when they throw the ball, but if you remove that option their run game is stoppable. There is your key right there, stop them in the air and contain them on the ground. We can score on them and we can stop them.
That said, that always isn’t easy, Peyton knows how to win in the post season and he’s going to do his best to get his team to the big game. They don’t have Von Miller and I’m curious how much that will pan out, they do have Welker healthy so it could be an uphill battle. Typically in this round the home team has a 70% win percentage. I’m adding all of my picks as that 30%, GO BOLTS!
Who Wins? San Diego Chargers
Why? We know how to beat this team and we are ready to make a run at this Super Bowl thing!
I like the Chargers, but this is Manning’s year. 55 TD’s,10 Picks, 342 yards per game, QB rating of 115. I mean, damn! He has 5 receivers with 10+ touchdowns this season… who do you cover? The Chargers scored a ton of points last week but they won’t keep up this time with the Broncos, even though they beat them once already. The problem Denver had last matchup was that they forgot they had a running game, letting Moreno run a whopping 8 times for 19 yards and allowing San Diego to control the clock; Welker was out, Keenan Allen had a huge day, Ryan Mathews had a huge day… Denver has learned their lesson, one dimensional means only one outcome: losing (also, they may consider covering Allen and containing Mathews). I see this as the only barn burner of the weekend. I won’t dive into more stats here, I’ll say Broncos at home win a points-fest 51-38 and continue their march to the Super Bowl.