Peyton Manning is ready to light-up the old Ravens defense this weekend.
The Wildcard round provided us with one really good game and three pretty poor ones.
Here's a first look at the Divisional Round
Baltimore vs Denver - The Ravens were able to beat a young Colts team but it was not an impressive victory. Yes Flacco threw for 282yds, but he was 12-23 which is terrible. The Ravens do not have a Super Bowl caliber offense with Flacco at QB and their defense is good but not great at this point. The Ravens have to get Ray Rice running the ball if they have any chance of winning this game. Pierce did a very good job filling in last week when Rice had some turnover problems, but that will not cut it in Denver.
The Broncos are coming off their bye ready to face an aging Ravens defense. Peyton Manning knows this Ravens team and knows how to beat them. I'm sure Manning was watching film all week figuring out how he was going to dissect this old defense. I expect Denver to run the ball and set-up Manning to pass all over this Ravens team. The Broncos defense has more than enough talent to slow down Flacco.
Manning has the upper hand over the defense so this game comes down to Flacco vs Denver defense. I'll go with Denver's defense easy.
Green Bay vs San Francisco - The Packers took down the Vikings in a game they should have won, especially with Webb at QB. The Packers offense looked good and efficient and their defense is improving. The big question this week is how will Rodgers move the ball against the 49ers defense. I think the Packers defense can keep Kaepernick in check and leave it up to the offense to win the game.
The 49ers have one of the best defenses in the league and they will give Aaron Rodgers everything he can handle. The fact that the Packers cannot run the ball will make it easier for the 49ers to focus on the passing game. Their pass rush has to get to Rodgers and disrupt his timing. I think Kaepernick will have to step up his play if the 49ers are going to win this one.
This Packers offense vs the 49ers defense is the main attraction but this game comes down to Kaepernick's ability to move the offense and put up points. I give the edge to the 49ers, but not by much.
Seattle vs Atlanta - This is a match-up between the team everyone wants to love and the team everyone wants to discount. Seattle came storming back after falling behind to Washington on the road. The question we will never be able to answer is, would the Redskins have won if RG3 did not get injured. If RG3 was healthy, I think the Redskins win that game. But we have to move on. I really like Seattle's defense and think it's playing at a Championship level. I like where Wilson is right now at QB and Lynch is an obvious stud at RB. The Seattle offense and Falcons defense will probably cancel each other out.
The Falcons are constantly discounted by fans and media and I'll admit I'm one of them. We've all seen this before, the Falcons win during the regular season and get destroyed at home in the postseason. This year they had the best record in the NFC but they basically had to answer questions about how they'll do in the postseason all year. Well, this weekend they can answer that question. The offense is solid with Ryan at QB, Rodgers and Turner in the backfield and Jones, White and Tony to catch the ball. Their defense can make plays and will be able to complete with the Seattle offense.
This game comes down to the big match-up of the Seattle defense and the Atlanta offense. The Seattle defense is going to be too much for Ryan and really manhandle this team. Sorry Falcons.
Texans vs Patriots - At mid-season this was supposed to be the AFC Championship match-up between the top two seeds. The Patriots did their part, the Texans fell apart. The Texans beat Cincinnati last week but did not look impressive. The Texans are really trending in the wrong direction the last half of the season and I don't see anything changing this week. Schaub has not been impressive recently and Foster has been solid when he can stay healthy. The defense is still playing well and has to carry this team right now.
The Patriots are right where they are every year. Coming off a bye playing a home game in the playoffs. Tom Brady and the offense are clicking and they have a running game, which is not something they always have in New England. The defense is playing better now and that will be the key if they want to win another Super Bowl.
The Texans offense vs the Patriots defense is a push. This game comes down to the Texans defense being able to slow down Tom Brady and I do not see that happening, edge to Brady.