Here are my picks for the week:
Denver over Baltimore
While Ray Lewis’s last games have stolen the spotlight the past few weeks, what’s been lost in the midst of everything is the fact that Baltimore’s defense is still a shell of the ones that ruled Baltimore during Lewis’s best years.
Peyton Manning and the Broncos already dominated Baltimore at home by 17 earlier this season and there isn’t much to suggest a different result this time around. If Baltimore can’t find a way to slow Peyton early, they’ll be in serious trouble.
Green Bay over San Francisco
Does any one else see the winner of this game representing the NFC in New Orleans? I do. While San Francisco seems to be a team without a weakness, I have to give the edge to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. They’ve got plenty of experience when it comes to deep runs in the playoffs and seem to be peaking at the right time this season.
Atlanta over Seattle
Everyone has been high on Seattle the last half of the season, and for good reason. They’ve played some of the best football we’ve seen all season on offense, defense, and special teams. While my gut tells me to go with the hot hand, I can’t imagine Matt Ryan and the Falcons going one-and-done out of the playoffs a third time. The game won’t be easy for them, but the fans in the Georgia Dome should help put Atlanta over the top today.
New England over Houston
I wish I had an ounce of confidence in Houston this week. J.J. Watt will no doubt do his best prevent the Patriots from scoring, his secondary will likely have other plans. This game will be handily won by New England, especially if Houston’s offense from last week (and the Pats game from earlier this season) shows up.