However, after my predicted AFC champ pick lost in the first round to the Denver Broncos, I’m not sure anyone else can take out the Patriots.
Coming into the playoffs, I thought that there were two teams that could take out the Patriots: The Steelers and the Ravens. I was fairly certain about the Steelers, but a little gun shy about declaring a win for the Ravens over the Patriots. Heck, I’m not even sure the Ravens can win against the Texans.
If Arian Foster has his way again and the young T.J. Yates can take care of the ball, we could very well see the Texans in the AFC Championship. However, they do not possess the skills required to beat the Patriots as long as Matt Schaub is out.
The Ravens are a much different story. We all know the defense is aging and losing their luster a little bit, but they still have enough talent to slow down the Patriots offense. On the other side of the ball, Ray Rice and a decent passing attack have enough to punish the Patriots possibly league-worst defense.
We also know about how the Ravens fail to show up against poor teams, which doesn’t bode well for the playoffs when they have to bring it every week or go home. Some may question the fire and passion of the Ravens, but they’ve still fared well against teams with winning records and at home, where they went undefeated this year.
They get the Texans at home, but would play the Patriots on the road, where they managed a paltry 4-4 record this year. Still not looking good.
In the NFC, things went nearly according to plan with the Saints dismantling the Lions by the end of the game and the Giants whipping Atlanta. Sure, I picked the Falcons, but it was easy to see it going either way with the Falcons inability to play well in high pressure games.
In fact, the Giants have just as great of a shot to knock off the Packers as the Saints do.
The Packers have the toughest road back to glory of any of the remaining playoff teams. Sure, the Giants went 9-7, but they are a much stouter team than that record shows. They also have the ability to keep up with the Packers in what likely will be yet another high scoring game. In fact, they also will be able to stop the Packers occasionally as well, not something any other teams in the NFC can proclaim with confidence.
It’s looking like it’s going to be another exciting, hard hitting week of playoff football. I’ll be on my recliner grinning from ear to ear.
Oh, and hats off to Tim Tebow on a great win. He came ready to play and the Broncos let him for a change.