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-T.J Yates and Joe Flacco:
The Houston Texans-Baltimore Ravens game is going to be a defensive slugfest of epic proportions. Make no mistake, the winner of this one is going to do it on the ground, not through the air. The quarterback who makes fewer mistakes is going to come out on top in Baltimore. No pass plays from this game are making the SportsCenter top 10.
Alex Smith has never been asked to carry the team during the 2011 NFL season. He's always had help from either the running game, the defense, or both. There is no reason to believe that he will be asked to do it now, especially when the 49ers will not be able to afford any mistakes against the white-hot Saints. His performance may be good or bad, but it won't be noteworthy.
Before you go crazy, hear this one out. Rodgers has not taken a snap since Week 16. In Week 15, he went 17 for 35 for 235 yards and one touchdown during the Packers only loss of 2011. In that loss, the Pack was manhandled by a ferocious and physical Chiefs pass rush, which is what they will face against the Giants at home on Sunday.
In recent years, the bye week has not been kind to offensively-oriented teams during the playoffs ( like the 2009-2010 Patriots and 2010 Falcons).
Rodgers will be going up against a New York Giants defense that literally shut out the Atlanta Falcons offense. Say what you will about the Falcons, they were a very talented and explosive unit (8th in passing, 17th in rushing). If the Giants shut them out, why expect a great game from Rodgers? He will be pressured far more than he was in his first meeting with New York this year, which could make the difference in the game.