NFL Playoff Picks: Projecting Scores for Every Divisional Round Game
With three of the four NFL Divisional round playoff games being regular season rematches (Broncos-Patriots, Texans-Ravens, Giants-Packers) it will be one awesome weekend of football. In addition, when the Saints meet the 49ers we're seeing two old NFC West rivals battle at legendary Candlestick Park.
And with fans making predictions and picks all over the country, here are the projected scores for each game.
New Orleans at San Francisco
Two old NFC West rivals, the Saints bring a high-powered offense into the Bay Area against a 49ers defense that ranks No. 1 against the rush and allowed only 57.5 percent of passes to be completed against them.
The question here is can San Francisco's defense hold up for 60 minutes while their offense methodically moves the ball down field? Well, New Orleans does rank No. 30 against the pass and allow almost five yards per carry, so it is possible.
That being said however, the 49ers have yet to face an offense like the Saints and New Orleans has proven they can thrash any dominant defense (40-33 over Houston in Week 3). 'Niners keep it close but in the end the Saints are just too fast.
Saints 28, 49ers 23
Denver at New England
It's not so much the question of if Denver can score, but can they keep up with Tom Brady and Co.? The Broncos will move the ball effectively against the Pats defense as they did in their regular season meeting. Tebow has improved as a passer, so New England's No. 31 ranked pass defense is in trouble.
Defensively, the Broncos simply need to apply pressure on Brady every single series. His targets of Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, and Deion Branch will shred the Broncos vulnerable pass defense, so it can only be limited by a pass rush.
The problem however, is that Brady not only is great at pre-snap reads but then calling an audible to a quick pass. Denver got some pressure the first time around but it wasn't enough. Just like it won't be this time.
Patriots 35, Broncos 21
Houston at Baltimore
A colossal matchup between two of the NFL's best defenses, the Texans and Ravens game will surely be a defensive slug-fest. Both are excellent against the rush and pass and have arguably the best pass rushes in the game.
On the flip side, both have solid dual-threat running backs in Ray Rice (Baltimore) and Arian Foster (Houston). The minor difference in the offenses is Ben Tate for Houston who's a great No. 2 back and receiver Andre Johnson.
The Texans have an edge in this game because of a reliable two-back system and a well-established deep threat receiver. In addition, they literally have nothing to lose whereas Baltimore is feeling the pressure to win based on recent postseason failures.
Texans 13, Ravens 10
New York at Green Bay
Two explosive offenses that can run the ball effectively at will (when healthy) and an array of receivers for each quarterback to target every snap.
Both defenses have their hands full and since both are weak at defending the rush and pass, expect a rather balanced approach from each offense. Both will come out running the ball though, because New York can't risk the Packers opportunistic defense to cause turnovers.
As for the Packers, they must limit New York's pass rush by wearing them down on the ground to beat them in the second half. In turn, that's where we see the duel of Aaron Rodgers versus Eli Manning.
Based on Manning's capability of being turnover prone, whereas Rodgers is not and can scramble much better, Titletown avenges their 2007 NFC title loss from the days of Brett Favre.
Packers 31, Giants 24
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