NFL Playoff Picks: Predictions for Saturday's Divisional Round Games
The 49ers could shock the world with a win over the favored Saints. The Broncos could continue their storybook season with a berth to the AFC Championship Game. The Texans could run their way to a win in Baltimore. And, finally, the Giants could regain their mojo from 2007 and beat the Packers.
This article will focus on the games slated for Saturday, those being the 49ers versus the Saints and the Broncos versus the Patriots.
Predictions lie ahead.
Saints vs. 49ers
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The Saints are favored in this matchup, and for good reason. They boast the hottest offense in the NFL and an underrated rushing attack. Their defense is not as good, but they should be able to hold off offenses enough for Brees and Co. to take care of the rest.
The 49ers, on the other hand, are a defensive-minded team. They have one of the best rushing defenses in NFL history and their offense is led by a true beast, Frank Gore. I love the 49ers, and I feel like they should be able to win this game, especially playing at home and coming off a remarkable regular season with a first-round bye.
The only thing, though, is the 49ers defense is not one of the best pass defenses in NFL history. While I'm not saying that diminishes their defense in any way, it does allow the Saints to focus their entire game plan on the passing game. The Saints aren't going to run the ball on Saturday, and if they do it will be unsuccessful.
Drew Brees, however, is playing so well that I think Frank Gore will have to be in beast mode to win the game for the 49ers. In my opinion, I think Gore is up for the challenge.
And so is Alex Smith.
Broncos vs. Patriots
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The Broncos are coming off a remarkable 29-23 overtime win against the Steelers. Tim Tebow looked exceptional and the Broncos defense played very well, especially early in the game. They will look to continue their offensive success against a porous Patriot defense.
Tom Brady and the Patriots had a first-round bye after going 13-3 in the regular season. Those 13 wins include a beat down of the Broncos in Denver. All the Pats need to do in preparation of this game is look at the film of their last meeting and do everything the same. Their offense clicked on all cylinders and their defense created plenty of turnovers and stopped Tim Tebow from throwing the ball downfield.
However, I think Tim Tebow will have gained a lot of confidence from last week's win over the Steelers. Tebow will not hesitate to take shots downfield against the Pats, and he will need to hit those shots to have any chance in this game. I think the Broncos will play like they did in the first quarter of their last meeting with the Pats, but instead of self destructing in the second quarter, they will continue their success.
If Denver doesn't turn the ball over they will be fine in this game. They can run the ball on this Patriots team and Tebow will seize his opportunities. While I definitely think Brady can outscore Tebow by a lot, I don't see the point of betting against the Broncos.
They will get after Brady (or try to), run the ball well and take their shots downfield. If they make plays and don't turn it over, there's no reason to stop believing.