NFL Playoff Picks: Predictions for Sunday's Divisional Round Games

Adam LufranoCorrespondent IIIJanuary 15, 2012

NFL Playoff Picks: Predictions for Sunday's Divisional Round Games

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    Saturday featured a very exciting thriller, but it also featured the Patriots hosting the LSU Tigers. Obviously, that didn't turn out so well for LSU. 

    The other game, though, was fantastic. San Francisco's Alex Smith proved all his doubters wrong when he led not one, but two late-game drives to give his team the win over the favored Saints. The 49ers forced five turnovers of New Orleans, and Drew Brees had to pass the ball a ridiculous 63 times.

    Nonetheless, it'll be the 49ers in the NFC championship and the Patriots in the AFC championship. To find out who they will be matched up against, continue to read on.

Texans vs. Ravens

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    Joe Flacco was angry earlier in the week at the fact that people didn't look at him as one of the better QBs left in the playoffs. 

    Well, let's count them.

    Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning. Then, more debatable, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan and Tim Tebow (just kidding). 

    There are four quarterbacks there that are ahead of Flacco, and two more that a debate could be made on. How does Flacco become entrenched with these other QBs?

    Well, he better get these Ravens to the Super Bowl.

    He's going to have a tough task Sunday, as the Texans are one of the better defenses in the NFL. While the Texans don't have a great offense, they do have a great rushing attack that can keep Flacco off the field. 

    The way I see this game going is Arian Foster will have a productive day, Flacco will play well but make some mistakes and Ray Rice won't run wild but will make an impact.

    I like Flacco over T.J. Yates, and when you're a team going up against the Ravens defense on the road, I'll tend to like you even less.

    Ravens, 21-16.

Giants vs. Packers

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    This is a game that should be a lot like the 49ers-Saints game Saturday. It should be close, it should be high-scoring and it could feature turnovers as the deciding factor in the game.

    Aaron Rodgers is coming off nearly three weeks of rest and should be very fresh. Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews did not play in Week 17, and they should be healthy and ready to go. 

    Green Bay is getting back numerous players from injury this week, including James Starks, Bryan Bulaga, Chad Clifton, Randall Cobb and Greg Jennings. Also, two players who did not play against the Giants in Week 13, Desmond Bishop and A.J. Hawk, will be ready in this game.

    The Giants have a healthy defensive line that will look to man handle Green Bay's offensive line. Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora are going to provide tough matchups for a line that is just getting back together.

    Eli Manning will look to continue proving he's an elite quarterback, as he played well against this team in Week 13 but needs to play even better when it matters most. Manning will have to play one of his best games to win, unless Rodgers plays poorly or commits turnovers.

    I see this game being a shootout for the first two-and-a-half quarters, but one team will pull away from the other—kind of like the Saints-Lions game. I still like the Packers and Rodgers, so the Packers will be that team.

    Packers, 35-24.