Predictions and Scores For All Four NFL Divisional Playoff Games
Last week I bet all four games correctly and picked the outright winners in three of the four games played during Wild Card weekend. Now weekend No. 2 of the NFL Playoffs has almost arrived and there are some incredible matchups that are going to take place beginning on Saturday afternoon.
Defense could be the story of the weekend and as we get further along in the playoffs, steady quarterback play will be huge. So, who is it going to be? Which teams will be moving on to the NFC and AFC Championship?
Come join me for a quick preview as well as my complete predictions for all four games. Feel free to chime in with your own opinions! Enjoy the weekend.
Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans
Defense...defense...and more defense. This game features two extremely physical and talented defenses as well as two teams who love to run the ball.
In fact, if you switch the names and jerseys around you may not even be able to see the difference between the Titans and Ravens. Their styles are remarkably similar and in my opinion I think the quarterback who makes the fewest mistakes, will lead their team to victory.
I tend to lean towards Kerry Collins because of his experience. Flacco has been incredible all season for a rookie but the Titans are going to shut the run down and make him beat them through the air. Flacco didn't make any mistakes in Miami last week but his numbers weren't pretty. He will have to do much more this week if the Ravens want to win.
The Titans will also need to throw the ball to win but I believe they will be able to run the ball better than Baltimore.
Prediction: 16-9 Tennessee wins it.
Bet—Take the Titans -3
Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers
Offense...offense...and more offense! I think this will be the only high-scoring game of the weekend.
Carolina has an explosive and powerful running game but I am actually looking at Steve Smith to have a big game. While most people are expecting Carolina to run away with this game, I think the Cardinals will keep it close. If Anquan Boldin plays, I think Arizona keeps it close throughout but if he doesn't suit up I think Carolina will put up too many points for Arizona to match.
If Arizona can run the ball effectively that could be the key for their chance for an upset. If Carolina can run the ball well, Arizona's chances are very slim.
Warner is likely to have a big game but he will most likely turn the ball over two times. Weather shouldn't be a huge issue for this game but if it is...that favors Carolina.
Prediction: 35-27 Carolina moves on
Bet—If Boldin plays for Arizona take the Cardinals +9.5, if he is out, take Carolina -9.5
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
NFC East rivals will play again on Sunday and many people and experts seem to be split on who the winner is going to be.
Both defenses are going to show up and both coaches are going to have their teams prepared. Special teams could be a huge factor and if Desean Jackson has some empty space to work with on punt returns, the Giants could find themselves on their heels.
Eli Manning has had a very successful season again but the absence of Plaxico Burress began to show up late in the season. The Eagles secondary is very good and the Giants wide receivers could have trouble getting open. I think Brandon Jacobs may have some success but if Manning is unable to throw the ball downfield, it may not matter.
As far as the Eagles passing game goes, I think using Desean Jackson on bubble screens and Westbrook on short outside patterns could be a great way to deal with the Giants' blitz package(s).
Prediction: 23-20 Eagles knock out the defending champs
Bet—Take the Eagles +4
San Diego Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers
The last time these two teams played the final score was 11-10 Steelers. However, San Diego led nearly the entire game and it took some magnificient plays from the Pittsburgh defense to knock off the gritty Chargers team.
Darren Sproles has been getting some much deserved attention as of late but I think he is going to have a lot of trouble finding space to run in this game. The Steelers defense is nasty and will be ready to shut down the Chargers' run. Now, the biggest concern for the Steelers has got to be the health of Ben Roethlisberger who was knocked out of the game two weeks ago with a concussion.
Big Ben hasn't played a great season this year and I think he is going to really struggle against a hot Chargers' defense. The big difference in this game could very well be field position.
San Diego has the best punter in the game and he is a big weapon for the San Diego defense. Phillip Rivers is going to be the key and I think he steps up in a big way.
Prediction: 20-17 San Diego continues its remarkable run with a late minute game-winning drive.
Bet—Take San Diego +6