NFL Playoff Picks: Explosive Offenses That Will Carry Teams to Victory

Jonathan IrwinContributor IIJanuary 7, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 30: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots shouts instructions against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium in the second quarter on December 30, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

After a snoozer of a Wild Card Weekend to kick off the NFL playoffs, the upcoming Divisional Round should be much more exciting.

With some of the NFL's most explosive offenses taking on some of the most physical defenses, these games could come as down to the wire as it gets.

All in all, we should be in for some exciting football.


Baltimore vs. Denver

When last these teams met, Baltimore was carved up in a 17-34 loss at home.

Now the Ravens head to Denver to take on Peyton Manning, who thrives in the postseason. Not to mention the Broncos are coming off a refreshing bye week.

While Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed are trying their best to play at a high level, that Ravens D is still banged up. Suggs was fairly ineffective against the Colts in the Wild Card Game, providing just two assisted tackles.

Manning is doing great things in Denver this season, and the Broncos come into the playoffs hot off an 11-game win streak to close out the regular season.

And they don't just win with offense. The Broncos have one of the best pass rushes in the NFL and are allowing on average just 290.7 yards a game (second in the NFL).

While Baltimore always has a chance to bring the heat, there's no chance they cool off Manning.

Ravens 14, Broncos 28


Green Bay vs. San Francisco

Another regular season rematch, the last time these teams played was Week 1 when the Niners topped Green Bay 30-22 at Lambeau Field.

But the Packers have gotten progressively better since then, surging into the playoffs after winning nine of their last 11 games.

The Pack showed off their new swagger in the Wild Card Game against Minnesota, topping the Vikings 24-10. Aaron Rodgers distributed the ball to 10 different receivers, and the defense held Adrian Peterson to just 99 yards rushing.

But Green Bay had the ability to swarm Peterson with Vikings QB Christian Ponder not playing. They won't have that flexibility against San Francisco with a healthy Colin Kaepernick under center.

With its shutdown defense, home-field advantage and balanced offense, the Niners will be too tough a challenge.

Packers 24, 49ers 27


Seattle vs. Atlanta

The Seahawks are arguably the NFL's hottest team. They streaked into the playoffs winning their last five games by a total margin of 193-60.

And they looked like a true playoff team in their Wild Card contest against Washington. The Hawks found themselves in an early hole, but used a late surge to overcome it and win the game 24-14.

This will certainly be a battle of philosophies, with Atlanta's high flying offense squaring off against Seattle's physical defense.

But despite how good their defense is, Seattle doesn't have enough man power to stop the Falcons.

Matt Ryan has one of the league's best receiving corps in Roddy White and Julio Jones. If they falter, he can lean on anyone from Tony Gonzalez to Jacquizz Rodgers.

And with speculation that pass-rusher Chris Clemons could very well be out for the remainder of the playoffs, Seattle just doesn't have enough going for it.

Seahawks 21, Falcons 28


Houston vs. New England

The final of three regular season rematches in the Divisional Round, this game is sure to be a good one.

Hot off a stifling defensive effort against Cincinnati, the Houston Texans head to Foxboro for another chance to try and top the New England Patriots.

But even with their new defensive ferocity, there are flaws to be found.

The Texans' offense had trouble getting the ball into the endzone against the Bengals, scoring just one touchdown all night. Houston leaned on Arian Foster to move the ball, but the Pats defend the run better than Cinci.

Meanwhile, it's Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in the playoffs at home coming off a bye week.

While Houston should be expected to keep this game much closer than their last meeting—and have a great chance at slowing down New England—the deck is too well stacked in the Pat's favor.

Texans 20, Patriots 24