NFL Playoff Predictions: 2011 Divisional Round
With one week of the playoffs in the books and four teams sitting at home heartbroken, it is time to send four more hopeful teams home with nothing more than a bad draft pick.
Last week, the Seattle Seahawks beat the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints, and the New York Jets beat the defending AFC Champion Indianapolis Colts.
This week features four games that are sure to keep fans' hearts racing until the end, well at least three of the games should. Who will win these games? Read on and I will tell you.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
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Baltimore and Pittsburgh always play one of the hardest hitting games of the year. Personally, it is my favorite matchup to watch out of any two teams, and this week won't be any different.
Expect Ray Lewis and James Harrison to beat up on other players while Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu make big-time defensive play after big-time defensive play.
Two of the best defenses in the league every year, so what separates the two teams?
The two players who will decide this game are Joe Flacco and Ben Roethlisberger.
Flacco threw a late touchdown to seal the victory in the two teams' first meeting, while he fumbled away the victory in the second meeting.
Roethlisberger has much more experience in big games and has showed his poise when it is all on the line, and that is why I take the Steelers to win this game.
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons
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The Falcons and Packers played in the regular season in a thrilling game that the Falcons just barely won. There is no reason this game will be any different.
The Packers won a big game last week against the Eagles that went down to the wire as Michael Vick ended his phenomenal season in a way Brett Favre can relate to.
These two teams are evenly matched, as they both have big-play ability on offense and pretty good defenses.
What sets these teams apart from each other are Clay Matthews and Michael Turner.
The Packers defense is much better because of Matthews' presence, but the Falcons have Turner, who can run the ball unlike anyone on the Packers.
This game will more than likely go down to whoever has the ball last, and the Falcons have one of the coolest quarterbacks in the league, "Matty Ice."
Green Bay 21
Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears
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Seahawks vs. Bears is a game that probably won't be worth watching, but that is what the "experts" thought last week. I would be a liar if I said I picked the Saints to win last week. Yeah, I saw this coming.
The Seahawks got away with one last week on account of injuries to the Saints defense and being underestimated. This week, not so much.
The Bears have one of the best defenses in football, led by Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs, and the best returner in history with Devin Hester.
The Seahawks have a mediocre defense at home and a terrible defense on the road. Their offense isn't that potent, either.
These teams don't really have any similar ground except for shaky quarterback play. Either quarterback could come out with three or four touchdowns or maybe come out with four interceptions; it is hard to tell.
If Jay Cutler can have a good game by his standards (one pick), then the Bears will win this one.
New York Jets at New England Patriots
As much as the Jets players and Rex Ryan have run their mouths even after being thumped 45-3 in the last meeting, this game will be exciting no matter what the score ends up being.
This game, as all others, is personal to Rex Ryan because they are going against someone who he sees as superior to himself or one of his players. Last week it was Manning, and this week it is Belichick.
I like Rex Ryan and how he tries to get into the opposing players' heads, but going after Belichick and Brady, who are arguably the most dominant coach-quarterback tandem ever, just isn't smart.
These teams are practically built to be enemies, as the Jets are a solid defense with a hard running game and the Patriots are a solid defense with a very efficient passing game.
The huge difference in these teams is the quarterback play.
Sanchez isn't as good as most people make him out to be, and he is terribly inconsistent, while Brady is the quarterback any team would like to have..
With this game more than likely turning to a powerful Patriots passing game, the Jets will fall behind, but it will still be great to watch all the way through the press conference just to see what Ryan and Sanchez have to say.
New England 38
New York Jets 20