Three is the magic number.
The Lombardi Trophy is in reach. Putting together a three-game winning streak is nothing for the teams that are remaining in the playoffs.
Two out of the four divisional-round matchups have been set. Here are the times, dates and predictions for each battle.
This will without a doubt be the game of the week. A matchup of polar opposite strengths, New Orleans and their high-flying offense will test the 49ers stingy defense.
The two teams didn’t face off in the regular season. In fact, Drew Brees and the Saints offense managed to dodge all of the NFL’s top defenses in the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans, so who knows what to expect?
My heart is trying to remind me that defense wins championships and that Frank Gore and the 49ers strong running game will be able to control the clock. My brain, though, is asking, how can you bet against Brees right now? When it’s all said and done, it’s difficult to choose an Alex Smith-led team over Brees’ crew.
New Orleans 28-27
Sunday, Jan. 15 at 1:00 p.m. EST: Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens
On Monday night, LSU and Alabama will face off in the BCS National Championship game. The NCAA title may just be a preview of this Texans-Ravens game. Each defense will dominate the opposing offense.
Whichever defensive unit can force the most turnovers, special teams can control the field position, and offense can create the most big plays will come out on top.
Baltimore has the better defense and the better quarterback. Houston may have run all over the Cincinnati Bengals, but against a defensive-front featuring Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata, Arian Foster isn’t rushing for 150-plus yards. T.J. Yates will ultimately be the weak link that holds the Texans back.
David Daniels is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.