By Danny Cox
Round two of the NFL playoffs is all ready to go, and these are not some easy games to try and makes picks for. All but one of the games happen to be rematches from the regular season, but that doesn’t mean anything. We are now in the playoffs where anything can happen, and whatever went down before means nothing.
Still, you’ve got to think that the earlier loss for some of these teams is going to be in the back of the minds of players. Will they use that earlier loss as motivation to come back and avenge themselves? Will they remember that earlier loss and fear that it will happen again?
Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos
Earlier this season, the Broncos went into Baltimore and doubled-up the Ravens 34-17. Now, they have them coming into Mile High for a rematch with Peyton Manning and the Broncos riding an 11-game win streak. That’s not just any win streak though; it’s one that is overly impressive.
During the 11-game streak, the Broncos have scored 30 or more points nine times. While doing that, Denver’s defense has allowed no more than 24 points to any team. Manning has shaken off any and all rust, and is ready to move another team into the promised land.
Ray Lewis and the Ravens looked impressive in defeating the Colts last week, but Manning is in a different uniform this year and looking better than he has in a long time. Lewis will be playing in his final game ever this weekend, and it won’t end like he hopes.
Score Prediction: 31-20
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
In the opening game of the season, the Packers lost to the 49ers at home 30-22. This is a much better Green Bay team though, as they’ve greatly improved over the course of the season and have a lot going for them. Having players like Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb back from injuries will help greatly, but they’re going to need more than that.
San Francisco is looking good. They are looking very good. Colin Kapernick has impressed greatly, and should be able to secure a win this week. If the 49ers get past Green Bay, they’ll have trouble in the next round against the Atlanta Falcons (upcoming prediction), but they should be able to sack the Pack.
Score Prediction: 28-24
Seattle is running hot on all cylinders and they’ve got one of the best young quarterbacks in the league with Russell Wilson. He can do things that some five or six-year veterans can’t even do. They’ve also developed an offense that is frighteningly efficient whenever they get onto the field. The only problem is that the Falcons are just scary good.
Matt Ryan has done an excellent job of leading the Falcons this season, and they have been a tough win for any opposing team this year. The only thing that should worry Falcons’ fans is that the team has the 23rd-ranked passing defense and the 21st-ranked rushing defense. If Seattle can jump out to an early lead, then this one could get really interesting.
We’re thinking Atlanta takes control early and fends off a fierce comeback from Russell and the Seahawks.
Score Prediction: 38-31
Houston Texans at New England Patriots
Just five weeks ago, the Houston Texans got completely destroyed at home by the New England Patriots by a score of 42-14. When the Texans win, they are incredibly impressive. When they lose, they just get totally embarrassed. The other losses on the season were 42-24 to Green Bay, 23-6 to Minnesota, and 28-16 to Indy. Those last two coming back-to-back to end the season.
New England has stayed consistent, and had a week to rest while the Texans barely got by Cincinnati. The Patriots have quietly had a tremendous season with an incredible offense that has scored in the forties three times and in the fifties twice. Their rushing and passing offense are both ranked in the NFL’s top seven. Their rushing defense is ranked ninth. The only real problem is that their passing defense is an abysmal 29th in the league.
Unfortunately for them, Andre Johnson is coming to town. Upset city.
Score Prediction: 31-28
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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.