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NFL Divisional Playoffs Weekend

After going 4-0 with my picks and nailing every player I singled out last week, I hope to repeat that good luck this week. Here's a synopsis of my expectations for this week's games:

Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos 4:30 pm ET Saturday, January 12, 2013
The Denver Broncos come into this game after reeling off 11 consecutive win as the number one overall seed in the AFC and one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl. It is worth noting that during the 11 game win streak they only played two teams with a winning record- the Bengals which I believe over achieved this season and the Ravens Week 15. They beat the Ravens 34-17 in what was one if not the best game of the season for the Broncos. For starters, the Broncos have turned the ball over more than any team currently in the playoffs. They had 0 that game and just when the Ravens were about to tie the ball game, the Broncos intercepted Joe Flacco and ran it back 98-yards for a touchdown. I do not expect either of those two things to happen in this game. This game I see the Broncos turning the ball over AT LEAST twice, especially due to the cold, snowy, and slick conditions. Peyton Manning historically has not performed well in cold weather games; 0-3 in playoff games where the temperature was 40 degrees or less throwing 1 touchdown and 7 interceptions in those games. However, those stats are somewhat misleading because 2 of the 3 playoff losses were at the Patriots, but it's worth noting since the temperature is expected to be under 30 degrees Saturday. I do believe the weather benefits the Ravens running backs and can see Jacoby Jones making a big impact in the return game. The weather, turnovers, running backs, and return game all favor the Baltimore Ravens in this game; therefore, I'm going out on a very long limb and picking the Ravens to win this game.

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers 8:00 pm ET Saturday, January 12, 2013
This game is a rematch from Week 1 where the 49ers completely dominated the Packers in Green Bay until they switched to a prevent defense in the 4th quarter ans had a 23-7 lead at the end of 3 quarters. I do not see the 49ers completely dominating the Packers again like that but I give the Packers very little chance to win this game. The Packers have been susceptible to mobile quarterbacks and if you watch the games there has been way more opportunity than has even been taken for running QB's. I expect Colin Kaepernick to have a huge day on the ground in this game and to be an effective passer as well. I look for the 49ers to win the time of possession battle with Kaepernick and Frank Gore having big rushing numbers. The best defense when playing the Green Bay Packers is offense. Aaron Rodgers and company can't beat you from the bench. It also doesn't help the Packers chances that they are more banged up than they were Week 1 and that the flu is going around in their locker room. I pick the 49ers to win this game.

Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons 1:00 pm ET Sunday, January 13, 2013
The Seattle Seahawks have been the Cinderella story of the season in my opinion and been one if not the hottest teams in the past few weeks. However, I expect the clock to hit midnight by the end of this game. Last week the Seahawks looked terrible in comparison to how they've been looking when they beat the Redskins. Quite honestly, neither team looked like they wanted to win, and the Seahawks are not the same team on the road as they are at home. The Seahawks are 0-3 on the road indoors getting outscored 67 to 53 by the Lions (4-12), Cardinals (5-11) and Rams (7-8-1). Uh yeah, that's terrible for a team of their caliber. Now they get to go on the road for their 2nd cross-country game in two weeks and play the best home indoor team in the NFL in 2012. The Falcons were 7-1 at home but their lone loss was Week 17 against a very motivated division opponent and had absolutely nothing to play for. Therefore, I throw that game out which makes them 7-0 at home outscoring their opponents by 9.3 points per game. Yes, the Seahawks have Marshawn Lynch and the Falcons have not been good against the run and they have two big physical CB's. But, Marshawn Lynch is banged up (foot) and the turf may really affect that injury plus Roddy White and Julio Jones are big physical WR's. Both of Seattle's CB's are susceptible to come back routes and double moves, two things Roddy White and Julio Jones excel in running. Another thing that can't be ignored is the loss of Seattle's Sack Leader Chris Clemons who tore his ACL in last week's game and won't be easy to replace. I pick the Falcons to win this game giving Matt Ryan his first playoff victory.

Houston Texans at New England Patriots 4:30 pm ET Sunday, January 13, 2013
I won't waste your time with explanations in this game. I'll put it this way- I expect the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl and had the Texans ranked about an average of 6th in my weekly power rankings throughout the entire season. I will say J.J. Watt or Von Miller should win Defensive Player of the Year. I pick the Patriots to win and Tom Brady to have big game.

Austin D. Jordan
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