Round 2 of the playoffs…..you’re either playing or you’re home watching….no more bye weeks, no more waiting….just two more wins and you’re in the Sports Entertainment Bowl in hopefully a miserably snowy Giants Stadium (yes I’m a bad person, I want snow and all sorts of miserable weather for those wonderfully entitled people who paid $3,000 a seats for this and won’t know a huddle from a hammerlock and deserve it….)….I’m really trying my best to keep my mind of the events of Monday and Mike (those who know…know, and no offense I’ve talked about it and told enough people about those sad and life-changing events Monday Morning so I’m gonna leave it at that and save the rest of this weekend and saying good bye)…and just try to enjoy the last true weekend of football until next September!
Saturday January 11th:
Saints at Seattle:
How the Saints can win:
The same way they did last week (but it won’t be as easy)….maybe Pierre Thomas comes back too and adds to the running game….running on the Seahawks ain’t like running on the Eagles for damned sure….keep the crowd in check…that means keeping a lead, Rob Ryan whips up some awesome game plan (though aside of Wilson and Marshawn running the ball, the Seattle offense is kinda ordinary)….they do have the better QB and no one has a bag of tricks like Sean Peyton does either….while the holes on the Saints play into the strengths of Seattle, they do have a punchers chance here….
How the Seahawks can win:
The same way they did on that Monday Night….and that playoff game that birthed BEAST MODE….the Seattle secondary can shut down anyone…and when Jimmy Graham is quiet, the Saints go limp….Russell Wilson’s legs are a nightmare for any team….and even one or two plays from Percy Harvin can be game-breaking as well (just for the love of God keep him OFF punt and kick returns!!!)…and having the best home field advantage in football kinda helps a little too…..
Who will actually win?
We all know I’m partial to Seattle as is….and it doesn’t help that the match-up’s swing their way….New Orelans might have a little “mission accomplished” since they killed the road dragon last week….then again that can go the other way….if this was anywhere but Seattle I’d give the Saints more odds here….but the 12th man and that pass defense is much too much for the Saints….
Game Quality: **
Colts at Patriots:
How the Colts can win:
Andrew Luck…plain and simple….has any QB in history managed 11 4th quarter comebacks in their first two seasons?? I doubt it….the Colts may not have a great defense either but they can rush the QB and have a healthier defense then New England does and despite being such a young and learning team they have an unbelievable amount of poise and calmness to them in ANY situation…and player for player they might just have as much talent as the Patriots do (yes, even at QB…)
How the Patriots can win:
The Colts have weapons yes….but they are limited weapons….Donald Brown isn’t a game breaker, in fact the only one who really is would be Johnny Knox…errr… TY Hilton (sorry, a Mike habit….had to do it one more time for him), and Tom Brady’s been making average receivers into hall of famers for over a decade now…the Pats also have a HUGE X-Factor…Blount….bad weather…big man running back…smallish defense…. he can maul and run them down, add in Shane Vereen catching passes and being a complimentary back….not to mention Bill Belichick has taken a crap defense and twisted and turned it with force lightning into a team that’s gotten this far, and Brady is still Brady too and he can match any trick Luck pulls out of his ass….the Patriots may lack game breakers but they have plenty of parts that can chip in and win games…a lot of that will come down to Talib vs Hilton
Who will actually win?
This is tough, the Colts have some magic going and an almost disturbing knack for getting it done in the big spot no matter how big the lead is against them, and I know Darth Hoodie and the Pats are the master of this and that kinda game…but the Colts have come magic in them and I think it casts its spell one more time…pardon the pun but Luck is shining on the team with the horseshoe in the logo and its got at least one more game in it!
Game Quality: ***
Sunday January 12th:
49ers at Panthers:
How the 49ers can win:
If Steve Smith isn’t 100% the Carolina offense looks very ordinary…and if any team is used to a running QB, it’s certainly the 49er defense….they have the better running backs (and depth in the backfield)….this will be an ugly, brutal and nasty game (and God bless it)….much like last week, they beat Green Bay because they out TOUGHED them, and if they do it again this week they can certainly win this game….plus how will Carolina respond to this first game in the MAJOR spot light of the playoffs and the pressure that comes with it….we know how the 49ers do
How the Panthers can win:
13 for 39…..what’s that you ask?? That’s the rushing stats of EJ Manuel, Russell Wilson and Colin Kapernick against the Panthers….COMBINED….this ain’t Green Bay, this team is smart, disciplined and will contain the running QB and the running game….. Steve Smith may be THE toughest son of a bitch in pro football and even the threat of him being on the field means San Fran has to account for him and that leaves room for the TE’s and Ted Ginn…the 49er offense isn’t exactly all world either, and I still don’t trust Kapernick to win a game he can’t take off and run in either…..
Who will actually win?
This is the hardest game this week no doubt….these teams are VERY much alike, hopefully the 49ers thawed out and ditched all the frost bite from last week….its hard to think this game (like the Seattle one….and I suspect I’ll say this again in a few minutes) is going to go any different than the last one did….but Jesus that was a bloodbath and I welcome another one here…..first team to make a mistake might lose this one, and most teams don’t make it to three NFC title games in a row…that’s VERY hard for a reason, funny how I like the home teams in the NFC and the road ones in the AFC (like you don’t know I’m picking against Peyton Manning once I hit enter right?)….Carolina, in a close and what they call an “under” game…..hell the only thing this game is missing is Ric Flair on a pole for the right for his pre-game prep talks!
Game Quality: *****
Chargers at Broncos:
How San Diego can win:
They did it a month ago on Thursday Night Football…..run the ball….Ryan Matthews….Danny Woodehead…..Ronnie Brown…that’s a helluva three headed monster (and just another nail in the Miami coffin to see the ex-Dolphin back ran out of town making big plays and pushing the Chargers on in the playoffs…sucks doesn’t it?)…and underrated but good defense with no big names, but plenty of big plays….and maybe the biggest X-Factor…there’s ZERO pressure on the Chargers in this game…and all the pressure in the world is on the Broncos….we all know Peyton don’t like no pressure….
How the Broncos can win:
They have the weapons, they have the offensive balance, Demarius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker….add in Moreno and this offense can be unstoppable….at least in the regular season….it’s hard to look past Peyton’s one and done habits….but he has won 9 playoff games in his history too (ugh I suck at making a case for the Broncos don’t I?...It’s hard to…I don’t like the QB, the coach and the defense is missing its best players), adjustments to what happened last month is going to be the key here….
Who will actually win?
It’s obvious and I won’t stretch this out anymore then I need to….8 one and done’s ….a hot team on a roll that beat this team a month ago….I just can’t see the Broncos overcoming the pressure and the team playing good football and right into all the Bronco shortcomings…..but the drama will make it one HELL of a watch!
Game Quality: ****