Tim’s NFL Picks – Divisional Playoffs

Home Editorial & Opinion Tim’s NFL Picks – Divisional Playoffs

Tim Ajmani

The Corsair

I gotta tell you: The first three NFL games of Wildcard Weekend were boring. Yep. Absolutely boring. NFL playoff games that are boring. Who would have thought it? Lets recap those three beat-downs. In the first game, the Cincinnati Bengals decided that they really wanted to play like Bungles, and got sent home by the Houston Texans, 31-10. On Saturday night, the Lions were tamed by the Drew Brees’ express 45-28. In the first matchup on Sunday, the Falcons forgot how to fly against the ferocious Giants defense and didn’t score a single offensive point in the 24-2 embarrassment.

And then… There was the second game on Sunday between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Denver Broncos. The Broncos came into the game having lost three in a row, and only securing a playoff spot after the Raiders had lost in the last week of the regular season. The Steelers, while banged up, were highly favored to win. And what happened? Chaos happened.

Tim “he-can’t-throw” Tebow lit up the Steelers defense with 316 yards passing in his first career playoff start. The Steelers offense struggled to score against the Broncos defense. The game went into overtime. In a matter of eleven seconds, Tim Tebow threw the entire football-watching world into frenzy with an 80 yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas.

Now THAT… That was the NFL playoffs at its finest. What a great end to Wildcard weekend. Now it’s time for the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs. The theme of this round is rematches. Three of the four games this weekend are rematches of regular season contests, including the Broncos at Patriots, Texans at Ravens, and Giants at Packers. The other game, Saints at 49ers, features an intriguing matchup between a high-powered offense and a suffocating defense.

Eight teams enter this weekend. Only four teams will advance. They will be one more win from a Super Bowl appearance. Who will it be? My picks…

New Orleans Saints @ San Francisco 49ers – Saturday 3:30 CT

I mentioned above that this is a classic matchup of high-powered offense against suffocating defense. The Saints like to run up and down the field and score a bunch of points. The 49ers like to pound the football and play defense. The old saying that says “defense wins championships” is going to be put to the test in this game. The 49ers have been revived under new head coach Jim Harbaugh, but this team has very little experience in playoff games. San Francisco will hang tough, but they haven’t seen an offense quite like that of the Saints…

The pick: Saints 31, 49ers 23

Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots – Saturday 7:00 CT

These two met earlier in the regular season with the Patriots winning 41-23. However, the game was a lot closer than the score indicated. Denver shot themselves in the foot with three second quarter turnovers that gave New England a 27-16 advantage at halftime. Denver is coming off of an emotional victory against the Steelers, and playing on a short week. The Patriots have had two weeks of rest and should be fresher than the Broncos with several injured players returning. Everything about this sets up to be a Patriots blowout. The Broncos have no shot in this game… Right?

The pick: Broncos 34, Patriots 31

Houston Texans @ Baltimore Ravens – Sunday 12:00 CT

Another regular season rematch. The Ravens beat the Texans earlier in Baltimore 29-14. Houston has persevered through so many injuries throughout the season, particularly at quarterback. Baltimore had a successful regular season, winning the AFC North for the first time since 2006. These two teams are mirror images of each other. Both want to run the football, chew clock, and play defense. The difference in this game will be the quarterbacks. Joe Flacco has much more playoff experience than T.J. Yates. The Ravens will advance to the AFC Championship…

The pick: Ravens 23, Texans 13

New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers – Sunday 3:30 CT

This will probably be the best game of the weekend. The Giants are on a roll coming into this game. The Packers have had two weeks of rest, and are ready to defend their Super Bowl title. When these two teams met in the regular season, the Giants came away from the game feeling pretty good about themselves. Many people have brought up comparisons to the 2007 team that won the Super Bowl, and this team is starting to look like that. However, I feel because of that, Green Bay is feeling a little overlooked and under-the-radar. I think this game will be an offensive shootout, like their first matchup, but I don’t think the outcome will change…

The pick: Packers 31, Giants 27

On the season:

Regular season picks: 63-33

Upset picks: 3-3

Playoffs: 2-2