Category Archives: Predictions/Previews

AFC Divisional Round Preview And Predictions

AFC Divisional Game One: Broncos @ Patriots

Saturday, 8:00 PM ET, CBS

The Broncos’ Side: The Denver Broncos again had a tight game last weekend against the Steelers. The Broncos have not gathered all this hype for a long, long time meanwhile the Patriots are very experienced come this time of year. Tim Tebow has been nothing short of miraculous this season, but to win this game they need a consistent attack with zero turnovers. Last meeting (Week 15) the Broncos had an early lead but collapsed as they fumbled the ball several times. This media-attacked QB threw for over 300 yards against the Steelers’ defense last week, and needs similar results tomorrow. The Broncos defense needs to keep pressuring the one-and-only Tom Brady if they want to win. If Brady has time, he will dissect the Broncos’ D and will completely destroy them via the vertical game. Also, once Brady gets hot he stays hot. If he’s on a roll, the Broncos have no chance in a shootout.

The Patriots’ Side: All the Patriots have to do to win is spread the Broncos defense out in nickel and dime packages, and throw the ball to different receivers. Just like in Week 15, New England has to utilize their Tight Ends. Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are nightmares for any defense to cover. Linebackers are too slow, but DB’s are too small. On defense, the Patriots are awful. They even play Wide Receivers on that side of the ball, which makes it easy for any offense to attack and pinpoint their weaknesses. They need to confuse Tebow with intricate formations, packages, and blitzes. Tebow doesn’t have great pocket awareness, so blitzing from all angles is their way to win on D. The Pats also need to find a way to stop Tebow and RB Willis McGahee’s read and speed option plays, because those are very effective. The Broncos Offensive Line has improved tremendously since the beginning of the season, and Offensive Guards are frequently used for lead-blocking.

The Bottom Line: The factor in this game is Bill Belichick. If Belichick’s game plan stops Tebow in the vertical game, than it is game over for the Broncos.

Prediction: Patriots, 25, Broncos, 24

AFC Divisional Game Two: Texans @ Ravens

Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, CBS

The Texans’ Side: Taking advantage of the Colts’ season collapse minus Peyton Manning, the Texans won double-digit games and advanced to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Last weekend, the Texans beat the Bengals at home and now are facing one of the best teams in the NFL. The Texans have to keep running the ball with RB Arian Foster to win, because rookie/third-string QB TJ Yates is at the helm because of numerous injuries to the Quarterback position. Yates has been decent so far, but the Texans can’t put all of the pressure on him. Foster can carry the load against the mighty Ravens. On the other side of the ball, the Texans have to slow down Ravens RB Ray Rice down, because he grounds and pounds all day every day. They need to put an extra man in the box to stop him.

The Ravens’ Side: On offense, their method of success is simply running with Ray Rice. His style of running is a mix between RB Maurice Jones-Drew and former RB Larry Johnson. Quarterback Joe Flacco has gotten the job done on offense, but needs to crank his game into high gear. Once Flacco gets on a roll, the Ravens will be a machine in the playoffs. On defense, the Ravens have continued to play at an extremely high level. LB Ray Lewis is a commander and FS Ed Reed is an all-out ballhawk. The two are tough for offenses to prepare against because they roam the field so well. Lewis’s leadership also sparks the Ravens’ team in general up every game, and the Ravens are going to need that on Sunday.

The Bottom Line: The Ravens’ defense is the factor in this game, and whenever that is the case, they will win.

Prediction: Ravens, 34, Texans, 17

Playoff Forecast

There are only a few hours before the playoffs start, and it’s time to unveil the playoff forecast.

Wild Card

AFC

(Cincinnati) @ Houston

(Pittsburgh) @ Denver

NFC

Detroit @ (New Orleans)

Atlanta @ (New York Giants)

Divisional Round

AFC

Pittsburgh @ (Baltimore)

Cincinnati @ (New England)

NFC

(New Orleans) @ San Francisco

(New York Giants) @ Green Bay

Championship Round

(Baltimore) @ New England

(New Orleans) @ New York Giants

Super Bowl

(New Orleans) vs. Baltimore

NFC Wild Card Round Preview And Predictions

NFC Wild Card Game One: Lions @ Saints

Saturday, 8:00 PM ET, NBC

The Lions’ Side: After multiple gloomy seasons for the Lions, these cats have came roaring back featuring a fantastic air attack led by Matthew Stafford. Stafford has tossed for over 5,000 this season. A large chunk of his success should be credited to WR Calvin Johnson, AKA Megatron, who has been an unstoppable down the field. On the defensive side of the ball, they have found themselves in a lot of shootouts. Last week against Green Bay, they allowed the Packers’ backup, Matt Flynn, to throw for 480 yards and six Touchdowns. Their offense has been very successful, but the team has lost several times because of the defense. The Lions’ defense has been solid at times, but hasn’t been consistent at all. To win, they need to put pressure on Drew Brees, because there is no way that they will stop him throwing the ball, so Detroit shouldn’t let him throw. They need pressure from the east and west so he doesn’t roll out, and pressure from the north so he can’t move up in the pocket. The Lions also need to get a lead early on to eliminate the Saints’ running game and at least make it obvious that New Orleans will pass.

The Saints’ Side: Drew Brees is just a monster throwing the ball, and with so many targets—Marques Colston, Darren Sproles, Jimmy Graham, Robert Meachem, Devery Henderson, Pierre Thomas to name a few (Mark Ingram is injured)—there is no way any defense can stop him. Brees shattered Drew Marino’s single season passing record this season, and the Saints’ running game has turned into a lethal weapon in the past weeks. Chris Ivory, Pierre Thomas, and Mark Ingram have balanced this explosive offense, but Ingram is out for the playoffs because of an injury. On defense, the Saints have an overall statistically subpar defensive unit, but their offense has basically been an excuse for their lack of success because Drew Brees normally gives the Saints a lead to work with.

The Bottom Line: While both offenses are extremely explosive, the Saints can beat any team in a shootout.

Prediction: Saints, 45, Lions, 35

NFC Wild Card Game Two: Falcons @ Giants

Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, FOX

The Falcons’ Side: The Falcons have displayed offensive firepower at times, but have been somewhat of a disappointment this season. Rookie WR Julio Jones is incredible when he is healthy, meanwhile QB Matt Ryan has threw for over 4,000 yards this season. Ryan has been in the playoffs multiple times but has not won once. He and the Falcons are a little experienced in the dance, and look to snatch a win and advance. RB Michael Turner is poised for a big game soon, and the Falcons would benefit from it immensely. When Turner is hot, he adds a balance to their offensive attack. On defense, the Falcons are ranked 12th overall squad. The Falcons are strong at stopping the run, but are just okay at stopping the pass. To win, the Falcons need to protect Ryan from the Giants’ top tier pass rush, and need to thwart Giants WR Victor Cruz from having a big day receiving.

The Giants’ Side: When anybody thinks of the G-Men, they instantly think of QB Eli Manning. Every year Manning is faced with new skepticism about his throwing, talent, or even leadership, but somehow Manning keeps performing at a playoff level. This season, Manning has thrown for nearly 5,000 yards and has kept the Giants in contention for the playoffs. After their victory versus the infamous Cowboys, the Big Blue find themselves in a familiar situation. Their offense this year has improved drastically after the emergence of Victor Cruz. “Cruz Control” has turned short, pitch-and-catch plays into 80-yard-plus Touchdowns, including a 99 yard TD against the Jets. On defense, the Giants’ pass rush is one of the leagues finest—Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, and Mathias Kiwanuka are all players that frighten opposing Quarterbacks. For the Giants to win, they have to shut down Michael Turner and air it out throughout the game.

The Bottom Line: The Giants have a Super Bowl run under their belt, and their offense is sure to get it done on Sunday.

Prediction: Giants, 27, Falcons, 20

AFC Wild Card Round Preview And Predictions

AFC Wild Card Game One: Bengals @ Texans

Saturday, 4:30 PM ET, NBC

The Bengals’ Side: Before the season started, the Bengals were said to be in rebuilding mode. 2011 First-Round Pick WR AJ Green and 2011 Second-Round Pick QB Andy Dalton have sparked this team, and they have exceeded their minimal expectations. The Bengals defense is ranked in the Top 10 in the NFL, and are looking to continue their solid play throughout the playoffs. In order to win on Saturday, Cincy’s defense needs to contain Texans RB Arian Foster on 1st and 2nd down, forcing the Texans to air it out on 3rd. Also, Cincinnati needs to maintain a steady run game to keep a balance.

The Texans’ Side: For the first time in their team’s history, the Texans find themselves in the playoffs. But battered with key injuries—DE/OLB Mario Williams, WR Andre Johnson, and QB Matt Schaub—Houston is not nearly at 100%. If Williams, Johnson, and Schaub were all healthy, the Texans would be a scary team that nobody would want to play. Currently, third-string rookie QB TJ Yates is the starter after the backup, Matt Leinart, went down shortly after Schaub. Yates started of miraculously but has fallen back to reality after a couple losses. To win, the Texans need to place a heavy focus on getting a lead early on and not falling behind, and also stopping AJ Green from having a big day by double covering him.

The Bottom Line: With all of these injuries for Houston, it is Cincinnati’s game to lose.

Prediction: Cincinnati, 24, Houston, 17

AFC Wild Card Game Two: Steelers @ Broncos

Sunday, 4:30 PM ET, CBS

The Steelers’ Side: Pittsburgh has the Number One ranked defense in the NFL, and are loaded all around the roster. The Steelers have superstars all around their roster, and are dynamic all three phases of the game. The Steelers, however, will be playing without S Ryan Clark because of a blood disorder and RB Rashard Mendenhall because of a torn ACL suffered last week. Pittsburgh could also be without OC Maurkice Pouncey and possibly QB Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger is known for his toughness, though, and should be set to go on Sunday. The Broncos have a tumultuous passing attack, and to advance in the playoffs the Steelers need to force Broncos QB Tim Tebow and Company to pass the ball frequently.

The Broncos’ Side: In a season defined by Tim Tebow—his comebacks, mistakes, rejuvenation of this franchise, and even Tebowing—the ups and downs have been many. The Broncos are on a three game losing streak featuring Tebow’s turnovers. The Broncos have had more than a tough time for throwing, but have the Number One rushing attack in the NFL, which features veteran RB Willis McGahee. On Denver’s defense, two pass-rushers, Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil, have caused problems for opposing offense. However, Miller suffered a finger injury a few weeks ago and is in a cast. The cast is clearly affecting his play. To win the ball game, the Broncos need to run the ball consistently in all four quarters, and also to stop Steelers’ WR’s Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown of a big play.

The Bottom Line: The Steelers’ playoff experience compared to the Broncos is just unfair, and the Broncos’ offensive struggles will be a breeze for the Steel Curtain to defend.

Prediction: Steelers, 24, Broncos, 13