Porter’s Predictions – NFL Playoffs Divisional Round Preview 12/13th January 2013

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Updated: January 10, 2013

The Divisional rounds of the playoffs are here. Will the rested teams be able to take advantage of those teams that have played one more game? Or will momentum from the teams that have already played come into effect? Here are my predictions!

Saturday

Baltimore Ravens vs Denver Broncos – Broncos win

From standing on the sidelines with an injured neck, watching the Colts go 2-14 last season, to recovering from that injury, signing for the Broncos and earning the 1st seed in the AFC. Broncos QB Peyton Manning has definitely reasserted his authority in the NFL and has put himself into contention for the ‘Comeback Player of the Year’ award and ‘League MVP’ award. Winning this game will further increase his chances of not only winning at least one of those two awards, but adding another Superbowl ring to his hand. Broncos WR Eric Decker will be helping him out every step of the way back to the promise land, but Ravens OLB Ray Lewis would also like another  Superbowl ring before he retires and he won’t let anything, including injury, get in his way. Ravens QB Joe Flacco still has a point to prove to show he is an ‘elite’ quarterback and the Superbowl will be a great stage to prove it, but he has to defeat Broncos OLB Von Miller and rest of the Broncos defence first. Broncos to win by a touchdown.

Green Bay Packers vs San Francisco 49ers – Packers win

The Packers defeated the Minnesota Vikings with ease last weekend, but it won’t be that easy against the 49ers. At least it shouldn’t be. Lacking in playoff experience could become a factor for 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick. However, the Packers defence mustn’t forget the way Kaepernick performed against the New England Patriots back in week 15. Scoring four touchdowns but also fumbling the ball four times too. A clear sign his game can change in an instant, something which Packers LB Clay Matthews should take note if he is to continue his good form that was earned against the Vikings. Experienced playoff players in 49ers RB Frank Gore and WR Michael Crabtree will be helping Kaepernick along the way, but I think he is going to be out gunned by ‘League MVP’ contender Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, with likely connections to WR James Jones and Greg Jennings in the endzone. 49ers LBs Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks and Patrick Willis hope to stop that from ever happening. Packers to win by a touchdown. 

Sunday

Seattle Seahawks vs Atlanta Falcons – Seahawks win

You really can’t knock the effort by the Seahawks this season under their new QB Russell Wilson. It will be a tough ask for them to win at the Georgia Dome this weekend as the Falcons have only lost there once this season. I’m sure the Falcon’s fans will be loud for Seahawks CB Richard Sherman so that he knows they’re there, especially when they see Falcons WR Julio Jones fly past him with the ball. Expect the unexpected when those two face off against each other on Sunday. Falcons QB Matt Ryan will also hope TE Tony Gonzalez is free and is likely to incorporate some play action to RB Michael Turner, in order to catch the Seahawks number one defence off guard. However, Wilson has good enough options in WRs Golden Tate and Sidney Rice to match them, with RB Marshawn Lynch leading the ground charge. Falcons fans will be hoping DE John Abraham will be able to stop the ball ever leaving the back field. He is good enough to do so, but I think the Seahawks will edge it in this one. Seahawks to win by a field goal.

Houston Texans vs New England Patriots – Patriots win

These two teams have already played against each other this season back in week 14 and the Patriots won comfortably, 14-42. I’m predicting a much closer score line but the Patriots still to win. If the Patriots can stop Texans RB Arian Foster, they would win the game in the same style they did back in week 14. Patriots DT Vince Wilfork will be key to stopping any runs coming down the middle and piling pressure on Texans QB Matt Schaub. However, Texans DE J.J. Watt is able to provide the same impact when he plays against Patriots QB Tom Brady and RB Stevan Ridley. Taking this into account, I believe this will be a battle down between the two QBs. Brady’s main targets of WR Wes Welker and TE Rob Gronkowski are scoring touchdowns, but Schaub’s main targets of WR Andre Johnson and TE Owen Daniels aren’t. They must start doing so if they are to have a chance of winning, but I feel it’s coming too little, too late for the Texans Superbowl chances. Patriots to win by a touchdown.

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Predictions and previews by Conor Porter

twitter – @ConorJPorter

blog – conorporter.blogspot.co.uk

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