Jobu gives his picks for this weekend’s NFL playoff matchups.
Ok so last week I went 2-2. If you recall, I correctly picked the Giants to beat the Falcons (although I didn’t pick them to dominate quite so… dominantly) and the Saints to beat the Lions, but I incorrectly picked the Steelers to beat the Broncos (never bet against the lord) and the Bengals to beat the Texans. The only pick I regret making is the Bengals. That was rushed. I’d still pick the Steelers ten out of ten times to beat the Broncos, though (who knew Tebow could throw for 300+ yards?). Anyway, enough of living in the past, let’s get to this week’s picks!
New Orleans Saints @ San Francisco 49ers, Saturday, 4:30PM
This game has been tough for me to really nail down. I think it’s because, in my mind, the 49ers are still as awful as they’ve been for the last ten years, and Drew Brees might be the greatest quarterback of all time. Those kinds of things can tend to cloud judgement, which tends to lead to sloppy picks, so I’ve done a lot of back and forth on this game.
On the one hand, the Saints have the ability to score more often than Wilt Chamberlain (I guess that works on two levels). On the other hand, they aren’t playing at the Superdome, where they’re 9-0 this year. They have to go to San Francisco to face one of the league’s best defenses. Jim Harbaugh has done a wonderful job not only completing Mike Singletary’s work in San Fran, but taking it to the next level too. He even got Alex Smith’s head out of his ass and helped the former first overall pick finally become the QB the 49ers thought they were getting in 2005.
The 49ers got that bye for a reason this year and Drew Brees, while still capable of putting up points anywhere he plays, is not as effective away from New Orleans. I think I’ve convinced myself while writing this post, that the 49ers will win on Saturday.
Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots, Saturday, 8:00PM
You might think I learned my lesson last week when I picked the Steelers to dominate Tim Tebow and the Broncos. Dare I bet against tim Tebow’s relationship with God again? I will say this. The Patriots defense isn’t that good, especially against the pass. If Tebow truly discovered a new facet to his QB game last week (you know, throwing the ball forward), he could put up another 316 yards against the Patriots, and Belichick’s boys could be in trouble.
The Patriots have one thing going for them that the Broncos don’t, and that’s Tom Brady. The last time these two teams met, Brady carved up the vaunted Broncos defense (the one who made it possible for Tebow to convert millions of fans to Christianity during the middle of the season). Brady threw for 320 yards and 2 Touchdowns, and the Patriots rolled 41-23.
After last week’s stunner against the Steelers (in OT, of course), It’s hard to bet against the Broncos, but I’m going to lay my money on the favorite. Brady wins, and so do the Pats in this one.
Houston Texans @ Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, 1:00PM
The Texans embarrassed me last week by crushing a Bengals team I had picked to eliminate them. They really romped the Bengals. It was pretty embarassing. I was right about one thing though, the Texans passing game didn’t do all that much. Fortunately for them, they have Arian Foster, who continuously proves he is one of the best backs in the league. Foster ran for 153 yards and 2 scores against a Bengals defense that really underperformed. T.J. Yates completed only 11 passes, but he didn’t turn the ball over and he threw a touch down, which was just enough, as Foster and the defense took care of the rest.
This week, I don’t think that’s going to happen. The Ravens finished the year 13-3, and for good reason. As usual, their excellent defense vanquished opposing players for most of the season (we’ll ignore that San Diego game), and Joe Flacco continues to do what it takes to not lose ballgames. He’s not flashy, but his 3,610 yards and 20 TDs were all the Ravens needed, especially when he spent the rest of the time handing the ball off to Ray Rice (1364 yards, 12 TDs), who has quietly become one of the premier backs in the NFL.
In Baltimore, against that vaunted Purple defense… The Texans don’t stand a chance… for real this week. Ravens win.
New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers, Sunday, 4:30PM
Let’s not beat around the bush or pretend I’m not biased on this one. I’m not going to write a truly fair assessment of this game. I’m just going to tell you why I think the Giants can pull off the “upset” against the Packers. We all know Aaron Rodgers can throw the football all day long to various weapons in his receiving corps (Jordy Nelson single-handedly beat me in fantasy football twice this year). We also know that the Giants secondary isn’t the most dynamic in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers could potentially have himself a field day. I am willing to admit to all of these things. I am also willing to say… so what?
The Giants defense pitched a shutout against the Atlanta Falcons last week (the only two points Atlanta got were on a safety). Matt Ryan was one of my much ballyhooed 4,000 yard passers I talked about last week, and he didn’t do anything. Michael Turner was supposed to ground and pound the Giants into submission, and he couldn’t even convert third down and one. The Giants defensive line is fully healthy and fully capable of dominating Rodgers like they did Ryan.
The Giants offense is clicking on all cylinders as well. The league’s worst run offense put up a season high 172 yards last week (their 6th straight 100 yard week). All that running made Eli’s job easy, and he picked apart a weakened Falcons secondary. If the running game gets going again this week, It’s going to spell trouble for the Pack. Even if the Giants can’t run the ball as effectively as they want, the Packers secondary is not that good. The Giants already proved in week 13 that they could put up points on the Packers defense (Pack won that game 38-35). The Chiefs proved two weeks ago that an aggressive, smash mouth defense can get the job done against Green Bay, and if the Giants can establish that line early, it’s gonna be a long day in Green Bay. I’m feeling very 2007/2008 right now…Giants win.
Harbaugh image courtesy of: http://www.ongo.com
Tebow image courtesy of: Julie Jacobson, AP
Lewis image courtesy: Patrick Smith [Sun Photographer]
Cruz image courtesy of: http://assets.nydailynews.com
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