07 January 2014

2014 NFL Divisional Playoff Predictions

One round down, two more to go along the road to East Rutherford and now in the Divisional Playoffs, we get our first looks at the clubs in each conference that earned byes past the Wild Card round. The four games this past weekend featured plenty of intrigue and some quality football, should we expect more this weekend with berths in the Conference Championships on the line? Here are my picks.

Last Week: 1-3

Saturday, January 11th
New Orleans Saints (12-5) vs. Seattle Seahawks (13-3) - Fox, 4:35
Maybe have the Saints shaken their road blues with their win in Philadelphia on Saturday night? I would refrain from going that far, after all, the Eagles are an unusually mediocre home club. Plus the porous Philadelphia defense let them down late. That said, I will be very surprised if the Saints knock out the Hawks in Seattle this Sunday. However, I highly doubt it will be as much of a demolition as it was the first time they met.
Seahawks 31 Saints 21

Indianapolis Colts (12-5) vs. New England Patriots (12-4) - CBS, 8:15
The rally by the Colts on Saturday afternoon to take out the Chiefs after trailing by a 38-10 score early in the second half was awesome and historic (the second greatest comeback in NFL history). Andrew Luck deserves all the credit he can get for leading the charge and the defense for slowing down a hot Kansas City attack just enough deserves some pub as well. Can they ride that momentum to go into Foxborough and upset the Pats? I don't see it, it's damn hard to outduel Tom Brady in the playoffs when on the road. It will be a good one nonetheless.
Patriots 41 Colts 38

Sunday, January 12th
San Francisco 49ers (13-4) vs. Carolina Panthers (12-4) - Fox, 1:00
Another rematch from the regular season, the first matchup between these two in San Francisco resulted in the Panthers winning a hard-fought, defensive showdown by a 10-9 final. You may think that that would give the Panthers an advantage, especially as this is an early start for Frisco. That said, I think the Niners are the superior team, and importantly stronger offensively as I think points will be hard to come by, and I would rather take Colin Kaepernick over Cam Newton in the playoffs at this point.
49ers 17 Panthers 13

San Diego Chargers (10-7) vs. Denver Broncos (13-3) - CBS, 4:40
The Chargers did not come out hot last Sunday but right out after halftime, they were a different ball club and smoked the Bengals, who were falling apart in their own right, to give their opponents their first home loss of the season. And not only are they rolling and playing great football as they come into Denver, they have also beaten the Broncos at the Broncos (and played them tough in their first meeting in the Diego). Can they pull the upset and take out the top seed? I just don't see their defense slowing down Peyton Manning enough to get the win but would it surprise me? Nope.
Broncos 38 Chargers 33

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ben
    As a matter of fact given that 3 of the 4 home teams lost last weekend (and Indy should have gone too) I am wondering if home field advantage really IS an advantage at this stage. I think Denver is vulnerable and could easily fall, though the Pats will make it. In the NFC the niners are a better outfit than the Panthers and find more ways to win while the Saints will run Seattle close.
    So, Seattle and New England on Saturday and San Francisco and San Diego on Sunday.