Up until the NFL gave the Cowboys a late christmas present by picking up the flag thrown against rookie linebacker Anthony Hitchens against the Lions in the Wild Card, I wanted to see the Boys get it all this year. I don’t now. I think that “falsity” (my word) cost the Lions not only the game, but the momentum as well. Nothing says ebb and flow like NFL football, especially in the playoffs. Do the Boys have a chance? Yes. Boys’ defense has played well under Marinelli this season by simply rallying to the football every snap. I could care less about his calf injury, rallying to the football is only a nice sentiment when facing Aaron Rodgers. And all this talk from the national pundits about the weather is stomach turning. They cry about the game being to soft, but add to the softness of it all by going on and on about the weather. How bout we let the teams line up and just play football!!
Packers vs. Cowboys: Boys’ have the offensive firepower (for once) to role with the Pack, and don’t have to rely solely on the arm of Tony “oh-no” as has been the case in years past. Dez Bryant is just as formidable as Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb combined. With a little more healing time under his belt, rushmaster Murray is ready to match anything Eddie Lacy may be ready to bring. The difference in this one will be Rodgers ability to fit the ball into tight windows versus Dez having to climb the ladder to grab one of Romo’s over-throws. That is okay once in awhile, but not for a steady diet. PICK: Packers
Talk surrounding the deterioration of Peyton Manning’s skills from the “experts” is quite concerning and confusing at the same time. On one hand, Manning is still one of the best, but it’s doubtful that he is the same. Huh?!! Anyway, I think it has far less to do with his supposedly diminishing skills at it does his less than stellar post-season performances that pale in comparison to his historical regular season accolades. As great as Manning is, there is cause for concern whenever his teams get to the playoffs. It’s no accident that many would hesitate to bet on a Manning-led Broncos squad that has home- field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Broncos vs. Colts: Andrew Luck has what it takes to play QB in the NFL, but i’m not so sure he alone has what it takes this week against the Broncos. Any defensive unit with D Qwell Jackson on it is suspect to say the least. Colts running game is what wins this contest, not Luck. Averaging a paltry 100 yds per game in the regular season, the Colts are second behind the Carolina Panthers this post-season in the run department at 114.0 per game. As I mentioned earlier, Manning is not a sure bet at home; an vastly improved defense can be. Broncos were 3rd in total defense in the regular season. This game comes down to the Broncos D vs. Colts run game. PICK: Colts
Man oh man, did the Steelers ever miss the services of Leveon Bell against the dreaded North rival Baltimore Ravens. It wasn’t the clash that it normally seems to be when these two get together, but it wasn’t tennis either. I thought the Steel curtain pedigree would eventually win out, but Joe Flacco’s pedigree (in the post-season) was to rule the day; and rule it did. Say what they want, the one team in this post season (any post-season for that matter) the vaunted Patriots did not want to see is these Ravens. Why? Because home field advantage can be a disadvantage when facing off against the Ravens.
Ravens @ Patriots: Brady vs. Dumervil & Suggs is what this matchup will ultimately come down to. Brady has a knack for taking lesser-knowns and making more out of them than the law should allow, and knowing how, and when to use ” The Gronk” should the situation arise. Ray Lewis is no longer the anchor of a defense that is known for being formidable, but Suggs and Dumervil seems to have picked up the slack quite nicely. Brett Favre may have gotten most of the fanfare, and Desmond Howard the MVP (SB XXXI), but is was the pass-rushing ability of the late Reggie White that set the tone. Because the Ravens have probably the best pass-rushing duo of any team left in this year’s post-season, I pick: Ravens.