NFL Playoffs Divisional Round Predictions

By Chris Ransom
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws against the Green Bay Packers in the third quarter at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts on December 19, 2010. The Patriots defeated the Packers 31-27. UPI/Matthew Healey

Which 4 teams make it to conference championship weekend.

5 seed Baltimore Ravens 13-4 VS 1 seed New England Patriots 14-2

Quarterback Edge: Patriots Tom Brady has the advantage in this game at quarterback. 7 to 0 Patriots.

Runningback Edge: Ravens Ray Rice and Willis McGahee will find a way to gain some yards against the New England Patriots. This game is tied at 7 at the end of the first quarter.

Wide Receiver Edge: Push Baltimore has wide receivers Anquan Boldin, Derek Mason, and TJ Houshmenzadeh while they also have Todd Heap and Ed Dickson at tight end. New England has Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Brandon Tate, Julian Edelman, and the Patriots also have Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez at tight end.

Offensive Line Edge: Push Both teams can pass block very effectively. The score remains 7 to 7 at halftime.

Defensive Line Edge: Push Both teams will struggle to pressure the offensive line.

Linebacker Edge: Ravens Baltimore has the edge and Ray Lewis makes a big play to give Baltimore their first lead of the game. Baltimore leads 14 to 7.

Defensive Backs Edge: Patriots New England has a better secondary with Devin McCourty, Brandon Meriweather, Patrick Chung, and Kyrie Aarington starting. Someone on New England’s secondary returns a pick 6. The game is tied at 14 after 3 quarters.

Coaching Edge: Patriots Bill Belicheck calls a defensive play that forces a turnover. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady capitalizes by scoring a passing touchdown. Patriots lead 21 to 14.

Homefield Edge: Patriots New England’s only loss at home with Tom Brady in the playoffs came to Baltimore last year and New England is focused on burying the past and moving forward. Joe Flacco throws another pick which results in another Patriots touchdown. New England Patriots lead 28 to 14.

Special Teams Edge: Push I’m not buying either team on special teams.

Owner/Front Office Edge: Push Both teams are strong with ownership.

Joe Flacco is getting better, but he is still having games where he throws interceptions. This will be another bad game for Flacco.

5 seed New Orleans Saints 12-5 VS 1 seed Atlanta Falcons 13-3

Quarterback Edge: Falcons Atlanta gets a slight edge at quarterback. Matt Ryan drives the Falcons into field goal range.

Running Back Edge: Falcons Michael Turner is a running back who can gain tons of yards after carries. Look for him to get a rushing touchdown to give the Falcons a 10 to 0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Wide Receiver Edge: Falcons Roddy White gets a receiving touchdown to put the Falcons up by 17 in the 2nd quarter.

Offensive Line Edge: Push Both teams are strong on the offensive line. The score remains 17 to 0 Falcons at halftime.

Defensive Line Edge: Push Both defensive lines can put pressure on the quarterback. The question is can they get by the opposing offensive line?

Linebacker Edge: Falcons Atlanta has better outside linebackers than the New Orleans Saints so the Falcons get a 3 point edge. Atlanta’s linebackers force Saints running back Reggie Bush to fumble in the 3rd quarter. Atlanta recovers and goes up 20 to 0 over the Saints.

Defensive Backs Edge: Push Both secondaries will be exposed against these quarterbacks. The score is Atlanta 20 New Orleans 0 after 3 quarters.

Coaching Edge: Push Both coaches know the opposing coaches game plan real well.

Homefield Edge: Push Both of these teams play in domes. I think the home field is neutral here.

Special Teams Edge: Push I’m not buying either kicker.

Owner/Front Office Edge: Push Both teams have excellent owners who know how to treat their teams. Atlanta wins 20 to 0 and the Falcons move on to the NFC Championship.

3 seed Indianapolis Colts 11-6 VS 2 seed Pittsburgh Steelers 12-4

Quarterback Edge: Colts I know Ben has won more Super Bowls, but Peyton has posted better stats and has done more with less talent around him on both sides of the ball. If Peyton Manning was on the Steelers with their defense he would have at least 5 super bowls by now and be considered the greatest quarterback of all time ahead of Joe Montana while if Ben Roethilsberger was on the Indianapolis Colts I’d be surprised if he even manage to win 1 super bowl because the supporting cast hardly stays healthy. Colts lead 7 to 0.

Running Back Edge: Push Both teams will struggle to run in this game. The score is 7 to 0 Colts after 1 quarter.

Wide Receiver Edge: Steelers Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, and Heath Miller will all find ways to make big plays on a long drive that results in a Steelers touchdown.

Offensive Line Edge: Colts The Colts pass block way better than the Steelers ever could. That may be because of Peyton Manning’s quick release and outstanding mechanics, but the bottom line is you cannot win in the NFL with poor pass blocking. Jonathan Scott allowed 18 sacks as a left tackle in the regular season and unless he turns around his performance in the playoffs Pittsburgh will not get anywhere plus Pouncey got injured against the Cleveland Browns. While right tackle Flozell Adams is on the wrong side of his 30’s. Colts lead 14 to 7 at halftime.

Defensive Line Edge: Colts Dwight Freeney and Robert Matthis can each get 2 sacks in this game and I expect the Colts defensive line to have a total of 5 sacks on Roethlisberger in this contest. Colts lead 21 to 7.

Linebacker Edge: Steelers Pittsburgh’s linebackers will force Manning to throw a bad pass to Troy Polamalu under pressure at some point in the 3rd quarter. Steelers score make it 21 to 14 Colts.

Defensive Backs Edge: Push Both secondaries will allow over 200 yards passing to each quarterback. I expect the combined passing yards total for both teams to be over 500 passing yards. The Indianapolis Colts lead 21 to 14 after 3 quarters.

Coaching Edge: Steelers Coach Tomlin knows how to prepare his team. Coach Tomlin tells Dick LeBeau to call a defensive play which forces a 2nd Colts turnover. Pittsburgh scores off the turnover and ties the game at 21.

Homefield Edge: Steelers Pittsburgh scores on a 3rd turnover and takes the lead 28 to 21.

Special Teams Edge: After Coach Caldwell threatens to pull his star quarterback Peyton Manning. Manning impresses his head coach Jim Caldwell by leading the Colts into field goal territory. Adam Vinateri gets a field goal. The score is Steelers 28 Colts 24.

Owner/Front Office Edge: Colts The Colts have a better owner and general manager than the Steelers. Pittsburgh runs the ball while Indianapolis stops them. Peyton throws a touchdown to Reggie Wayne in the 2 minute warning and the Colts win 31 to 28. The reasons the Colts win are due to Pittsburgh’s poor pass blocking on the offensive line and Pittsburgh’s poor play on secondary. Everyone knows superstar strong safety Troy Polamalu carries this abysmal pass defense on his shoulders which struggles in man coverage. Another reason I like the Colts is because if Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez can defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers than Peyton Manning can have just as much success if not more success than Joe Flacco or Mark Sanchez against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Manning is out for revenge after losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers when the Indianapolis Colts were the Super Bowl 40 favorites a few years ago. The Steelers will be competitive for the next decade while the Colts will not be as competitive once Manning retires which gives the Colts a greater reason to win.

3 seed Philadelphia Eagles 11-6 VS 2 seed Chicago Bears 11-5

Quarterback Edge: Push I’m not sure which quarterback has more success in this game.

Running Back Edge: Push The running game will be just as big of a factor as the quarterback play. Neither team can score after one quarter.

Wide Receiver Edge: Eagles DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and tight end Brent Celek make some big plays for the the Philadelphia Eagles. Philadelphia leads 7 to 0.

Offensive Line Edge: Push Both offensive lines struggle to pass block and protect the quarterback. Eagles lead 7 to 0 at halftime.

Defensive Line Edge: Push Both teams are strong on the defensive line.

Linebacker Edge: Bears Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher is not getting any respect while Michael Vick the quarterback he beat in the regular season is. You have to believe this motivates Urlacher to a certain degree.

Defensive Backs Edge: Eagles Asante Samuel intercepts Jay Cutler for an interception. Eagles lead 14 to 7 at the end of 3 quarters.

Coaching Edge: Push I’m not buying either coach.

Homefield Edge: Bears Chicago has the edge at home field. This game is tied at 14.

Special Teams Edge: Push Robbie Gould and David Akers will make field goals as kickers. This game is tied at 17.

Owner/Front Office Edge: Push I am not sold on either owner.

Tiebreaker Motivational Edge: Push Both teams want to get to the NFC Championship.

Bears win 20 to 17 in overtime and the Bears go to the NFC Championship.

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