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Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Wildly Specific Playoff Predictions - Divisional Round

Well, I guess I didn’t do too badly with my Wild Card picks. Had everything pretty much in the ballpark until the Steelers forgot how to play football. Whilst we’re on that, I’m officially starting the phrase #ThomasTime, because anyone not blinded by Tebus Christ can see that Demaryius made the play to win the game, Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn and Adam Weber all would’ve completed that pass too. Anywho, on to my Divisional Round predictions!

Broncos 19-35 Patriots

Demaryius Thomas. Making bad QBs look
good since 2011.

I’m not going to predict a TD-less game for the Broncos like I did last week, but mostly because this Patriots D is not as good as the Steelers. Tebow will, of course, run one in. This time from 8 yards; he’ll also connect on a pass to Demaryius #ThomasTime of 38 yards for the Broncos other TD. That’ll be about as good as it gets for the Broncos, who’ll concede a huge amount of yards on defence, with Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker both topping 100 yards receiving, and both scoring a TD (along with Aaron Hernandez). Ben-Jarvis Green-Ellis will round off the Patriots scoring, with 2 TDs for himself, capping off a 81 yard game. The game might look set for an exciting finish when the Broncos have a chance to pull within 2 scores in the 4th quarter, but Tebow will attempt to run it left and get blown up by Rob Ninkovich, leading to an anti-climactic end and Tebowians everywhere burning effigies of Bill Belichick for daring to smite their Lord. This will be the first time in history a Patriots victory has pleased me.

Texans 24-28 Ravens
Ray Ri and Ray Ray. Of the Ravens.

This prediction surprises even me. When I did my playoff bracket, I knew this would be the game, but I didn’t think this would be the score. However, watching Arian Foster rumble all over Cincy last week, and (exactly as I predicted - gold star for me) Jonathon Joseph shutting down AJ Green, it makes me think the Ravens might be in for a struggle here. Sure, I think they’ll win, but the score is gonna be close. Expect the Ravens to rely heavily on Ray Rice (no earth shattering prediction there), and watch as he puts up 197 total yards from scrimmage to go along with 3 TDs. Sure, the Texans stopped Cedric Benson last week, but Ray Rice is actually good... The other Ravens TD will come from Ed Dickson. Whilst Cincy only had one big receiving threat, Houston will need to look after Torrey Smith, Lee Evans and Anquan Boldin through the air this week, and with extra attention paid to Rice, Dickson will be on for a big day. His TD will only be from 6 yards, but his game will be 88. Arian Foster is of course going to score again, but won’t manage the same ridiculous total from the Wild Card round. Expect a more leisurely 112 yards this week.

Giants 20-41 Packers

Eli's post-pick pout is going to be on show

It might not be the fashionable “I think the Giants are going to give Green Bay problems...” pick, but it’s true. The Giants don’t have the fire power to live with the Pack and this one will never really be in doubt. Sure, the Giants will put some points up, with Cruz and Nicks scoring a TD each and Eli Manning throwing for 331 yards, but he’ll also throw 2 key interceptions to Charles Woodson and Charlie Peprah. Picking who is going to score for the Packers is like picking your drinks at a free bar – it’s all good, so it doesn’t matter which way you go. I’ll go with Jermichael Finley (Vodka Tonic – looks like a run of the mill G&T, until it smacks you in the mouth), John Kuhn (Guiness – Nothing flashy, but damn fine at what it does) Jordy Nelson (Jaegerbomb – Sneaks up on you, then destroys you) and Donald Driver (Single-malt whiskey – Doesn’t get older, just gets wiser) to all score at least once.

Saints 27-16 49ers
Yes, this is a photo from the future.
Sedrick Ellis dominating the 9ers.

It’s another question of fire-power here. Can the 49ers stay with the Saints? No, basically, but they’ll give it a damn good go. The Saints put up 45 last week (wonder who predicted that...? Another gold star), but the 49ers defence is much better than the Lions was. With such a solid front 7, the Saints will be forced to abandon the run game pretty early, and will use Darren Sproles to death in a 4 wide, shot-gun offence. The TDs will all come from Brees’ arm, to Sproles (26 yard catch and run), Graham (red zone strike) and Colston (going deeeeeep), but the most valuable contribution will be from the Saints D-line, who will do well to disrupt the 49ers offence. Look for Sedrick Ellis to be given a game ball. The Harbaugh led resurgence in San Fran will come to an end, but not before Frank Gore and Vernon Davis score once each to keep this one interesting. The real downfall of the 9ers will be their redzone offence, which had been poor all season (leading to David Akers breaking the league record for FGs). They’ll have more RZ possessions than the Saints, for sure, but they just won’t convert them.

- Phil Gaskin (@sosayitisaid)
- The Pulling Linemen

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