Saturday, January 10, 2015

TransGriot 2014 NFL Picks-Divisional Round

Went 3-1 on my Wildcard weekend round picks thanks to an assist from the refs in the Detroit-Dallas game.

Now we move on to the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs in which all of the road teams have the formidable task of trying to oust teams that went a combined 15-2 at home.

How is this weekend going to shake out according to Moni?   Let's get busy.

Saturday Divisional Round Games

Baltimore Ravens 11-6 vs New England Patriots 12-4

Once more with feeling as the Ravens and Patriots battle at Gillette Stadium to see who advances on the AFC side of the playoff bracket.   The Patriots are a formidable 12-3 in home playoff games, but two of those lasses are to guess who?   The Ravens go up to Foxborough with the confidence of having beaten them there multiple times and Good Joe Flacco showing up and showing out as they dispatched their AFC North rivals the Steelers in convincing fashion at Heinz Field.

But the Patriots come into the game knowing this may be their best chance to get to another Super Bowl with Tom Brady at quarterback and if they can take down their playoff nemesis it will be a huge confidence boost.   And yeah, Darrelle Revis works for them now while the secondary has been the weak spot for the Ravens for much of the season.

While the Ravens have been on a roll and are motivated to as Terrell Suggs said "to ruin everybody's plans', the only plans getting ruined today are theirs.

Patriots to advance to AFC Championship game.

Carolina Panthers 8-8-1 vs Seattle Seahawks 12-4

The Panthers head to Seattle to take on the defending NFL champions at CenturyLink Field and the 12th Man will definitely crank up the decibel levels for this game.   Something else that has been cranked up lately is the Seattle defense.   They won their last six games to capture the NFC West and homefield advantage for the NFC playoffs, and were the Number one ranked defense in the NFL.

But the Panthers are no slouches in that department either, holding the Arizona Cardinals to a record low 78 yards in their 27-16 playoff win last week.   The Panthers are probably the team in the NFC closest to the philosophy of the Seahawks in term of having a defensive minded mentality, and the last time they faced each other it was a low scoring affair.  Carolina has also been playing must win games for a month just to get to the NFL playoff party, so they are already used to playing win or else football.

The difference in this game however is Carolina won't be playing at home against a third string quarterback, they will be facing Russell Wilson and a team that wants to repeat as Super Bowl champs.

And they will be playing the NFC title game in Seattle next week.    Seahawks to win this game

Sunday Divisional Round Games

Dallas Cowboys 13-4 vs Green Bay Packers 12-4

In the early Sunday game you have the first playoff matchup of these teams at Lambeau Field since the 1967 Ice Bowl game.   While it won't be as cold in Green Bay tomorrow as it was for that game, temp will be cold enough at 16 degrees. 

It also has the interesting angle of the 8-0 at home Packers facing the 8-0 road warriors in the Cowboys.   Something's gotta give there, and Green Bay fans are worried about Aaron Rodgers strained calf that might affect his mobility.   The Green Bay defense's task will be to ensure that Wisconsin homeboy Tony Romo gets introduced to the turf early and often. 

This game may come down to special teams, and Green Bay has had a league high seven kicks blocked while Dallas was one of eight NFL teams that didn't block one this season.

Picking the Packers in this one only because it's being played at Lambeau

Indianapolis Colts 12-5 vs  Denver Broncos 12-4

It's the first playoff matchup between Peyton Manning and the QB who replaced him in Indy in Andrew Luck..    It's also a matchup of the number three (Indy) and number four ranked offenses in the league.   The Broncos and Colts opened the season against each other in Denver with the Broncos delivering a 31-24 nationally televised spanking to the Colts that we gleefully enjoyed in H-town.

Denver has lately gone to more power running to complement the third ranked defense in the NFL and excel at stopping the run.   In this case they don't have to worry about the run since Indy sucks at it and it will allow the Denver front seven to tee off on Andrew Luck.

But they can't forget as they try to turn Andrew Luck into a pinata that Indy has the number one passing offense in the NFL, and will have to keep an eye and bodies on TY Hilton. 

But alas, Indy's season will end the way it started, with a loss in Denver.   Broncos to advance to the AFC Championship game.

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