Pick ‘Em Divisional Round

By: Will Martin Email
By: Will Martin Email

Not only did all of the favorites win last week, but they all covered too. That means that if you one of my millions of readers AND are betting against all of my picks, you went 3-1 and probably made a lot of money – congratulations! I did predict that the Texans, Packers, and Seahawks would pull out a victory but I missed my prediction that the Colts would upset the Ravens in Baltimore (I guess Raystrong beats out Chuckstrong).

In other football-related news, in case you live in a Peruvian cave somewhere in the Andes but still have wifi, meticulously follow the NFL, and have enough free time to the point where you read a 21-year-old college kid’s weekly NFL Pick ‘Em article, you might have missed the college football BCS National Championship game on Monday night. The Alabama Crimson Tide absolutely stifled a less-than-deserving-to-be-there Notre Dame team 42-14, and the score still doesn’t accurately reflect the beat-down that the Irish received. Not only does this speak to how good the SEC is and how difficult it is to get through an SEC schedule unscathed, but also how overrated Notre Dame is year in and year out. Yes, they may have been the only team that finished the regular season undefeated but I don’t think they are even a top-10 team in the country. Although I admit that I do have to feel a little empathy for the Fighting Irish fans considering how their beloved Dallas Cowboys missed the playoffs, their Yankees haven’t done much in the offseason, and their Lakers are below .500 and in 11th place in the Western Conference (is it clear that I’m not a big fan of Notre Dame?) On to the Divisional Round picks!

Ravens (+10) at Broncos – I still don’t believe that the Ravens are Super Bowl contenders, but I think that the team could rally around Ray Lewis and keep this close. And if their defense plays at the same level and with the same intensity as this last weekend in their win over the Colts, I think they might even have a chance to squeak this one out. Yeah, it’s a long shot but I don’t think it’s impossible. Peyton Manning deserves to win the MVP this season and like I said last week, I think that he will continue to play well and the Broncos will advance to the AFC Championship and eventually the Super Bowl.

Packers at 49ers (-3) – The old saying goes “offense wins games, defense wins championships.” And while this might be just one game, I think it is one where the 49ers defense prevails. The Packers looked great in their thrashing of the we’re-just-happy-to-be-here Vikings last weekend, but Green Bay’s defense is going to have trouble against a team that has the ability to throw the ball AND run. On the other hand, if Green Bay does pull this off, there’s a good chance that they could play the Seahawks again in a rematch of the now-infamous game that ultimately led to getting rid of the replacement refs and bringing back the regular refs, which would be fun for everyone! Too bad that game won’t happen, because the 49ers cruise.

Seahawks (+2.5) at Falcons – It’s not a good sign when you are the #1 overall seed but the Packers, Patriots, 49ers, and Broncos all have better odds to win the Super Bowl than you do (and the Seahawks have the same odds, +800. I’d jump all over Seattle and stay far, far away from Atlanta. Just sayin’). On the bright side for Atlanta, the Falcons can finally prove to the world that they deserved to be 14-2, are capable of beating good teams, and are legitimate Super Bowl contenders. The problem is that they didn’t, they aren’t, and they won’t. Everyone has suspected it for weeks but the world will finally know for sure that the Falcons are the NFL’s version of Notre Dame come Sunday afternoon.

Texans at Patriots (-10) – I can already see Kubiak in the post-game press conference explaining to the media that the injuries sustained throughout the season were just an obstacle that the Texans couldn’t get over, and that’s the reason for the month-long decline that ended with a 42-10 drubbing in Foxborough. Although, one Boston reporter is giving the Texans some bulletin board material just in case they didn’t already know that nobody thinks they have a shot to win this game. Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe had this to say about Sunday’s game:

“The 2012-13 New England Patriots just became the first team in NFL history to get back-to-back byes before advancing to the conference championship game.

Could this get any easier? I mean, seriously?

The planets are aligned and the tomato cans are in place. The fraudulent Houston Texans are the only team standing between the New England Patriots and a trip to the AFC Championship game. All the Patriots have to do is beat the terrible Texans. One week from Sunday. At Gillette Stadium.”

I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but that might be just the fodder that the Texans need to get them back on track. As Andy Dufresne writes in my favorite movie The Shawshank Redemption, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

Hey, crazier things have happened.

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