Saturday, January 15, 2011

NFL Divisional Round Picks - Saturday

This is going to be a great weekend of football. Some tremendous physical match ups, some general real hatred between opponents, and the beginning of a coming out party (not that kind) for Matt Ryan (IMHO). Today I am just going to focus on today's games.

Things kick off with a bruising battle between the Steelers and Ravens. There's going to be a lot of pain killers taken after this one and that's just from the fans watching at home. The teams split the season series, each winning on the road.

Baltimore started things out in week four with a 17-14 win at Heinz Field on October 3. Pittsburgh came from behind late in week 13 for 13-10 win at M & T Bank Stadium.

Low scoring, physical games are the mantra when these two teams get together and today should be no different. The Steelers come in as three point favorites with the over/under at 37. I'm going with the Ravens in this one- I saw them as as the AFC champ early in the season before the Pats went on their tremendous run and still believe they could beat the winner of tomorrow's Pats-Jets battle. And I'm going to just squeak under the over/under with a Ravens 19-17 win.

I'm looking forward to this evening's game even more. Packers-Falcons. The Packers were impressive, esp. on the defensive side of the ball last week and made everyone outside of Philly smile for ending Michael Vick's (and DeSean Jackson's) season.

But this Falcons team is not talked about it at all. They are the clear favorite to emerge from the NFC and reach their second Super Bowl. (It shouldn't take a Gary Anderson miss to do it this time either). The Falcons are solid on both sides of the ball and their defense is vastly underrated.

When the two teams met on Nov. 28 it came down to a last minute drive by Matt Ryan and the Falcons that culminated in a Matt Bryant game winning FG with just 13 ticks of the clock left. The 20-17 win pushed the Falcons record to 9-2 at the time.

Ryan should get a chance to show a national TV audience just what he can do (and unfortunately that means hearing that stupid "Matty Ice" nickname several times over). The Falcons are 1.5 pt favorites with an over under of 43.5. If you haven't figured it out by now the pick here is clearly the Falcons and again a close one on the over/under, this time over. Falcons 27 Packers 17

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