Dec 29, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) signals his teammates at the line of scrimmage during the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Ramblin' Fan's NFL Picks and Predictions: Divisional Round

NFL Picks

Jan 4, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) throws the ball as Philadelphia Eagles outside linebacker Trent Cole (58) chases in the fourth quarter during the 2013 NFC wild card playoff football game at Lincoln Financial Field. The Saints won 26-24. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

NFL divisional round weekend is upon us so it is time to make our NFL picks and predictions.  In the Wild Card round we managed to go 3-1, only missing on the disappointing Cincinnati Bengals.  This weekend we have some more great games, including several rematches from the regular season.  Saturday gets the action started as the Saints will travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Seahawks, and the Colts will head to New England to take on the Patriots.  The NFC West will still be well represented as the Seahawks and 49ers will both be in action this weekend, leading to a potential showdown in the NFC Championship game.  In fact the television networks are probably crossing their fingers that the way we have made our picks is exactly how they happen, a Seahawks vs. 49ers and Manning vs. Brady championship weekend would be huge for ratings.   Let’s get right down to our NFL picks and predictions, as always NFC West games have been marked in bold lettering in the table below. Thank you for reading and as always Go Rams!!!

Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots. The Colts are fresh off their stunning come from behind victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the wild card round.  The Patriots are freshly rested following their first round bye and looking to recapture some of the old Patriot playoff magic.  The Colts need to make sure they don’t find themselves in a double-digit deficit entering halftime, as the Patriots are highly unlikely to allow them to get back into the game.  Aqib Talib should be ready to shadow TY Hilton all over the field, forcing Andrew Luck to find other open receivers.  If Luck can’t find other options open on a regular basis this could be a very long day for the Colts.  The Patriots have a rejuvenated running game with LeGarrette Blount providing some power running to compliment their passing game.  Defensive player of the year candidate Robert Mathis will need to have a big game, and keep Brady from getting comfortable in the pocket for the Colts to spring the upset on the road.  This should be a very good football game, but Belichick and the Patriots are awfully tough to beat at home.  Patriots win 24 – 21.

New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks.  The Saints will return to the site of their worst performance of the season, and perhaps of the Sean Payton era.  The Seahawks are well rested coming off of their bye week and will be looking to take advantage of one of the best home field advantages in the NFL.  The Saints just won their first road playoff game in franchise history last weekend, which could bolster their confidence for this game.  If the Saints are going to have a chance to win this game they have to be able to run the ball well, and stop the run.  These are both tall orders when going against a team like the Seahawks, in one of the loudest stadiums in the world.  The Saints did manage to run the ball very well against the Eagles, and overcame the early mistakes from Drew Brees.  The last time the Saints went to Seattle there were big mistakes early, and before they knew it the Saints were down 17-0 and the game was all but over.  If the Saints want to have a chance to spring the upset they have to win the turnover battle, and keep it a one possession game and hope Brees can make some magic to win it in the end.   Seahawks win 28 – 24.

San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos.  The Chargers have been playing “win or go home” type games for the past 4 weeks, and last weekend they extended the Bengals long running playoff drought in convincing fashion.  The Chargers possess what may be the most balanced offense left in the playoffs, a team that lead the NFL in time of possession on the strength of their ability to convert 3rd downs.  The Broncos are going to be well rested and looking to prove they aren’t just a record-setting regular season team, but one that is capable of bringing the Lombardi back to Colorado.  Peyton Manning put together what may be the single greatest single season in NFL history, and yet his playoff history still has people wondering if this is the Broncos year or not.  Last season the Broncos collapsed following a mind-boggling defensive lapse late in regulation, losing in overtime to the eventual Super Bowl champion Ravens.  Wes Welker will be back for this game, which is a huge factor in the Broncos ability to convert third downs and keep drives alive.  The Broncos offense has been slowed by the Chargers in both previous meetings this season, but the ever improving running game and return of Welker should be enough to carry them over the hump.   Broncos win 35 – 31.  

San Francisco 49ers @ Carolina Panthers.  The 49ers haven’t lost a football game since Michael Crabtree returned to the lineup.  Last weekend against the Green Bay Packers Crabtree had a heck of a football game.  For a guy that likely still isn’t at 100% as he is coming off of a torn achilles tendon, he is playing at a pretty high level.  The Panthers are also a very hot football team and should be well rested following their bye week.  It still remains to be seen if Steve Smith will be available for this game, which could be a huge break for the 49ers as Carlos Rodgers is likely to miss this one with a hamstring injury.  The 49ers may be the best team in all of football when Crabtree is in the lineup, they have a very powerful offensive line and running game and a stifling defense.  I expect this to be a very good football game, but just like against the Packers the 49ers will find a way against the Panthers and make their 3rd consecutive trip to the NFC Championship game under Harbaugh. 49ers win 21 – 17.

2013 NFL Divisional Round

Pick

Colts @ Patriots

Patriots

Saints @ Seahawks

Seahawks

Chargers @ Broncos

Broncos

49ers @ Panthers

49ers

Last Week

3-1

Overall Record

153-106

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Tags: NFL Picks St. Louis Rams

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