Last Week: 2-2
Overall: 162-95-1

Saints @ Seahawks

Each week, I listen to sports talk radio driving to work, while at work, and driving home from work. While everyone seems to think New Orleans did something magical last week, the Saints went on the road to upset a mediocre Eagles team that barely beat Kyle Orton to make the playoffs. No one is giving the Saints a snowball’s chance in hell to win in Seattle. This playoff match-up figures to be closer than the previous game, but the windy/rainy conditions will limit offensive output and a defensive struggle favors the Seahawks. Toying with the return and potential of Percy Harvin, Seattle will feature the run and possibly even a few play action boots while mixing in only a handful of touches for Harvin. Don’t expect an upset from New Orleans, but temper expectations for Seattle because they’ll struggle to post monster offensive numbers against either San Francisco or Carolina in the next round.

Win: Seattle Seahawks, 23-16

Colts @ Patriots

While the final score wasn’t the same, I predicted last week’s surge from Kansas City in the first half and the resulting Andrew Luck comeback to pad his young resume. Although I’d love to see Luck pull another horseshoe out of his ass this week, Indianapolis just does not match up well with New England. Regardless of injuries, the Patriots can blanket T.Y. Hilton with Aqib Talib to stifle the passing game and the Colts will struggle to run consistently—though Donald Brown might be able to gain 4.0 per carry without Vince Wilfork taking up real estate. I’m anticipating a run-heavy approach from New England given another windy/rainy afternoon, which will coax another comeback attempt from Luck. Ultimately, the Colts are still rebuilding with way too many holes on offense and defense to hang with the likes of the Patriots or Broncos unless they receive a handful of breaks and Luck strikes.

Win: New England Patriots, 44-35

49ers @ Panthers

Although this could be a close outcome, the 49ers-Panthers match-up may also end up being the most brutal and unwatchable game of the playoffs—rivaling last week’s Chargers-Bengals encounter. San Francisco is scorching hot heading into this game, but the 49ers were upset by Carolina earlier this season. However, San Francisco now has Michael Crabtree to add another passing threat while Carolina will have to relegate Steve Smith to a decoy role due to injuries. I predict I’ll fall asleep on the couch watching this boring game waiting for the real action to happen later on with Peyton Manning in prime time. Unless Cam Newton kicks it into Superman gear, the Panthers will struggle to score touchdowns.

Win: San Francisco 49ers, 16-12

Chargers @ Broncos

Rivers

I hate Philip Rivers’ stupid face. And he’ll always be a jackass who jaws at opposing fans like a child on a temper tantrum. Still, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t somewhat scared by the chance that San Diego will catch a lucky break with a Denver turnover on special teams. Plus, the Broncos defense has been merely average most of the year, and they’ll be without both Derek Wolfe and Von Miller. Fortunately, I expect John Fox to wisely feature the run with Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball with Peyton Manning surgically dissecting the San Diego defense when necessary. Just stay away from Eric Weddle because he’s the one true playmaker for the Chargers. Even though this could turn into a battle of each team’s RBs, I expect this match-up to post the second most points this week—since New England could rather easily go even as high as 50 on the Indianapolis defense. Ultimately, I think the year ends with the best 4 teams duking it out with the Patriots against the Broncos and 49ers against the Seahawks.

Win: Denver Broncos, 34-27

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