As much as I bragged last week as to how good I was for the
first week of the playoffs, I was just as awful picking the games for
the division rounds. I went 0-4 against the numbers and 2-2 straight
up. Such is the life of an NFL prognosticator. My high was very short
lived. And I expected it to be. Baltimore was the big upset winner last
week. Some thought a victory was possible, but most thought that Denver
would win fairly easily. They probably should have, but any team can
win on any given week. The Patriots winning was no surprise, but many
thought the outcome was going to be a little closer than it was.
Atlanta needed a win in their game to set the fans minds at
ease. They almost blew a comfortable lead, but Matt Ryan and the
offense made some big plays down the stretch. And the 49ers looked like
world beaters, with Colin Kaepernick turning in an unbelievable
performance. Since that big win, many now think that the 49ers are the
favorite to win the Super Bowl. They just might have the right mix on
both sides of the ball to be crowned champions. But that is why they
play the games.
As always, home team in CAPS.
San Francisco 4 ATLANTA
The Falcons are a home underdog, so that tells a lot. It goes to show
that some don't trust the Falcons at all, even at home. They can be a
little soft, and they did nearly blow a big lead last week. And Matt
Ryan has won only one playoff game in his career, which would be last
week's. The Falcons have played very well at home all year though.
Something tells me that they are similar to last year's Houston Texans,
a team just happy to be where they are. They won a playoff game, and
that is a start. The 49ers looked really good last week, and Colin
Kaepernick was unstoppable. The Falcons defense is a little better than
Green Bay's, but I think Atlanta will have a lot of issues containing
San Francisco's offense. Many people have considered the 49ers to be
the best overall team in the NFL since the middle of the season. I
think they will prove it here.
NEW ENGLAND 9 1/2 Baltimore
This was an unexpected opponent for the Patriots, and now they are
blessed with a home game. That doesn't necessarily mean they will win
however. The point spread seems very high considering the history of
these two teams. I don't think the Ravens have lost by nine points to
the Patriots in recent history. Baltimore could be the healthiest they
have been in some time, and their offensive line is playing very well.
New England will not have Rob Gronkowski, but they have been able to
score very often in his absence. I don't think they will have any
problems scoring, but unfortunately for them I don't think Baltimore
will either. Joe Flacco has been very good in the playoffs so far, and
the team as a whole has a lot of momentum and emotion right now. So
much, in fact, that I think they win this game. The Patriots are still
relatively young in many areas. The Ravens are cagey old veterans. The
Patriots have had their time and might again soon. But the Ravens time
is right now.
Record For Divisional Round: 0-4 ( 2-2 without the
Record For Post Season: 4-4 ( 6-2 without the
Jim Poore has been a long time contributor to
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