My picks to win are in bold.
Note: The Thursday night game between the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers has been excluded.
New York Giants @ San Francisco 49ers
Tough game but Giants offense will be the difference.
New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons
Saints struggle on the road and Falcons have finally gone back to the run.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals
Andy Dalton has played well, but he hasn’t faced a defense like the Steelers yet.
St. Louis Rams @ Cleveland Browns
Browns are horrendous on offense. Steven Jackson and Brandon Lloyd should have huge games.
Buffalo Bills @ Dallas Cowboys
Cowboys are without Miles Austin, and Bills want revenge after suffering a beatdown at home.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts
MJD should run for miles.
Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs
Tebow will find a way to get the dubb.
Washington Redskins @ Miami Dolphins
Dolphins aren’t as bad as their record says they are.
Arizona Cardinals @ Philadelphia Eagles
No DeSean Jackson but this is a must win.
Houston Texans @ Tampa Bay Bucs
Gerald McCoy is out for the season. Not good against the league’s best rushing attack.
Tennessee Titans @ Carolina Panthers
Chris Johnson has been nonexistent.
Baltimore Ravens @ Seattle Seahawks
Seahawks commit too many turnovers.
Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears
Bears are playing tremendously on both sides of the ball.
New England Patriots @ New York Jets
Tom Brady is 0-2 on the road against Rex Ryan’s Jets.
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers
Should be a shootout, but Vikings can’t hang with Rodgers and co.
*Last Week: 8-6
The defending Super Bowl champs haven’t made much noise on the free agent market but that’s because they really didn’t have to. Aaron Rodgers is a legitimate MVP candidate while Clay Matthews leads one of the NFL’s most feared defenses. With all that being said, the Packers play in a tough division, have a pretty rough schedule, and have offensive line issues. However, I still think they’ll come away with the division crown.
Key Arrivals – none really, get back Ryan Grant and Jermichael Finley from injury
Key Departures – Cullen Jenkins, Nick Barnett, Brady Poppinga, Daryn Colledge, Korey Hall, Brandon Jackson, Donald Lee
Prediction – 11-5/First in NFC North Read more…
Packers @ Bears
There’s no secret between these two divisional foes. The Packers and Bears know each other inside and out. I think this will be a relatively low scoring affair as a sloppy Soldier Field, hasty weather conditions, and two aggressive defenses will make their mark on this game. The Packers are hot, plain and simple. But at the same time, the Bears were the ones that won their division; the ones that earned a playoff bye and home field advantage, and yet are being somewhat disrespected in the eyes of the media. I think this game will come down to two matchups. The first being the offensive line of the Packers versus the defensive front of the Bears which includes the likes of Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, and Julius Peppers just to name a few. The second matchup being between the quarterbacks, Rodgers versus Cutler. Who will get the most protection? Who will make the clutch throws? Who will protect the football? In my opinion, the quarterback that answers these questions will go onto the Super Bowl and I think Aaron Rodgers will be that guy.
Packers win 21 – 17
#6 Packers @ #1 Falcons
The Falcons escaped with a narrow 3-point win at home against the Packers in their regular season showdown, and I see the playoff matchup between these teams will pretty much follow suit. Aaron Rodgers earned his first playoff game last week on the road in hostile Philly against the Eagles. He’s carried the Packers for the entire season, especially during the last few weeks, but I see that all coming to an end against the Matt Ryan led Atlanta Falcons. ”Matty Ice” has only lost twice at home in his entire career and although I think this will be another grind-it-out game that comes down to the last second, I’ll give the slight edge to Ryan and the Falcons. The Falcons have had a knack for coming away with the “W” in close games as they have an impressive 6-2 record in games decided by 6 points or less this season.
Falcons win 26 – 24
#4 Seahawks @ #2 Bears
The Seahawks come into this game with absolutely no pressure on them yet again as nobody thought they would even make the playoffs, let alone beat the defending champs and play in the NFC Divisional Round. Seattle actually beat the Bears in their week 6 matchup, but I don’t see the same result this time around. The Seahawks will face a much tougher defense in the Bears then they did last week when they beat the Saints. I think it’s safe to say that Marshawn Lynch will not break 8 tackles en route to a 60-plus yard td run and Matt Hasselbeck will not throw 4 td passes against a very stout Bears defense. The only concern I have about the Bears is with quarterback Jay Cutler, who’s the epitome of recklessness and inconsistency. This will be Cutler’s first ever playoff game and while I do think he will make mistakes, in the form of a pick or two, I don’t think the Seahawks will be able to capitalize on them against the Bears’ strong defense.
Bears win 23 – 14