Sunday, January 22, 2012

2012 Conference Championship Predictions


Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots

Sunday, Jan. 22 – 2:00 p.m. CT

Gillette Stadium (Foxboro, MA)

Baltimore linebackers Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs engineer an impressive effort to stymie the New England’s terrific tight end tandem (of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez). No matter, Tom Brady uses his trusty safety valve, Wes Welker, instead. Welker nabs 9 catches for 110 yards and a touchdown as Brady’s mighty Patriots offense continues to soar. New England tops the Ravens for its tenth straight win and a ticket to Super Bowl XLVI. Patriots win, 30-24


New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers

Sunday, Jan. 22 – 5:30 p.m. CT

Candlestick Park (San Francisco, CA)

San Francisco’s magical ride ends today. After a spectacular victory last week against New Orleans, Jim Harbaugh’s hard-hitting crew cannot halt the Giants. Eli Manning continues his torrid play and New York’s vaunted pass rush harasses Alex Smith into disarray. Manning throws for 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Giants advance to the Super Bowl. Giants win, 24-17.

** New York’s win also sets up a rematch of the 2008 title game, where Eli’s Giants wrecked the Patriots’ push at perfection.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

2012 NFL Divisional Round Predictions


New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers

Saturday, Jan. 14 – 3:30 p.m. CT

Candlestick Park (San Francisco, CA)

The 13-3 San Francisco 49ers enter its home contest with New Orleans this afternoon with the NFC’s top defense, limiting opponents to 308.1 yards and 14.3 points per game. The Saints, meanwhile, have the conference’s 12th-ranked defense. On offense, New Orleans comes in producing a blistering 7,474 yards per game (467.1 per game), tops in the NFC. San Francisco has the conference's 14th-ranked offense, posting a mere 310.9 yards per game. It will be an intriguing contrast of extremes when the teams square off at Candlestick today. In the Niners’ favor, the team is playing on its familiar grassy turf (where the Saints are far less effective than on artificial) and its strength meshes incomparably to the traditional football adage, “Defense wins championships.” Unfortunately for San Francisco, however, is that offense may be the new defense - which could especially be true considering the impeccably accurate Drew Brees and his vast assortment of offensive weapons. The Saints have rolled up more than 600 yards in each of its past two games (617 on Jan. 1 vs. Carolina and 626 vs. Detroit last week) … Behind the play of its elite inside linebacker Patrick Willis, San Francisco’s stingy defense will undoubtedly slow down the Saints’ production today. On offense, the Niners will hope to dominate the clock by giving the rock to stalwart running back Frank Gore. But it won’t be enough. Brees spreads the ball among his many targets and connects with favorites Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston for touchdowns, as New Orleans conquers and advances. Saints win, 27-10.


Denver Broncos at New England Patriots

Saturday, Jan. 14 – 7:00 p.m. CT

Gillette Stadium (Foxboro, MA)

There could be a major letdown this evening in New England when the Patriots host Tim Tebow’s Denver Broncos. Despite the Patriots being 13 ½-point favorites, this game is being billed as the most anticipated playoff game … ever. Why? What else? Tebow. Tebowmanina, Tebowing, Tebow Train, etc. The Denver quarterback is arguably the most polarizing player in NFL history, certainly this season at least. Just when it seemed Tebow’s mystifying flair for dramatic victories evaporated on Denver’s home turf in the wake of a 41-23 loss Dec. 18 – a loss followed by Tebow’s two worst games of his career (40-14 at Buffalo, 7-3 to Kansas City) – the Miracle Man has risen again. Tebow had his best game yet last week versus Pittsburgh, throwing for 316 yards, including a jaw-dropping, 80-yard game-winning touchdown to Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas on the first play of overtime ... Miraculous as that play, and Tebow’s season, might be, what about Tom Brady? Brady was the main reason for Tebow’s Dec. 18 demise. He passed for 320 yards and two touchdowns in that game, and rushed for a key late-second quarter TD followed by an emphatic spike in front of the Mile High faithful. So what about that guy who delivered Denver its first loss since Oct. 30? All the seven-time Pro Bowler has done is engineer eight straight wins and led to New England to the AFC’s top seed and home-field advantage for the playoffs. Brady is brimming with confidence and eager to put another dagger into Tebow fever. Patriots win, 34-20.


Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens

Sunday, Jan. 15 – 12:00 p.m. CT

M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore, MD)

Baltimore is looking to extend its perfect 8-0 home record to nine against Houston tomorrow. The Texans hope to build of its stunning 31-10 win at home last week in the team’s first playoff appearance ever. It will be an interesting battle, the NFL’s second-ranked defense (Houston) against the third-best (Baltimore). It’s also a battle of two of the most potent dual-threat running backs in football – Balitmore’s Ray Rice (1,364 rush yards, 76 recs, 704 rec yards) and Houston’s Arian Foster (1,224 rush yards, 53 recs, 617 rec yards). Houston also bears one of the league’s top receiving weapons in five-time Pro Bowl wider receiver Andre Johnson. This game will be a nip-and-tuck tussle, but home-field advantage and experience ultimately gives the edge to Baltimore. Ravens win, 20-17.

New York Giants at Green Bay Packers

Sunday, Jan. 15 – 3:30 p.m. CT

Lambeau Field (Green Bay, WI)

Coming off a dominant 24-2 win last week against the Falcons, New York is riding high and has suddenly become a fashionable upset pick in tomorrow’s game against the 15-1, Super Bowl defending Green Bay Packers. Added reasons for this is the Giants’ near upset of Green Bay earlier this season (a 38-35 loss on Dec. 4) and its resurgent pass-rush attack since then. Also, Eli Manning is having a banner year, passing for 4,933 yards and 29 touchdowns, and Victor Cruz has become an unexpected sensation at wide receiver - catching 82 passes for a franchise record 1,536 yards … But let’s not forget about Aaron Rodgers. For all the Drew Brees’ MVP talk, Rodgers passed for 4,643 yards and 45 touchdowns in 15 games this season, while completing 68.3 % of his passes with just six interceptions. Rodgers’ 122.5 quarterback rating this year is the best in NFL history. Plus he gets back his No. 1 weapon in wide receiver Greg Jennings – 67 receptions for 946 yards and 9 TDs before suffering injury in week 13. Rodgers and Jennings revamp their pass-and-catch chemistry tomorrow as the two lead Green Bay by New York in Lambeau. Packers win, 34-28.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2012 NFL Wild Card Round Predictions


Wild Card Round

SAINTS over lions

Everyone who’s expecting a high-scoring affair will not be disappointed. The Saints are 8-0 at home this season. Drew Brees has thrown for 2,624 yards and 29 touchdowns (to six interceptions) at a 72.0 % completion rate at the Superdome. Oh yeah, and the Saints have scored 41.1 points per game there this year. Needless to say, there’s something special brewing in the Bayou … Sorry, Lions. You’ve had a nice run but the roar ends here. Saints win, 37-27.

GIANTS over falcons

For wide receivers in the NFC, there’s Megatron (Detroit Pro Bowler Calvin Johnson) and there’s … Victor Cruz?! Johnson is having a mammoth year for the Lions, but guess who’s not far behind. Cruz, an undrafted rookie out of Massachusetts, caught 82 passes for 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns this season. Only Johnson yielded a higher yardage total than Cruz. Also, only Johnson had more 40-plus yard receptions (10) than Cruz (9). Lined up opposite Hakeem Nicks (76 receptions, 1,192 rec yards and 7 TDs), Eli Manning’s new favorite weapon has made New York a premiere passing offense … Atlanta has a nice passing attack of it’s own – QB Matt Ryan (4,177 pass yards, 29 TDs), WRs Roddy White (100 recs, 8 TDs) and Julio Jones (959 rec yards, 8 TDs), as well as a fine running back (Michael Turner – 1,340 rush yards, 11 TDs). But the Giants pass rush, featuring Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck, will provide New York the advantage in this one. Giants win, 27-24.


Wild Card Round

steel over BRONCOS

A hobbled Ben Roethlisberger is better than a healthy Tim Tebow. And having the league’s top defense in both points (14.2 ppg) and yards (271.8 ypg) allowed doesn’t hurt Pittsburgh’s chances as well. Roethlisberger manages to throw for 200 yards and a touchdown. But it’s back-up running back Issac Redman who takes the leading role in this game … Denver’s only shot in this game is if Tebow stays pick-free and keeps the game close down the stretch. Neither one happens. The Steelers D picks Tebow twice and Redman paces Pittsburgh’s offense with career highs in carries and yardage. Steelers win, 24-6.

bengals over TEXANS

It’s an exciting time for the players and fans of both these teams. Houston makes its first playoff appearance, ever. Cincinnati rebounds from a 4-12 season to make it to the postseason for only its third time since 1990. Both teams have stout defenses. Both have decent offenses with rookie quarterbacks. But Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton is better than Houston’s T.J. Yates. … On defense, the Bengals shutdown Yates and contain Houston’s dynamic running duo of Arian Foster and Ben Tate. On offense, Dalton works his chemistry with Bengals rookie WR A.J. Green, connecting with him for a clutch fourth-quarter touchdown to give his team the edge. Bengals win, 20-17.

NFL 2012 Playoff Predictions


Seeds: (1) Green Bay Packers (2) San Francisco 49ers (3) New Orleans Saints

(4) New York Giants (5) Atlanta Falcons (6) Detroit Lions

Wild Card Round

SAINTS over lions

GIANTS over falcons

Divisional Round

saints over NINERS

PACK over giants

NFC Championship

saints over PACK


Seeds: (1) New England Patriots (2) Baltimore Ravens (3) Houston Texans

(4) Denver Broncos (5) Pittsburgh Steelers (6) Cincinnati Bengals

Wild Card Round

steel over BRONCOS

bengals over TEXANS

Divisional Round

PATS over bengals

RAVENS over steel

AFC Championship

PATS over ravens

Super Bowl XLVI

Saints over Patriots

Sunday, January 1, 2012

NFL Week 17 Predictions


VIKES 24, bears 17

Jared Allen is a man on a mission. The Vikings' fiery defensive end is determined to dominate against the Bears today for two key reasons – a shot at the all-time NFL single-season sack record and the prevention of his team tying Minnesota’s franchise-worst 3-13 record. Allen anchors the defense and Percy Harvin has a big day on offense and special teams as the Vikes prevail at home.

lions 27, PACK 23

These past two weeks Matthew Stafford has passed for a combined 764 yards and 7 touchdowns with zero interceptions. The Detroit QB continues his hot play at Lambeau today as the Lions defeat Green Bay.

niners 24, RAMS 3

San Francisco’s stock continues to rise as St. Louis’ continues to plummet. The Niners roll past the Rams and into the playoffs as the NFC’s No. 2 seed.

Jets 21, FINS 14

Coming off a pair of disappointing losses, the Jets still have playoff hope. Reggie Bush has rushed for more than 500 yards in Miami’s last four games. With Bush out with a knee injury today, his team will sorely miss him. The Dolphins’ loss is New York’s gain as the Jets get the win in South Beach.

PATS 27, bills 17

Tom Brady leads New England to a three-touchdown lead at halftime as the Patriots cruise past Buffalo to claim home field advantage in the AFC playoffs.

SAINTS 34, panthers 27

Drew Brees continues his MVP-worthy season today against Carolina. The Saints quarterback tacks on another 300 yards to his single-season NFL record passing total and New Orleans defeats Cam Newton’s Panthers in an offensive showdown in the Bayou.

EAGLES 30, skins 17

Philadelphia gives its fans an appetizing preview for next season as the Eagles blow by the Redskins to end its season on a high note with four straight wins.

JAGS 20, colts 16

In an otherwise disappointing season in Jacksonville, Maurice Jones-Drew carries home the NFL rushing crown today as the Jags top the Colts at home.

TEXANS 17, titans 14

In preparation for its first playoff appearance, Houston’s defense picks off Matt Hasselbeck and stymies Chris Johnson to end its regular season with a win.


FALCONS 38, bucs 17

The bumbling Buccaneers end its despicable season on a 10-game losing streak as the team is crushed by its division foe Falcons in Atlanta today.

BENGALS 20, ravens 17 (in OT)

In a nip-and-tuck defensive battle at Cincinnati, the Bengals secure a playoff spot by edging Baltimore in overtime.

steel 16, BROWNS 6

The Browns finish their season with a spirited effort at home today. But Pittsburgh’s defense is just too strong for Cleveland’s feeble offense to overcome. The Steelers get the win and nail down the AFC’s No. 2 seed.

chiefs 21, BRONCOS 17

Kyle Orton returns to Denver today and capitalizes on his chance to exact revenge on his former team. Orton’s Chiefs beat the Broncos, dampening its division foe’s playoff hopes.

chargers 24, RAIDERS 20

San Diego bounces back from a disappointing effort in Detroit last week as the Chargers defeat the Raiders in Oakland today.

Hawks 23, CARDS 20

Similar teams square off in Arizona this afternoon as the Seahawks face the Cardinals. Both teams had been hot down the stretch, but both teams were officially knocked out of playoff contention last week. In an evenly matched game, I’m giving the edge to Marshawn Lynch and the Hawks.


GIANTS 34, boys 30

It should be an exciting NFL regular season finale in New York tonight, where the Giants face the Cowboys. In this installment of a heated division rivalry, the winner goes to the playoffs and the loser goes home. The Outcome? Eli Manning outduels Tony Romo as the Giants discard Dallas and earn the NFC East crown.