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Saturday, January 14, 2012

NFL Playoff Predictions: Divisional Round



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New Orleans at San Francisco.  Saturday at 4:30 on FOX.  San Francisco was at home resting and watching as the Saints destroyed Detroit in their opening round game last weekend.  The Seers in the Desert have installed the Saints as a favorite on the road.  The Saints are really rolling.  No doubt.  And Drew Brees absolutely shredded the ballyhooed Lions defense last week.  But this game won't be played in the raucous Superdome.  And, the Niners have two things that the Lions did not have.  The Niners have a more consistent and more disciplined defense.  And, more importantly, the Niners have the kind of running game that can keep the ball out of Drew Brees' hands.  The Niners will today that their 13-3 regular season record was no fluke.  Banshee prediction:  Niners 21, Saints 17.




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Denver at New England.  Saturday at 8:00 on CBS.  Before I give any analysis, I need to issue a warning.  If you do online banking or have treasured photos saved in the cloud ... back up your data.  If Timmy Tebow leads his team to victory tonight, the Twitter explosion will cause the Internet to melt down.  But, I think the Internet is safe.  Tom Brady is just too good.  And, unlike Big Ben last week, the Golden Boy is healthy.  Last week, the Broncos surprised the Steelers with deep throws early in the game.  Well, that won't come as a surprise to the Patriots this week.  As usual, the Patriots have 37 players listed as "questionable" on the injury report, but Patrick Chung will undoubtedly play.  That will sure up the Pats D against those schoolyard deep routes.  I think the Broncos will score enough to stay competitive, but in the end the Patriots will advance.  Banshee prediction:  Patriots 31, Broncos 21.



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Houston at Baltimore.  Sunday at 1:00 on FOX.  The Texans played well last weekend in a blowout of the Bengals.  But, the Texans benefitted from some terrible coaching decisions by Marvin Lewis.  They won't get that break from Harbaugh and the Ravens.  The Texans defense will play well enough to keep the score low, so the game will remain in doubt till the end.  The Ravens defense is getting older.  It is not the fearsome force that it was a few years ago.  But, with age comes experience.  The savvy Ravens will confuse the Texans rookie QB T.J. Yates into a big mistake that will change the game.  Banshee prediction:  Ravens 17, Texans 14.



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New York at Green Bay.  Sunday at 4:30 on FOX.  The Giants are the sexy pick amongst talking heads and pundits.  I know all about the similarities between the this Giants team and the one that won the Super Bowl in 2008.  And I know that Eli Manning is playing great football right now.  And I know that the Packers defense has been vulnerable to the run at times.  But, I also know that the Packers are the defending Super Bowl champions.  They are healthier this year than they were last year.  And I also know that the Packers went 15-1 during the regular season.  The Packers will play enough defense to give their powerful offense the cushion it needs.  Banshee prediction:  Packers 35, Giants 21.