The Old Man’s Picks – Divisional Round 2012

The Old Man should have picked Saturday’s game and forgotten about Sunday. What looked to be a clean sweep turned into a .500 weekend. I really thought the Falcons were getting their act together and the Broncos…honestly, who saw that coming? This weekend there will be some hard hitting action as the road to Indy becomes less crowded. Let’s see what this weekend has in store.

New Orleans Saints (-3.5) at San Francisco 49ers – 4:30 PM Kickoff Saturday Afternoon

Brees will face a tough defense this week when he plays the 49ers.

It’s high powered offense versus a very stingy defense in what should be a very entertaining game. Last week it took the Saints about a half of football to wake up. Once they did wake up, the game was over. The Saints showed why I believe they should be the favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl at this point. The 49ers have a tall task in front of them.

Not only do they have to stop the Saints O, they need to put up points as well. For the season, the 49ers scored 35 touchdowns and scored 380 points. This from the very mild NFC West. The Saints? 66 touchdowns and 547 points.

You’ve all heard the phrase defense wins championships and, for the most part, I agree. But this season has been the year of the offense. The Saints win this one on the road. They won’t  put up as many points as they did last week, but they won’t need to. Saints 27 49ers 17.

Denver Broncos (+13.5) at New England Patriots – 8 PM Kickoff Saturday Night

Okay how many of you had the Patriots hosting the Broncos? No, for real? That’s what I thought. Outside of Tebow’s not many. I know I picked the Steelers last week to win, but The Old Man was cheering loudly for the Broncos.

How could you not? Listen, whether or not you think Tebow can throw the ball or grasp a “real” offense, you gotta admit, the kid is a winner and he is fun to watch and he is a true football player. This week the Broncos travel to New England to try and avenge their earlier loss to the Patriots. I think the Pats will take a hard look at the Steeler/Bronco game and you won’t see them crowding the line as much. Look for deeper zones and forcing the ball underneath.

I think they’ll give up some yardage, but the key will be the Pats making the Broncos settle for 3′s instead of TD’s. On the offensive side of the ball, the Patriots have so many weapons. Ohcostinko, wait…not him, but most every other offensive player for the Pats is a threat to score at any moment. I think this will be a high scoring game and playoff experience and Brady’s play in big games will be the difference. I think the Pats win 38 to 20 BUT I’ll be rooting for the Broncos!

Houston Texans (-7.5) at Baltimore Ravens – 1 PM Kickoff Sunday Afternoon

The Texans are coming off their first playoff win in franchise history. Will they get a second? I don’t think so. In week six the Ravens beat the Texans 29 to 14 and the Texans were at full strength, meaning Matt Schaub was under center.

Rodgers will face off against Manning and the Giants for the second time this season.

In that first game the Ravens held the Texans to under 100 yards rushing and I think they’ll be just as dominate against the run this week. Baltimore is primed to make a serious run to the Super Bowl and I look for them to play the Pats for that right on January 22nd. Ravens win this one 24 to 10 and move one step closer to Indy.

New York Giants (+7.5) at Green Bay Packers – 4:30 PM Kickoff Sunday Afternoon

The Giants have played stellar defense the last three weeks and they remind me of a certain team who had to win to get into last years playoffs and that team was….the Green Bay Packers. I really think the Packers are a bit worried here, and they should be.

They still have some injuries on the offensive line and the Giants can take advantage of those weaknesses. Eli and company are clicking on offense as well. The Packers have had a couple of weeks off. In fact, they took the Indy Colts route and rested most of their starters in week 17.

We all know that came back to bite the Colts. The weather is supposed to be a balmy 22 and partly cloudy and the Giants are an outdoor team, so that’s not a factor. Too many things in the Giants favor. Call me crazy, UPSET SPECIAL, the Giants to win this one 31 to 28.

See you next week for the Conference Championships!