With all of the coaching madness going on in the NFL, it is hard to remember that we still have three weeks of football left in the 2013-2014 NFL season. After a wacky Wildcard weekend, this weekend’s Divisional Round games will separate the best from the rest. Four games. Four fantastic and familiar match-ups. Let’s take a look.
New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks, 4:35 PM ET, FOX:
The Saints finally got that monkey off their back after winning on the road in Philly last weekend. While Drew Brees struggled early, he bounced back and played a better second half. However it was the Saints Defense that surprised everyone, giving up just 24 points to the Eagles. They face an entirely new opponent in the Seahawks though. Look for the Seahawks to pound Marshawn Lynch for over 24 carries. Couple that with Russell Wilson’s play making abilities in open field, a tenacious Seattle Defense, and the 12th man. The Saints are in over their heads. Drew Brees will have to play a perfect game in order for the Saints to pull out the win, and I just don’t see that happening. Lynch will run for over 100 yards on the ground and a TD, and the Seahawks’ D will intercept Brees twice, one for a TD.
Prediction: The 12th man makes it tough for anyone to play in Seattle. Seahawks win 24-17.
Match-up to watch: Saints’ DC Rob Ryan vs. Seattle’s Russell Wilson. Keeping Wilson in the pocket is the key. I will be watching to see the different schemes and looks that Ryan gives Wilson. If Wilson beats the Saints a couple times with his legs, it will open up both the running and passing lanes. If that happens, look out New Orleans.
Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots, 8:15 PM ET, CBS:
Is there a luckier quarterback in this league than Andrew Luck? Was Indy’s 28 point come back a stroke of Andrew Luck or a meltdown of time management by Andy Reid and the Chiefs? Regardless, there is no denying that the kid can play. Who is that other QB for the Pats though? Oh yea, it’s Tom Brady. I am going to go with experience on this one. Brady will throw for over 250 yards and 2 TD’s, but it will be the New England running backs that steal the show in this game. The seemingly endless depth of Patriot backs total over 150 yards rushing and combine for 2 TD’s. Luck will put up his usual numbers. I predict the young QB to actually throw for more than Tom Brady (over 300 yards) and 2 TD’s. But he will also throw two costly interceptions. Brady may not have the typical “Tom Terrific” stats in this game, but he will play more efficiently and get the victory.
Prediction: New England beats Indy with the running game, 34-27.
Match-up to watch: NE’s Danny Amendola vs. Indy’s Defense (on third down specifically). Stopping Amendola is key for this Colts D. Look for Brady to target Amendola often, especially on third down.
This weekend should provide us with four very exciting and very close games. As we approach season’s end, it will be interesting to see which teams are able to overcome their adversities, and which teams will prevail in the 4th quarter.