NFL Playoffs: AFC Divisional Round Preview
By Eric Roddy
While the NFC will provide two intense and close scoring games this weekend, it is the AFC Divisional Round games of this year’s NFL Playoffs are a little bit more enticing. The Indianapolis Colts travel to Mile High Stadium to face the Denver Broncos and former QB Peyton Manning. Andrew Luck will get a chance to further cement Indianapolis’ decision as the right one when moving on from Peyton a few seasons ago. Peyton will get a shot to beat his old team and prove otherwise. Then, in the other half of the AFC, the New England Patriots face their recently emerging playoff nemesis, the Baltimore Ravens, led by Mr. Playoffs himself, QB Joe Flacco.
Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots, SAT 4:35 ET NBC:
Even though the Pats have look darn near unbeatable in the past two months, they have always struggled against the Ravens. Joe Flacco is simply magic in the playoffs, compiling a 10-4 record in his first 14 post season games, which include a Super Bowl victory. But then there is Tom Brady. Tom Terrific. The most successful post season QB in history. And the Ravens have a weakened secondary. Sure they played well against the Steelers last week, but this is Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, in wintry Foxborough of all venues. Something tells me the Ravens postseason magic ends here for this season, especially since Flacco doesn’t have the same defense or running game that he’s had in the past. Look for Rob Gronkowski to have a big game too.
Prediction: Patriots 31 Ravens 20
Indianapolis Colts @ Denver Broncos, SUN 4:40 ET CBS:
What a match up. Post season football. Peyton Manning playing his old team, led by the young (but already successful) number one draft pick his old team chose to replace him. Two former #1 picks airing it out against each other. This is Peyton’s game to lose. The Broncos are overall just better than the Colts, on both sides of the ball. Peyton has the better receiving corps, running game, offensive line, and defense. But Andrew Luck has proven himself and has won games by himself. But Peyton has experience on his side, and home field advantage. It also helps that he has both Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas to throw to.
Prediction: Broncos 38 Colts 29