Who will play next Sunday? Saturday, the 12th of January will see two terrific games, hopefully. The early afternoon game features the Baltimore Ravens in Denver to face the Broncos.
Denver has had a week off while Baltimore was at home last week hosting the Indianapolis Colts. With linebacker Ray Lewis announcing his retirement at the end of the season, the emotionally motivated Ravens easily defeated the Colts. They face a much tougher team in Denver. The Broncos, led by future first round Hall of Famer, Peyton Manning, have improved throughout the season on both sides of the ball. Baltimore’s defense is improved, but is still a facsimile of its once great self. Baltimore’s offense is a two pronged attack with Ray Rice as its driving force. Joe Flacco’s ability to throw long passes, along with Rice’s ability to run the ball, are their tools for victory.
Denver has no discernable weakness. Their defense will pressure Flacco with aggressive pass rushers Dumerville and linebacker Miller. Champ Bailey will be waiting for a chance to intercept the long ball. With the resurgence of Knowshon Moreno at running back, Peyton Manning has a more balanced attack and will keep the Ravens defense guessing.
With the game being played in Denver, and the Broncos having a small edge on offense and defense, Denver will win 31-13.
The later game has the Green Bay Packers traveling to San Francisco to challenge the 49ers. Green Bay is finally healthy and showed they were playoff ready last week easily defeating the Minnesota Vikings. Aaron Rodgers has all of his weapons, but the outcome of the game will most likely be the result of how well the defense performs.
San Francisco had a week off to rest and heal. They rely on an aggressive defense that will have to contain Rodgers. Colin Kaepernick has once again made the offense a multi-faceted threat.
This should be a high scoring game. San Francisco, with home field advantage, should prevail 35-31.
Sunday’s results will complete the schedule for Championship Sunday next week.
The early game has the Seattle Seahawks at the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons had the best record in the NFC and are rested and ready. The key for Atlanta to win the game rests on their ability to run the ball. If Turner can attack the Seahawks excellent defensive line, Matt Ryan will be able to throw the ball to his talented receivers.
Seattle defeated the Washington Redskins last week in the Nation’s capital. Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson plays until the final whistle. Marshawn Lynch peaks in the playoffs, and should have a good day against the Falcons running the ball.
I see a possible upset and will predict the Seahawks win, 24-17.
The final game will see the Houston Texans returning to New England to battle the Patriots. Week 14 saw the Patriots crushing the Texans 42-14 at home. The key to the game will be in the hands of Wade Phillips, Houston’s defensive coordinator. If they can pressure Tom Brady, led by defensive lineman JJ Watt, and control the clock, they will go to the championship game. Arian Foster has to have 25-30 touches and control the ground game. If Foster runs well, Matt Schaub will have time to complete passes when he needs to.
Again, a minor upset, Houston 35, New England 28.
Exciting games, we hope. Enjoy, and don’t eat “healthy”. This is football!
Columnist-The Guardian Express