Ravens @ Patriots
Kelen: Now that I’ve started out terrible, I’m going to say some crazy things. Ravens went to Pittsburgh and won a playoff game for the first time in three tries. The Patriots overcame Tom Brady hitting rock bottom early in the season to finish as the number 1 seed in the AFC. I kind of like these Ravens. I hate the Patriots.
Winner: Patriots. The rest helped them get healthy and I don’t see them falling at home.
Anthony: The Ravens defense can hold their own against the Patriots, but New England’s offense has gotten better as the season progressed. LaFell was finally able to reach a comfort zone with Brady to give him a good complement to Gronkowski. Part of me wants to go with the Ravens as well, but I think you’re right that New England won’t fall at home. I’m going with the Patriots.
Panthers @ Seahawks
Kelen: The Panthers are hot at the right time. The Seahawks have returned to the winning form that propelled them to their Super Bowl last season. In the past three seasons, the Seahawks hold the edge over the Panthers at 3-0, despite all the games being in Carolina.
Winner: Cam has been playing great and so has the defense, but I’m confident the Seahawks are headed back to the NFC Championship game.
Anthony: The 12th man will play a huge factor in this game. The Panthers don’t have enough weapons in my mind to come up with a win on the road. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart handcuff each other too much in games to get a hot hand. Seattle will move on.
Cowboys @ Packers
Kelen: The Cowboys escaped Dallas thanks to the Lions being the Lions and blowing an early lead. The Packers haven’t lost at home this season; the Cowboys haven’t lost on the road. Oh, and Aaron Rodgers has a slight tear in his calf.
Winner: Dallas. And I’m saying this now: the Cowboys will win the Super Bowl. Remember how the Yankees won the World Series in 2009 but haven’t done anything since? They give me that kind of feeling. And Rodgers injury is at the worst possible time.
Anthony: Bold statement saying the Cowboys will win it all, however, it is something that Romo needs to get the monkey off his back, so to speak. Rodgers may have the injury, but he’s also at home and in a system he’s really, really comfortable in. Plus he has Lacy, who has played extremely well since the Packers bye week.
Remember what I said about Dallas’ secondary last week? It applies even more this week because Green Bay has more depth at receiver. I like Green Bay in this one, even with Rodgers’ injury.
Colts @ Broncos
Kelen: The Colts did just enough to beat the Bengals (and to think I picked them) and didn’t look very impressive at all. The Broncos got a week to rest and to heal up. If the Broncos stick to their running game like they have been, CJ Anderson should have a field day on this porous Colts defense. If it comes down to a shootout though (one can hope), don’t count Andrew and crew out.
Winner: Broncos. I feel like Andrew Luck is still in his due paying stage and needs one or two more beatdowns from the better AFC teams in the playoffs. Trust me, it’ll build character.
Anthony: I believe this will be the game of the week. The Colts have a lot of weapons and can score in bunches, even if it’s only for a half of the game. I think the defense is also a little underrated. Yeah, they give up points, but they do enough to keep the game within striking distance for the offense.
However, they are on the road against Peyton Manning, who seems to have more weapons than North Korea & Afghanistan combined. Plus the Broncos defense is slightly better doing the same thing that the Colts defense can do. The Broncos win this week in a game that will probably come down to one possession.