NFL Picks: Broncos and Pats should cruise

Published 1:58 pm Thursday, January 10, 2013

Last week, I spent much of this blog devoted the hyping of the Minnesota Vikings and how they were going to go into Lambeau Field and pull off a shocker.

Then Christian Ponder decided not to suit up for the game. While I don’t think it made that much of a difference — the Packers played as good as they held Adrian Peterson in check – but I’ve never seen a quarterback look more overmatched than Joe Webb did in the first half of that game.

It’s hard to believe the Vikings weren’t expecting Ponder to start going into the game and you have to wonder how much time Webb had to prepare with the first stringers.

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Here are the picks:

Baltimore at Denver

The Ravens held their goodbye party for Ray Lewis in Baltimore last week and it’s probably a good thing they did, because they won’t be going against a rookie quarterback this week. They’re going against a rejuvenated Peyton Manning and Broncos team that hasn’t been tested in weeks.

If the Ravens can somehow hurry Manning they’ll have a shot, but I don’t see that happening.


Green Bay at San Francisco

As strange as it sounds, I’m almost glad this game is playing played away from Green Bay. The 49ers look like an old school grind-it-out football team and the Packers are a team that relies on airing it out. The cold weather probably would hurt the Pack more than the49ers.

The 49ers put up 30 points in the week one matchup of these teams, but Green Bay was starting Jarrett Bush, who his well known for his failures on defense, at corner in that game and standout rookie defensive back Casey Hayward was barely scraping the lineup.

The Green Bay running game has also grown from useless to decent over the past few weeks, so Aaron Rodgers shouldn’t be under constant pressure like he was in the team’s first meeting.

The final factor is Collin Kaepernick. I just don’t trust a second year quarterback with a handful of starts under his belt under the bright lights and pressure of a home playoff game.

PACKERS 27, 49ERS 20

Seattle at Atlanta

Is this the year Matt Ryan finally wins a playoff game?

The Seahawks came into the playoffs on fire, but they had a little trouble putting away the Redskins even though Robert Griffin III was playing on one leg.

It’s sometimes easy to forget that the Falcons have one of the better offenses in the NFL because they don’t get the media hype. Buy I think that will be the defense.

Seattle will focus on the speed of Julio Jones and Roddy White and Michael Turner and Tony Gonzalez will take over underneath.


Houston at New England

The Texans didn’t show much in squeaking by the Bengals. The Patriots should have their way with them.


Playoffs: 2-2; overall: 149-99