Here we are with just three weeks of game remaining. While fans from Candlestick to The Meadowlands (Okay, maybe not) have a lot at stake here, I am fearful of having to get a tattoo of a rabbit or a half-shaved head if Nick Slegel continues the run that he is on lately.
Meanwhile, Jessica Kleinschmidt may have been eliminated from winning this friendly competition, but she ranks above nearly every single ESPN expert during since eDraft started doing this a few weeks back. Hold your head high Jessica, you are going places.
Okay, not that I am done with the proverbial "era of good feelings," it is time to kick some serious butt this week.
| Home || Away || Jessica || Nick || Vincent |
| Denver (13-3) || Baltimore (11-6) || Denver || Denver || Denver |
| San Francisco (11-4-1) || Green Bay (12-5) || San Francisco || Green Bay || San Francisco |
| Atlanta (13-3) || Seattle (12-5) || Atlanta || Seattle || Seattle |
| New England (12-4) || Houston (12-5) || New England || New England || New England |
San Francisco 49ers: Let me just tell you, I probably wrote this prediction about four times, because my pro/con list was so back and forth. Either way, it’s going to be like Christmas when these two teams share the field this weekend. Not just because of the jersey colors, but let’s admit it, we love a Colin Kaepernick and Aaron Rodgers matchup. I legitimately am so excited for this game. I feel like such a girl. Well you know what I mean.
I’m just going to come out and say it. In my gut, the 49ers will take this game. It’s a home-field advantage, they are well rested (which could also hurt them), but the mentality of San Francisco is pretty phenomenal and I know they have a lot of confidence going into this game. But it is the playoffs and anything can happen.
Denver Broncos: Well if you read my articles religiously (and I know you do), you would know I went against my long time team the Ravens in hopes of them proving me wrong and taking the Colts in a victory. Well they certainly proved me wrong, and a lot of other people. Ray Lewis could have just walked out, did his famous dance, and that would have been it. You still would have been impressed. Game was ridiculous to say the least. Anquan Boldin and Paul Kruger (2.5 sacks) showed up in full force and made their presence known, and I’m sure Kruger made Andrew Luck cry. His mouth guard did resemble a pacifier if we are going to be honest.
That electrifying confidence should carry into next week’s game against a tough Denver Broncos. Now, the Broncos; they don’t suck. Even when Peyton Manning is talking in his Buick, you genuinely want to watch him drive, because you know it’s going to be great. The factors that the Broncos have on their side are: this game is taking place at Mile High Stadium, Manning is a damn unicorn with 4659 yards and 37 touchdowns under his belt, and he has Willis McGahee and Demaryius Thomas on his side.
Baltimore has Lewis’ athletic ability and passion (he also points at you and you want to curl up in the fetal position), Boldin and Torrey Smith’s catching abilities, and Hey Diddle Diddle Ray Rice. I’m going to pick the Broncos to win this game. I don’t think too many people would argue here. The Broncos are such a solid team and can get this win. And I also picked Baltimore to lose last week, and look where that got me.
Atlanta Falcons: Both of these teams are hot. Not AJ McCarron girlfriend “hot,” but pretty hot. Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch came to work and dominated all over Robert Griffin III and the Redskins. We can’t forget that Griffin was Superman playing through his knee injury. Have to give the man respect.
This game coming up is going to be a tough one for Seattle. Wilson doesn’t have the experience to make it past his last game against the Redskins to further the Seahawks in the playoffs. Matt Ryan and the Falcons, have a number one seed in the NFC and they’re home. They should take this win.
New England Patriots: We were all pretty pumped the last time these two teams met up during Monday Night Football. We were pretty let down. It was not as intense of a matchup as we expected.
For this game, it may be a slightly different case since it is playoffs and the Houston Texans have been struggling lately, and it will be a home field advantage for the Patriots.
As much as you love to hate Tom Brady, you know you own a pair of Uggs and you know having Rob Gronkowski on your team doesn’t hurt either. Matt Schaub and Arian Foster won’t be walked all over so don’t expect a blowout, but the Patriots will take the win in this game.
Denver Broncos: In Week 15 the Broncos easily handled the Baltimore Ravens 34-17. Peyton Manning is incredibly good in the postseason, and home field advantage is a huge plus for the Broncos. Having Ray Lewis back is a big difference maker for the Ravens though, so this should be a much closer game than last time.
Green Bay Packers: This is going to be an amazing and crazy close game. The San Francisco 49ers have a far superior defense and a better running back. Plus quarterback Collin Kaepernick is a dual threat on the ground and through the air; something the Packers' defense has struggled with this season. But, I think the difference will be Aaron Rodgers' postseason experience and 5-2 record over Kaepernick making his first career playoff start. Don't forget Green Bay went into Atlanta and torched them on the way to their 2010 Super Bowl win. The Packers win by three.
Seattle Seahawks: I already covered this in-depth earlier this week so here's the short version: Seahawks have the superior defense and running back, plus Russell Wilson's ability to run will be too much for the Atlanta Falcons' defense.
New England Patriots: The Houston Texans looked much better last week against the Cincinnati Bengals; but the Patriots, with a healthy Rob Gronkowski, are just way too good for Houston to beat, especially at Gillette Stadium.
Denver Broncos: Peyton Manning going up against Joe Flacco at home with a trip to the AFC Championship Game on the line. How in the world could I pick against the future Hall of Fame quarterback. While I will not go as far to do that, I will say that Ray Lewis will play another important role in this one. He will utilize that passion and heart to get Baltimore's defense up for the challenge of facing Manning. In the end, Denver comes through on top in a much closer game than most people anticipate.
San Francisco 49ers: Jim Harbaugh doesn't lose at home that often. He is also leading a rested team against a Green Bay Packers unit that struggled in their win over the Christian Ponder-less Minnesota Vikings last week. These two teams are as evenly matched as you can get, but I have to go with the Candlestick Park factor here. Yes, that is a thing. Expect Colin Kaepernick go toe-to-toe with Aaron Rodgers and come away on top in his first postseasons start. It also helps that San Francisco will have a certain Justin Smith back for this one.
Seattle Seahawks: You really cannot gauge Seattle's win over the Washington Redskins last week due to the fact that Robert Griffin III was playing near about 10 percent in that game. I will say that Russell Wilson impressed my after falling behind 14-0 early on. Expect Seattle to ride this wave of success to the NFC Championship Game. Meanwhile, Matt Ryan will continue to face the skeptic following this game after falling to 0-4 in the playoffs.
New England Patriots: In realtiy, this game shouldn't even be that close. Tom Brady has wont about 90 percent of his home games in December and January. Meanwhile, Matt Schaub is coming off his first career postseason start, a lackluster one at that. Unless Arian Foster goes off for 150-plus yards and two scores, Houston will go down relatively easy here.