Implied Dissent

Saturday, January 14, 2012

NFL Playoffs, Round 2

A pretty good Round 1, going 3-1 both picking winners and against the spread. The Broncos game was a lot of fun, as was the Saints win. Moving on:

New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers, Saints favored by 4. I understand why the Saints are favored on the road. They have a great passing attack, and an excellent running game, and it's hard to get excited about QB Alex Smith for San Fran. However, the 49ers have a great defense, and the Saints offense isn't anywhere near as good on the road as at home. The Saints won't be blown out, and could win in a blowout or a close one, but I think the 49ers use their own excellent running game to good effect and they win the turnover battle, and so win a close one. I almost want to predict it goes to overtime, 20-20, but I won't. 49ers 23, Saints 20.
Denver Broncos at New England Patriots, Patriots favored by 14. The Patriots certainly can score a lot of points on anybody, even a very good defense like Denver's. However, this line is too high. The Patriots defense is somewhat underrated, but is still fairly bad, and will allow the Broncos to put up enough points to keep it interesting. Moreover, I expect Denver to run the ball so much that it reduces the number of possessions, and thus limit the total score somewhat; if the Pats score 2/3rds of the points in a 60 point game, they'd cover, but it will probably be more like 60% and 50. Patriots 30, Broncos 20.
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens, Ravens favored by 9. You've basically got two defenses that are close to equal (slight edge to Houston) and two running games that are close to equal (slight edge to Baltimore), but a decent coaching advantage for the Ravens, home field advantage for them, and a better and more experienced quarterback. Ravens 24, Texans 13.
New York (NJ) Giants at Green Bay Packers, Packers favored by 9. I expect that Green Bay's offense will struggle at first, given the bye week and that Aaron Rodgers sat out week 17 completely. It may take a quarter, it may take a whole half, but the Packers will start to score like Magic Johnson the rest of the way. Meanwhile the Giants offense will be good but not great, as the Packers' D is like the Pats' D, bad but underrated. Packers 34, Giants 23.

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