The Opinionated Spectator…My NFL playoff divisional picks

Ben Roethlisberger, Elvis Dumervil
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) passes as Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil (58) pressures in the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Had the Pittsburgh Steelers played moderately well and won last week, I would have a perfect record in the playoffs.  However, since they collectively decided that they wanted to give a giftwrapped win to the city of Baltimore in the fourth quarter, I have a blemish on my record.
It was as if the Steelers said, “Ravens, you have had a hard year with the Ray Rice scandal and everything. We are going to let you have this one.”
Alexis Cobb medium shot
Alexis Sara Cobb

It boggles my mind at how poorly the Steelers played. But then again, the game was a microcosm of their schizophrenic up and down season. I originally had the Steelers advancing another round, beating Denver, and playing the Patriots in the AFC championship. Of course, I knew the bi-polar gold and black team would lose to the Patriots. But, who could have predicted that the Steelers would be feasted on by a purple, Ebola-ridden bird two weeks early?
So, now I must discuss this Ravens game which, in my thinking, should have never been scheduled. Shame on you Pittsburgh! Shame on you!
Darrelle Revis, Golden Tate
In this Nov. 23, 2014 file photo, New England Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) defends against Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate, right, in the second half of an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass. Revis’ skills will be on display Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015, when the Patriots host the Baltimore Ravens in a divisional playoff game. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File).

Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots
The Baltimore Ravens are fully capable of beating the New England Patriots in New England on Saturday. In the playoffs, Joe Flacco plays like a man hungry for his next meal and he is not intimidated by the road. In fact, he thrives in playoff  road games. Also, Terrell Suggs seems to have made a deal with the devil and has stolen Ray Lewis’ fierce and competitive soul.  Currently, Baltimore is loose and nobody is expecting much from them and that’s when they play their best. The Ravens are fully capable and adequately equipped to win in New England but the Ravens will lose. Here’s why. Tom Brady. Tom knows that years like this do not come very often. Brady is getting older and he is tired of wasting time. He knows that this is the year to win a championship. He is not going to lose this game to Ravens. When looking at the Patriot’s season, the Patriots won 10 of their last 12 games. And if you want to be fair, their last loss was the last game of the season against the Buffalo Bills where the Patriots starters didn’t play in the second half to avoid injury. I have never liked Bill Belichick or his cut off sweatshirts but he will have his team primed and ready for this game. I’m going with the Patriots on this game.
Andrew Quarless
Green Bay Packers’ Andrew Quarless (81) celebrates his touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers
If there is an upset game this weekend, this might be it. Dallas played hard last week against the Detroit Lions and they finally got a taste of a playoff victory. Granted, they had some pretty significant favorable calls that went their way to accomplish the task. Regardless, a win is a win. Also, Dallas is an excellent road team this year. They have gone 8-0 on the road.
Of course, Green Bay has gone 8-0 this year at home.  Therefore, those records cancel each other out. However, the x-factor in this game is the slot receiver Randall Cobb. He had 12 touchdowns and over a 1,200 yards receiving this year. Defending a slot receiver is one of the Dallas Cowboys’ major weaknesses. They let slot receivers run haywire.
Also, Aaron Rodgers is a beast even though he has a calf injury.  He has had two weeks to rest and watch film. He may not be 100% but an 80% Aaron Rodgers is better than a 100% Tony Romo.  Plus, his boys play hard for him. They will try to protect him at all cost. This is going to be a close fought battle where I’m giving the win to Aaron Rogers and his gimpy leg. I’m picking the Green Bay Packers to win this game.
Terrelle Pryor
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Terrelle Pryor runs for a touchdown against the San Diego Chargers in the second half of a preseason NFL football game, Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks
Cam Newton was a hero last week. He made good decisions and he played well. It’s a shame that nobody is going to talk about his performance against Arizona in the off season. Instead, he is going to have to suffer people talking about Seattle’s defense and how they cut off his running lanes.
People will discuss how Seattle made Newton try to beat them with his arm. They will talk about how the noise disrupted the Panthers offense and how the Panthers picked up penalties and wasted time outs.  Of course, Carolina thinks they can beat anybody right now so it’s not inconceivable that Carolina plays well enough to keep it close in the first half.  But the Carolina Panthers will not beat the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle at Century Link Field.
The Seahawks defense has been watching film, resting and waiting for the opportunity to come and play. They have been waiting for the chance to defend their championship. Plus, Russell Wilson has so much poise that he allows his men to play with confidence. Just know, that you are going to see Pete Carrol’s smile at the end of this game. Seattle wins this game convincingly.
Emmanuel Sanders, Cody Latimer
In this June 16, 2014 file photo, Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (10) calls out to wide receiver Cody Latimer (14) during an NFL football organized team activity at the team’s training facility in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

Indianapolis Colts vs. Denver Broncos
This whole game revolves around Peyton Manning. Either he plays well and they win or he falters ever so slightly and the Broncos lose. Originally, I had the Broncos losing to another opponent in these playoffs. But I’m convinced Denver will beat the Colts. However, none of my reasons for their win are football reasons. Frankly, the Colts have been playing better than the Broncos in the second half of the season. However, if you think that Peyton is going to let his former team come into his new comfy home and win then you are putting a lot of faith in Andrew Luck.
I don’t have that kind of faith in Andrew Luck or the Indianapolis Colts. Also, the Broncos have a decent defense who should be able to make enough plays to disrupt the Colt offense. I am not even picking the Denver Broncos. I am picking Peyton Manning to win the game. In fact, I might just order a Papa John’s pizza after the game to celebrate the victory.
So, I have done something that you are never supposed to do. You are never supposed to pick all the home teams to win during a playoff weekend. But I just have a gut feeling that this is the week where the home teams strap it up and play winning football.
Plus, I will finally get to root against Andrew Luck and Tony Romo!  Do you know how difficult it was to root for them last week? Thank God that’s over.
Home teams, I just have one question. WILL YOU PROTECT YOUR HOUSE?
Playoff  Record: 3-1
(Sources for this article was ESPN.com and NFL.com)
Alexis Sara Cobb may be reached at:  alexiscobb@ascexec.com or (724)561-8082  Follow her on Twitter: @alexissara

Comments

From the Web