Only 4 teams left and two great games this weekend. Let's see what my picks are looking like this week.
Baltimore @ New England - The Ravens travel to New England to face possibly the hottest team in NFL. Tom Brady had a monster game against the Broncos and it made everyone forget about the holes in this team. Six touchdowns can do that. We do know that the Patriots have Brady, Welker, and the best two tight ends in the game, Gronkowski and Hernandez, and basically not much else. The defense leaves everyone wanting and have been described as the worst pass defense in the history of football. Somehow it doesn't stop the Patriots from winning.
Against the Ravens, the Patriots have to keep the pocket clean and allow Brady time to make decisions and pick this Raven's defense apart. I don't think that they have to run the ball that much, because their short passing game is nothing more than a run game. If they get about 100-120 yards on the ground, I think they beat the Ravens. I'm still not sure how you stop that two TE set because they cause so many match up problems.
The Ravens come in with question marks. As they have all year long, the Ravens have to find the right mix of play calling. Ray Rice is the piece that stirs the pot, but they also have to have Flacco throw the rock to keep that defense honest. The issue has been and continues to be, how much can they trust Flacco? He's had his good and bad games that leave everyone, including his teammates wondering. If Flacco can have a good game against the worst passing defense in the history of the NFL, this should be an easy game for the Ravens.
On defense, the Ravens are solid and will need to get to and hit him often. Brady is good but has shown a level of frustration when you hit him on a consistent basis. If he has time to sit back there, the Ravens might get 30+ points put on them. Not sure how they handle the two TE sets, but they will have to be physical with both of them and hope that they can disguise coverage to make Brady make a few mistakes.
In the end, I gotta stick with the team that I came with,.....Winner - Ravens.
New York Giants @ San Francisco - The 49ers come off an improbable win against the Saints. They played a helluva game and they surprised many the way they won. I personally thought this was the best game that Alex Smith has ever played. The 49ers banged the Saints with the run until they finally got a big one late in the game. Smith was hitting receivers in stride and he had to mind meld with Vernon Davis because they were reading each other's thoughts.
The 49ers defense played the way they have all year long. They played hard and they hit. I mean they really hit you when you get the ball. I swear I saw Ronnie Lott out there last week in that secondary, but it was Whitner. They get pressure up front and that limits the amount of time you have to get the ball out. The Giants offensive line is going to have problems.
The Giants have the perfect mix of run and pass where they should win this game. As long as Bradshaw holds on to the ball and Jacobs stops tiptoeing through the line, the Giants should be able to set the tone. Heavy run and then Eli (Nicks, Ballard, and Cruz too) can take over from there. On the defensive side of the ball, not much needs to be said. I think the Giants front four make us remember Alex Smith of two or 3 years ago.
In the end, I don't trust that Alex Smith can have another game like he did last week and I unfortunately have put all of my eggs in to the NYG basket. Winner - Giants.
Who you got?!?!?!?