Another good week of football. We're down to 8 teams and may the best win.
Baltimore @ Denver - The next step in the Ray Lewis Retirement Roadshow goes to cold Denver. The snow/sleet has already fallen and by gametime, it should be brutally cold. A lot of people don't give the Ravens a chance to win because Manning has beat this team consistently over the years. I for one give the Ravens a good chance to win this one. They have a consistent running game and if Joe Flacco can have a good performance they win this one. Gotta keep Manning on the sidelines and they have to disguise their coverages. Manning isn't unbeatable, as a matter of fact he's 9-10 in his playoff career. The defense is going to have to get atleast 1 turnover (the more the better) and they are going to have to stop the running game. Pray for the 'good' Flacco.
Who to watch: Haloti Ngata, Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco, Dennis Pitta. Haloti and Ray are going to have to cause problems upfront for the Denver run game. The better Ngata plays, the better Ray plays. Nuff said. Flacco seems to find one receiver a game and stick with him. He's gotta spread it around and he's going to have to get Pitta involved against these Denver LBs. He can't just throw to Smith or Boldin the entire game. I'll throw Ray Rice in here too because he's going to have to run the ball and not turn it over like he did last week.
The Broncos come in on the longest win streak. They have the QB they wanted in Manning and they have a good ground game to go along with it. It will be cold and Manning doesn't play that well in the cold, so that's a concern. Did I mention this Denver defense? Well they are good too. They can rush the passer, stop the run and they do like to hit. They are the favorites and this ought to be a slobberknocker of a game.
Who to watch: Champ Bailey, Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. I picked defensive guys because Peyton should handle the offensive side of the ball. Bailey is going to probably cover Boldin and shut him down and then Miller and Dumervil are going to have to stop the run. Shouldn't be too hard for this team to get the win, but there's always a chance.
Winner: Broncos, but I'm a Ravens fan and I hope they find a way to make me look bad. I want this Ray Lewis retirement party to continue.
Green Bay @ San Francisco - This is going to be a game. The Packers travel out to the Bay to play the 49ers and they actually look like they are ready for this one. The Packers get their receiving corp back and they showed last game that they might have some semblance of a running game. The real question is can they keep Aaron Rodgers upright in the pocket? The Packers defense is healthy and we'll see if they can round back in form. I said last week that having Woodson back will help and I think that goes double in this game.
Who to watch: Aaron Rogers, the OL, the defense. I guess I should have just said the entire team, eh? The offensive line has to give Rodgers time against that 49ers defense. He has all of his guys back in the WR corp, but he needs time to get them the ball. Rodgers is going to need to have a big game in what I think will be a shootout. The defense is going to have to find a way to stop that 49ers running game and make Kapernick beat them.
The 49ers have to do what they've done all year, run the ball and play defense. I could play QB for this team with the squad they have. With that said, this game comes down to Kaepernick. He can't be the reason the 49ers don't win this game. If he is, there will be many who jump on Harbaugh about the QB change. I honestly think he did the best thing and actually has the opportunity to look like a saint if Kaepernick struggles and he brings in Alex Smith and he wins the game. No harm, no foul.
Who to watch: Kaepernick. I'm sorry to put it all on the kid, but he's just gotta maintain and make sure they win this game. It should be fun.
Winner: Packers in a mild upset.
Seattle @ Atlanta - The best game of the weekend. The Seahawks are coming into Atlanta with swagger and nothing to lose. Russell Wilson already has a playoff win and this team continues to win the way it was put together, defense and an offense that can capitalize. The this is probably the second most physical team behind the 49ers and they love to hit.
Who to watch: Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, and the Defensive backfield. Wilson has got to be the guy he's been all year long and make good decisions and not turn the ball over. Marshawn Lynch is coming in to this game with a sprained foot. I hope he's healthy, but he's gotta give this team his all. All week there has been talk about the matchups on the outside with these big WRs. Please don't forget Jacquizz Rodgers and Tony Gonzalez.
The Falcons come in with a lot of pressure on them. They have the monkey on their back about their postseason struggles and that is very real. They are going to have to start this game out strong on the fickle Atlanta crowd may turn on the home team. They have it all, a good ground game, Matty Ice at QB, a dangerous combo of receivers and homefield. Can they pull it off?
Who to watch: Tony Gonzalex, Matt Ryan, run Defense. Gonzalez is one of those last good guys playing this game for one reason and one reason only, a Superbowl ring. He will be a mismatch in that Seahawks secondary. Matt Ryan has got to lead this team. He's got to get this team moving and put up some points. The Falcons don't play the run well as a team, and if Marshawn comes to play, they gonna need to do that or they are staying home with a quickness.
Winner: I got the birds,....not the Durty ones though. Seahawks.
Texans @ Patriots - The Texans want this game, I mean when you have an opportunity to play Game 2 against a team that embarrased you a few weeks ago, you want the rematch. not much to say here, this team has to show up and play ball against the Patriots or this might be a breaking point for this team.
Who to watch: Matt Schaub. Yes, I'm putting it all on him. If he would have showed up last game maybe they would have been closer, but this is Schaub's time to show and prove. If Schaub plays well, this Texans team wins.
The Patriots still have Tom Brady as their QB, right? This team is getting healthy at the right time and they will be ready for a pissed Texans team. The Patriots are solid all around and they are always prepared. I wouldn't want to be the Texans.
Who to watch: Patriots defense. I want to see how they scheme to beat this Texans team. I say take away the run which would entail a good game by the big man upfront, but I also see them blitzing from their corner position because there's only one guy I gotta watch out for on the Texans as a WR.
Who you got?!?!?!?!?