Last week, I went 2-2 with my picks. Let's try to do better in the divisional round, which is supposed to ensure that Cinderella doesn't make it to the ball, but that doesn't always work......
Houston at Baltimore: Ok, so I underestimated the Texans in their first playoff game. Sometimes, however, there are growing pains. Not every 1st-time playoff team is going to run the table. Houston is playing a tougher defensive team this time in the Ravens, making it two straight games against the AFC North. I just don't see Houston surviving this time. Ravens, 27-24.
Denver at New England: Just a month ago, the Broncos went to Foxborough, and got whacked, sending Tim Tebow and friends on a 3-game skid that ended last week in the Wild Card round. The oddsmakers, showing absolutely no respect, have the Patriots as a 13 1/2 point favorite as of press time. It's going to be a different game this time. The media can waste their time genuflecting on Tom Brady, whom I believe is the most overrated QB in the playoff field, largely because he gets preferential treatment from the refs, mandated by the league office. If you don't believe me, try the infamous game that introduced us to the dreaded tuck rule vs. Oakland. The zebras and the league office needs to understand that the Star System needs to be abolished right now. No more coddling. No more putting endorsement deals ahead of the integrity of the game. As much as I'd like to see Tebow run the table, which would get him a booking on The 700 Club the very next night after the Super Bowl, the reality is New England will go the championship game, and no further. Pats, 31-30.
New Orleans at San Francisco: Once upon a time, these two teams were in the same division, and back then, the Saints were perennial also-rans behind the 49ers. As I indicated last week, Jim Harbaugh, in his first year as an NFL coach, is likely to win Coach of the Year honors for the amazing revival of the Niners, but anyone that thinks he'll make the Super Bowl, and a rematch with brother John and the Ravens, is dreaming. Not gonna happen. New Orleans is scorching hot right now, and the heat isn't going to die down on Saturday night. Saints, 31-17.
Giants at Green Bay: Last month, the Packers escaped the Meadowlands with a Mason Crosby field goal in the final minute, but that was after the Pack got the benefit of two bad calls by the officials, one giving them a touchdown that was questionable, the other denying the Giants one early that could've been the difference in the game. At the time, Green Bay was unbeaten, but then would lose their very next game, to Kansas City. Go figure. The NY tabloid press is in hyperdrive to promote the game, of course, but they're wasting time dreaming when reality makes more sense. Yes, the Giants are hot right now, and there are the comparisons to their run after the '07 season, which included Brett Favre's last game in Green Bay. If the game last month wasn't the receipt, this one will be. Packers, 38-35.