Last week, Tim Tebow prevented me from claiming a winning record in my 2012 NFL Playoffs Picks And Predictions piece, and this week I am taking it personal -- by rooting for him! Overall, I am sitting at 40-36-2 on the season and 2-2 in the playoffs. So, without further delay here are my divisional round picks and predictions:
New Orleans Saints (-3 1/2) at San Francisco 49ers (Sat., 4:30 p.m. on FOX): The host 49ers (13-3) have a solid defense that can stop Drew Brees and the Saints (13-3). However, this is one of those playoff games where a surprise team during the regular season (San Francisco) loses because a veteran squad like the New Orleans just knows what to do.
Predictions: Saints 28, 49ers 24.
Related: More Playoff Predictions
New England Patriots (-13 1/2) vs. Denver Broncos (Sat., 8:00 p.m. on CBS): Here we go. Tim Tebow and the Broncos (8-8) get a shot to avenge a Week 15 loss against the Patriots (13-3). Now, if Mr. Tim Tebow can toss the ball around like he did against the Pittsburgh Steelers and running back Willis McGahee can run the ball and not turn it over, Denver has a shot because we know the Pats' pass-rush and secondary isn't outstanding -- plus a running offense is a perfect way to keep a high-octane offense like the Patriots off the field.
Meanwhile, the Broncos defense needs to show up and keep the game close. If that happens, I feel that Denver can pull this one off.
Predictions: Broncos 24, Patriots 21.
Predictions: Ravens 28, Texans 3.
Green Bay Packers (-7 1/2) vs. New York Giants (4:30 p.m. on FOX): What about the G-Men? Well, this is the perfect example of what I felt about the Giants (9-7) all season because I am going with New York outright with the upset over the Packers (15-1). Why?
Well, all season long the Giants knew how to play down to their opponents, but when asked to play up to solid opponents they did so and did it pretty well. New York has the best pass rusher to slow down Aaron Rodgers and for some reason running back Brandon Jacobs has decided that he wants to play football again.
Lets not forget about Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who seems to become a big-time player in these situations, and his new found weapons in wide receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks.
Plus, this team remind me so much of the 2007-08 squad that won the Super Bowl -- finished the regular season 10-6, didn't look great all season long, but was able to turn it on when it counted.
With all of that, I am convincing myself to go with the upset and the Giants.
Prediction: Giants 30, Packers 28.
Playoff record: 2-2. 2011-12 overall: 40-36-2.