Coach Belichick and the Patriots have had problems with Baltimore in their postseason career; will they exorcise that demon this time around? ("Family Guy," '3 Acts of God,' 3/16/2014)

With the Divisional Round here, it’s time for the top teams of the season to play. New England and Seattle each face hungry teams, Peyton Manning faces his replacement again and Dallas faces Green Bay in an Ice Bowl rematch. All four games should be very hard-fought and competitive.

On our panel, three of the four contests were picked unanimously, while the fourth was much closer in the selections. And while Seattle and Carolina projects to be a tactical, defensive game, the others should see the ball aired out more.

As before:

  • Successfully picking the winner of each game is worth two points.
  • Picking the total number of touchdowns scored by both teams COMBINED in each game is worth one point if guessed to within one, or two points if guessed exactly right.
  • Picking the total number of yards thrown in each game by WHICHEVER quarterback throws the most is worth one point if guessed to within 50, or two points if guessed to within 10, or five points if guessed exactly right.

So with that, picks are below, and check back Sunday night for the results. Continue reading 2014-2015 NFL Playoffs Expert Picks: Divisional Round »

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One of the surprises of the NFL season was the emergence of Ravens running back Justin Forsett. Forsett, who had bounced around several teams before landing in Baltimore, saw his chance early in the season in the aftermath of the Ray Rice domestic violence situation. Forsett seized the moment, running for 1,266 yards and eight touchdowns. He also averaged 5.4 yards per carry, which was good for one of the best marks in the league. His mix of power and speed as well as vision makes him difficult for the Patriots to defend. The Ravens offensive line has also done a good job opening holes for him and they show no signs of slowing down.

Most games are won and lost in the trenches and this week’s game will put the play of the Patriots’ defensive line into even greater focus than normal. If the Patriots allow Forsett to run as he has throughout the season they will have a tough time getting off the field, and it will open things up for the Ravens passing attack. There are two players above the rest that will need to play well for the Patriots to slow Forsett down: Vince Wilfork and Sealver Siliga.

Wilfork has been the anchor of the Patriots defense for a decade and the Patriots will need all of his 6’2” 325 pound frame to clog the middle of the line. Siliga is also 6’2” and hovering around 325 pounds next to Wilfork. Siliga missed eight games while on the Injured Reserve/Return list but has been healthy for the last four games. In the nine games that Siliga missed, the Patriots gave up an average of 122 rushing yards per game. That number nose-dived to 87 yards per game in the month of December once Siliga returned to action. Siliga and Wilfork together will need to push the middle of Baltimore’s offensive line back and come up with tackles for losses or force the Ravens to bounce runs outside. This will also mean Rob Ninkovich, Akeem Ayers, Chandler Jones, and Dont’a Hightower will need to be stout outside and in the second level.

The Patriots cannot miss tackles and allow Forsett to gain yards after contact. Forsett has to be met at the line of scrimmage and forced to move around before hitting the hole. If the Patriots can accomplish this, it will go a long way towards limiting his effectiveness. Alan Branch could also factor into stopping Forsett as well as being a key rusher up the middle. Wilfork and Siliga will not be able to play every snap so Branch will have to perform when he is called upon. Forcing the Ravens to be a one-dimensional passing team will allow the Patriots vaunted secondary to shine. This is the first postseason in nearly a decade that the Patriots will have a distinct advantage in the secondary against nearly any team they will play. However, if they do not stop Forsett, that advantage will not be as useful.

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Baltimore finally defeated Pittsburgh in the postseason, but now they have to pull off several more upsets to get back on top. (http://www.onwravens.net/)

The first round is complete. Detroit gave Dallas a run for their money, while Baltimore finally got a postseason win over Pittsburgh. Carolina became the second team out of two with a losing record to win a playoff game, while Indy took down a Cincy squad that still struggles in the postseason.

The AFC produced a tougher time for our panel, through guessing touchdown totals and yardage helped inflate point totals some more. Plus, there’s plenty more chances to get more points in future rounds.

But for now, updated results are below, and check back on Saturday for the Divisional Round picks. Continue reading 2014-2015 NFL Playoffs Expert Picks: Wildcard Round Results »

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Carolina will host a playoff game despite having a losing record; can they pull off a big upset or two and make some noise in January? (http://fliptroniks.com/)

The playoffs are finally here. Things kick off with a losing team (Carolina) against one working on a third-string quarterback (Arizona). The Lions have made it back in, while Pittsburgh and Baltimore face off in the AFC (always a great game). With how long it took to settle so many spots, this should be a very good postseason to watch.

To that end, we’re here once more to bring you our selections for how the postseason will turn out, starting with the Wildcard Round. Only one game was picked unanimously, while two others were relatively clear to our panel, and the final game being much closer.

For our Pick ‘Em, scoring is as follows:

  • Successfully picking the winner of each game is worth two points.
  • Picking the total number of touchdowns scored by both teams COMBINED in each game is worth one point if guessed to within one, or two points if guessed exactly right.
  • Picking the total number of yards thrown in each game by WHICHEVER quarterback throws the most is worth one point if guessed to within 50, or two points if guessed to within 10, or five points if guessed exactly right.

So with that out of the way, our selections our below. Results will be presented following the conclusion of the Wildcard Round. Continue reading 2014-2015 NFL Playoffs Expert Picks: Wildcard Round »

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2014 NFL Expert Picks: Results

December 29, 2014 at 10:10pm in Featured, NFL, Now!, Opinion, Patriots
"Pro Wrestling," NES

The NFL season is over, and what a season. Just the second losing team has made the playoffs. Every other playoff team racked up at least 10 wins. Plenty of rookies made large waves, and plenty others barely made a ripple. Half of the divisions were decided in Week 17. After such a great season, it’s time for a playoffs that should be even better.

But that’s for next weekend. For now, it’s time to present the results of the regular season Pick ‘Em. With so many pieces and seeds decided so late, it made for a great contest that was anyone’s games. So without further ado, the winner of the 2014 NFL Pick ‘Em is… Continue reading 2014 NFL Expert Picks: Results »

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Just two games remain in the season. Still, though, several teams remain alive. Even in the NFC, with the way so many of the best teams are playing, one loss means the difference between #2 and #6. In the AFC, the strong North Division, Johnny Football excepted of course, is threatening to put three teams in the postseason, though plenty of other teams a game behind are looming. The AFC has locked up three division winners, while only one playoff spot is clinched in the NFC so far. With so much to decide, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Tuesday, December 16: Continue reading If the Playoffs Started Today – NFL Week 15 »

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Cardinals vs Patriots: Week 14's prediction for the Super Bowl

Just three games remain in the season. No one clear contender has emerged, and the AFC Wildcard hunt could especially turn upside down in the next three weeks. The AFC South will now mathematically be won by a team that finishes .500 or worse. Despite leading the NFC, questions remain about Arizona’s ability to compete with the best in their current state. The Rams, with two straight shutouts, are poised to be a really big spoiler. With December football set to be as great as always, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, December 10: Continue reading If the Playoffs Started Today – NFL Week 14 »

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