This is the time of year both football fans and non-football fans get excited about. The divisional playoffs. For football fans the four remaining teams from each conference square off just three weeks away from the Super Bowl. For non-football fans, just three weeks away from the Super Bowl and the end of the football post season.
There are some interesting match-ups among the eight teams playing this weekend:
The early game pits the resurgent San Francisco 49ers against the high flying New Orleans Saint. Record setting quarterback Drew Brees comes up against the Jim Harbaugh coached team that only allow one rushing touchdown this year.
The Saints have an outstanding offense with one of the best Tight Ends in game Jimmy Graham.
The 49ers have played some excellent football and they return to the playoffs for the first time since 2003. This game will be an uphill slog for the Saints and I pick the 49ers to win.
The Saturday evening game pits the Denver Broncos against the New England Patriots. If you can get past the Tebow Time storyline, and it hard to do so, unless you're a football atheist, the Broncos play a pretty good quarterback by the name of Tom Brady.
The Patriots haven't a won playoff game in half a decade and have lost three straight. They are, in my opinion, a much more mentally tough bunch of athletes than previous teams. Also, there is the MHK factor, MHK being the late Myra Hiatt Kraft, who passed away after a battle with cancer this past summer.
Myra Kraft was an interesting lady. When her husband Bob, bought the Patriots, her major concern was how this leveraged purchase was going to affect all the philanthropy she had supported in the community. As the Patriots grew in stauts and revenue, the Kraft family has been one of the most generous benfactors for non-profit causes in New England.
The Patriots team commissioned an oil painting dedicating their season to her memory. when the Patriots were down 21-0 to Buffalo two weeks ago, Bob Kraft asked his assistant to put the painting in the Patriots locker. Buffalo score no more points, and the Patriots scored 49.
I think the Patriots win this game.
Houston travels to Baltimore to take on the Ravens in the early game. Can a rookie quartback play mistake free and keep the Texans in the game long enough to win? Can Joe Flacco have a breakout performance as the Raven quarterback? Can Ray Rice have a career day? Can Arian Foster keep the Ravens offense of the field? Can the Ravens defense play big or play small? I have no idea. I like the visitors in both games on Sunday and I pick the Texans. Ray Lewis's best games are behind him
The Giants travel to Green Bay to take on the Packers. Aaron Rodgers hasn't played in three weeks. This games feels like Super Bowl XL. Giant won that one, they'll win this won.