Observations, Past Results
SAINTS @ SEAHAWKS
2013 Meeting: Week 13 @ Seahawks. Seahawks 34, Saints 7
Both teams are better than when they played in the 2010-11 Wild Card matchup. Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has given this team a defensive presence that they’ve lacked since their last Super Bowl win. Because of that defense, the Saints are better equipped to handle bad-weather games and playoff football.
This won’t become another 34-7 slobber-knocker. Regardless, the Seahawks advance for a conference championship that should a feature a grueling defensive showdown with… (to be determined later).
COLTS @ PATRIOTS
2013 Meeting: Not Available
Very tough to win at New England. The Patriots aren’t fielding their best offense and their defense has a lot of key injuries (Brandon Spikes will miss the playoffs). It won’t matter much in this contest. The Patriots have a far more talented roster and they’re not blowing a big lead. Patriots with high confidence.
49ERS @ PANTHERS
2013 Meeting: Week 10 @ 49ers. Panthers 10, 49ers 9
I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve picked against the Panthers…and been wrong. I keep thinking they’re one tier lower than the elite teams. Then they beat those same teams. None of their wins surprised me more than their Week 10 victory against a hot 49ers team, 10-9.
Playing on the road won’t affect the 49ers; they’ve won in harder venues (at Atlanta last season, even falling behind 17-0 and still winning). The question is whether the 49ers can contain a Panthers defense that had six sacks in the last matchup. Unlike the Green Bay Packers, the Panthers have no trouble containing the edge and playing against mobile quarterbacks.
Like most Panthers games, expect this one to come down to the closing minutes. Cam Newton has shown that he can make the final plays to secure victory. So has Kaepernick. This game may come down to who has the football last. In the end, the 49ers aren’t losing to the same team twice. Not without a win in-between them (e.g. Seahawks).
CHARGERS @ BRONCOS
2013 Meetings: Week 10 @ Chargers. Broncos 28, Chargers 20 … Week 15 @ Broncos. Chargers 27, Broncos 20
The Broncos are 9.5-point favorites despite losing a Week 15 battle in Denver and keeping it below that margin of victory in Week 10 (Broncos won 28-20). How will the Broncos defense respond without Von Miller? Peyton Manning has a history of not playing his best in playoff games. Divisional rivalries tend to have unpredictable results.
Expect a close game. A Chargers upset isn’t impossible, although it’s unlikely. Manning gets out of the AFC Divisional playoffs and prepares for another “Tom Brady vs Peyton Manning” conference championship showdown.
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