After waiting two weeks, New England Patriots fans will finally get to see their team play its first playoff game since losing in the divisional round of last year’s playoffs. Patriots fans (and the Patriots themselves) are hungry for a playoff victory, but standing in their way is Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos. Tim Tebow showed last week in upsetting the Steelers that he’s more than just a running quarterback and his passing ability can’t be ignored. Denver’s defense did a good job limiting the Steelers’ offensive opportunities and getting turnovers. Despite the Patriots being the favorites, Denver is not a team to sleep on.
Every game this weekend promises to be a good one. Let’s get to the game picks!
New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers (4:30 p.m. ET, FOX)
Jamie Pacheco: Saints. I don’t think that we’ll see the scoring fest we saw last week when the Saints played the Lions in a dome. The game is on grass and the Saints will have to try and overcome a stingy defense. The 49ers will keep it close but I can’t see them putting up enough points to beat the Saints.
Ryan Hannable: Saints. Interesting matchup with two teams with different styles, but I just can’t see the 49ers scoring enough points to win. They [49ers] have been settling for too many field goals.
Denver Broncos at New England Patriots (8:00 p.m. ET, CBS)
JP: Patriots. All the pressure to win is on the Patriots. They’re heavy favorites to win, the #1 seed for the second year in a row, and a loss would make it three-straight losses in their opening playoff game. Tom Brady’s got a laser-like focus right now and is determined to put the team’s playoff woes behind him. He’s going to have to be on, because the team lives or dies on #12’s arm. It will be closer than the Week 15 matchup in Denver, but I think the Pats pull it out.
RH: Patriots. I think the game will be closer than some people think (under 10), but in the end Tebow’s Time will come to an end in Foxboro. Brady and the offense will be too much to handle.
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS)
JP: Ravens. I’m not convinced that T.J. Yates has what it takes to beat an elite defense like Baltimore’s. The Texans’ defense will keep it close, but the Ravens will pull it out thanks to a solid game from Ray Rice (sorry, Joe Flacco).
RH: Ravens. The Ravens are built for the playoffs and I can’t see them losing to the Texans this week. In fact, they are my favorite to reach the Super Bowl from the AFC.
New York Giants at Green Bay Packers (4:30 p.m. ET, FOX)
JP: Giants. I’m going out on a limb here, but I like the way the Giants are playing right now. Just like in 2007, they’ve been in playoff mode since the regular season and have the defense to slow down the Packers enough to wear if Eli Manning and Brandon Jacobs stay hot, they can put up enough points to win.
RH: Packers. I think this will be the most competitive game of the weekend, but in the end the Packers will come out on top. Aaron Rodgers will be too much for the Giants defense to handle, although I think the game will come down to the 4th quarter.