|Wes Welker high-stepping to the end zone.|
New York Jets at New England Patriots
Sunday, January 16th, 2011 - Gilette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
It's funny with all the trash-talk going on between the Jets and the Pats this week that there hasn't been much talk about how New York will rebound from a 45-3 baptismal at the hands of the Patriots in Week 13. If I was a Jet I wouldn't want to talk about it either. New York coach Rex Ryan can say that the matchup is between him and New England coach Bill Belichik, and it is, because Ryan will need to throw some new wrinkles in the game plan this time around, because, obviously, nothing they did last time really worked. On defense, New York cornerback Darrelle Revis did a bang up job last week against the Indianapolis Colts, holding Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne to only one catch for one yard. But Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and the rest of the Jets secondary will have their hands full with the Pats very diverse passing game, which has been sparked by rookie tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will have to keep his feet in the pocket as Ryan and the Jet D will probably send pressure at him similar to that of the first matchup between the two teams this season, a 28-14 Jets win in Week 2. On offense, the Jets will still try to pound it out on the ground with healthy doses of running backs LaDanian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene, and rely on timely passes from quarterback Mark Sanchez (who wasn't extremely accurate in the Wildcard playoffs, but made big plays in the 4th quarter).
Pick: Patriots, 27-20
Key to game for Jets: Take the ball out of Brady's hands by running the ball on offense and controlling the clock. Send exotic blitz packages to confuse Brady and force him to throw before he wants to.
Key to game for Patriots: No 3-and-outs on offense. The longer the New England defense is on the field, the better it plays into the hands of the Jets' gameplan.
NFC Divisional Playoffs
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons
Saturday, January 15th, 2011 - Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
|Packers must slow the powerful Turner.|
Pick: Packers, 27-24
Key to game for Falcons: Don't let the Packers receivers get behind you. Rodgers will kill you with the vertical ball, especially with guys like Greg Jennings, James Jones, Donald Driver on the receiving end.
Key to game for Packers: Slow down Falcons running back Michael Turner. The Green Bay D allowed Turner to rush for 110 yards and a touchdown in the Week 12 matchup.
AFC Divisional Playoffs
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
Saturday, January 15th, 2011 - Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
|Flacco must know where #43 is on every play.|
Pick: Ravens, 20-16
Key to game for Steelers: Same as every matchup with Baltimore, keep Flacco guessing where the blitz is coming from.
Key to game for Ravens: When Roethlisberger is to be had, bring him down. Big Ben is the best in the league at making something out of nothing.
NFC Divisional Playoffs
Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears
Sunday, January 16th, 2011 - Solider Field, Chicago, IL
|Beast Mode part 2 will be less likely against the Bears D.|
Pick: Seahawks, 21-16
Key to game for Bears: Score when in the redzone . . . touchdowns.
Key to game for Seahawks: Stop Matt Forte out of the backfield. Force Jay Cutler to make plays in 3rd-and-long situations.