I promise to project this round objectively.
It’ll be hard, because I really want to see my Patriots win everything this year. But it is something I have to do to make this post worth reading.
Before we get into that projection…
NFC: New Orleans at Seattle 4:35 p.m. ET (Fox)
Seattle throttled the Saints in their 34-7 victory back on a Monday night in December and, looking at these rosters and the way both teams have been playing, it is hard to argue that anything different will happen.
The Saints barely beat Phili last week and I don’t think they have the offensive line to allow Drew Brees the time to get into a groove.
Two bets: Marshawn Lynch goes for more than 150 yards and Brees throws multiple interceptions.
Seattle 31, New Orleans 16
AFC: Indianapolis at New England 8:15 p.m. ET (CBS)
New England favors much better against Indy then they would have versus Cinci. The Colts, who ralled to beat the Bengals in a shocking wild card matchup, are playing outside the dorm in what will assumedly be frigid temperatures. Factor in that and the assembly of running backs that New England can feature (Blount, Ridley, Vereen and Bolden) and it is hard to build an argument for the Colts (outside of taking advantage of New England’s depleted defense) to win this game.
New England controls the clock and rushes for more than 200 yards as a team.
New England 34, Indianapolis 21
NFC: San Francisco at Carolina 1:05 p.m. ET (Fox)
Carolina had a statement win in their 10-9 win versus San Francisco earlier in the season and will go into this game with the intent to prove that the win was not a fluke.
Both teams share a bunch of similarities: strong running games, dynamic athletes at quarterback and some of the stingiest defenses in the league. It really could go either way.
The way I see it going – the interesting way – is a San Fran win leading to a showdown in Seattle versus the Seahawks.
San Fran 24, Carolina 23
AFC: San Diego at Denver 4:40 p.m. ET (CBS)
While the Patriots fan in me would love to see Peyton in the playoffs, this is a hard matchup for the Broncos. While they split the season series with the Chargers, the Broncos’ defense was torn up on the ground the last time the Chargers played them, allowing 177 yards on the ground on 44 carries.
The difference in this game is whether the Chargers will be able to run the ball or if Peyton will get multiple chances to make things happen.
I think it will be the former.
San Diego 30, Denver 27