Saturday, January 21, 2012

Championship Sunday Preview & Picks

Haz Bey
After my perfect weekend last week, my post season record is now 6-2.  I nailed all 4 games last week, but picking the games this week will be even harder, because all 4 teams left in the tournament are worthy of going to the Super Bowl.  Here we go!

Last Week's Picks (4-0)
Post Season Picks (6-2)

AFC Championship Game

Ravens @ Patriots
The Baltimore Ravens are no stranger to winning in Foxboro in the playoffs.  Handing the Patriots a 33-14 butt-kicking 2 years ago in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs.  The ran running back Ray Rice right down there throats and New England never recovered.  Ray Lewis and Ed Reed led the defense that day and forced Tom Brady to get rid of the football early, causing New England's offense never to find it's rhythm.  The Baltimore Ravens will go into New England with the same game plan, only difference is, they didn't have to face the tight end tandom of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.  The duo combined for 23 touchdowns this season and help Tom Brady and the offense accumulate the most yards throughout a season in New England Patriots history.  They have proven to be unstoppable and I do not think that Joe Flacco and his handle-bar mustache will score enough points to keep up with Brady and his "All-World" tight ends.  Brady is so focused at the task at hand and I am pretty sure he hasn't forgot about the 33-14 whipping the Ravens put on him 2 years ago.
Patriots Win 31-16

NFC Championship Game

Giants @ 49ers
The 49ers won in dramatic fashion last week at home against the Saints.  Scoring 2 touchdowns late in the 4th quarter to with the last coming with 9 seconds left on a touchdown pass from Alex Smith to Vernon Davis, proved that the 49ers will fight until there is triple zeros on the clock at the end of the game.  They have an intimidating, physical defense that has knocked out 6 running backs this season alone.  They have a running back in Frank Gore that is a load to deal with.  Most importantly they have a coach that has them believing that no team out there can outplay them.  Jim Harbaugh has taking the same roster that Mike Singletary once said, "I can't win with them, I won't win with them, I want winners!", all the way to the NFC Championship Game in his rookie season as head coach.  Their reward for reaching the title game is the New York Football Giants.  The G-Men are on a mission.  Their defensive line hasn't been this healthy in years.  Last time they were this healthy, they bruised and battered Tom Brady and the Patriots on their way to winning the Super Bowl.  Eli Manning is now an elite quarterback.  After taking outshining another elite quarterback in the playoffs, Eli is calm, cool & collective going into Sunday's match up with the 49ers.  With both of his running backs healthy as well as the receiving core, Eli will be primed to make his second appearance in the Super Bowl and he will get his chance.  Alex Smith is the key to the game.  The 49ers quarterback has to be better than he was last week against the Saints.  By better, I mean converting 3rd downs and moving the chains consistently all game.  I do not trust with the Giants' pass rush that Smith will get it done. 
Giants Win 27-17

There you have it.  I am predicting a rematch of Super Bowl 42.  Patriots and Giants.  Both teams have the best quarterbacks left in the tournament and both of them will lead their respective teams the big game on Super Sunday.  Have fun watching, because I know I will.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Divisional Round Preview & Picks

Haz Bey
Last week I completely nailed the NFC picks going 2-0 with accurately predicting the Saints would score 45 points in their win, but as far as AFC picks went, well that's another story. So here we go. These are my picks for this weekend's games. 

Haz Picks This Post Season (2-2)


Broncos @ Patriots
The absolutely hardest game to pick for me this season. You would think the mystic of the Patriots led by Tom Brady and Bill Belichick would be too much to handle with the inexperienced Tim Tebow led Broncos coming into town, but there might be more than meets the eye here. Denver has the kryptonite to that high powered offense of New England and that's a tough, physical running game. The Ravens and the Jets respectively had similar offenses that led to 2 New England losses in their last 2 home playoff games. In their earlier regular season match up, the Broncos were able to rush for 200 yards in the 1st quarter alone. Look for that trend to continue in this weeks match up. Tim TeBow and the offense will also have to not turnover the football like they did in the first match up. Denver committed 3 turnovers for 17 New England's points that changed the momentum of the game and led to Denver losing the football game. I predict that Denver will fight hard throughout the ball game, but with the loss of safety Brian Dawkins and Von Miller playing with 1 arm, Tom Brady will put points on the board early and often.
Patriots Win 31-20

Texans @ Ravens
All I have been hearing is that these teams are mirror images of each other. OK, maybe, but last time I check Baltimore is a perfect 8-0 at home. With Ray Rice controlling the clock and that legendary defense led by Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs & Haloti Gnata, I see T.J. Yates having a very long day. Running backs Arian Foster & Ben Tate will have to work extremely hard this week and right now the tandem will not be enough. The Ravens should win this game with no real threat coming from Houston.
Ravens Win 24-9


Saints @ 49ers
This game does not shape up well for the New Orleans at all. San Francisco's home field has a dirt foundation and if it becomes wet, forget about it. The Saints are like Rams of the early 2000s, "The Fastest Show On Turf". All the weapons at Drew Brees' disposal were meant to run past defenses at home in the Super Dome. Playing that nasty defense of the San Francisco 49ers on that field will not benefit the Saints at all. San Fran on offense will pound the Saints defense with a healthy dosage of running back Frank Gore. Keeping Drew Brees off the field by killing clock. The Saints defense is going to have to force some turnovers to gain some extra possessions to give them a shot of winning on the road. Coach of the Year candidate Jim Harbaugh will have his troops fired up to play their first playoff game as a collective unit and will the extra week off, linebacker Patrick Willis will fly all over the field making plays and hitting Saints players in the mouth. This is a bad spot for the Saints who will have to use running back Darren Sproles in the screen game to slow down San Fran's pass rush. In this battle of 13-3 teams, I am taking the home team in this one.
49ers Win 27-17

Giants @ Packers
The Packers have been unstoppable all season long. They have the best receiving core in football hands down. They have arguable the best quarterback in the league. They have 2 of the best defensive play makers in the the game in Clay Mathews & Charles Woodson. So this game this week should be a breeze right? Wrong. The New York Football Giants come into town with an "Empire State of Mind". Eli Manning is playing lights out as of late. His receiving core of Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks & Mario Manningham are probably the 2nd best receiving core in football. The Giants defensive line with their 3 headed monster of Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora & Jason Pierre-Paul are going to give Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offensive line fits all game long. Most importantly, 17 players on the Giants roster are part of the 2007 Super Bowl winning championship team that also went into Green Bay and knocked off the Pack in the NFC Championship game that season. The Giants are physical on both sides of the ball and are by no means intimidated by the Packers. All the pressure is on the Packers to get the win and lets not forget that it took a 58 second drive for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to defeat the Giants in the final moments earlier in the regular season 38-35. I think you know where I am going with this. My upset special. The G-Men get it done.
Giants Win 31-27

Friday, January 6, 2012

Wild Card Weekend Preview & Picks

Haz Bey
I'm looking for the AFC road teams to pull out victories on the road while the NFC home teams protect their respective turfs.  I do not think this Wild Card Weekend will be very memorable, but it does have intriguing match-ups.  I will give you my brief take on all four games to get you ready for this huge weekend.

AFC Wild Card Games

Bengals @ Texans
Look for Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals to win a tough game on the road against the AFC South Champion Houston Texans. With Houston down to their 3rd string quarterback T.J. Yates, the Texans will have difficulty moving the football up and down the field causing Houston not to put up enough points on the board to win the franchises 1st ever playoff game. Houston will stay in the game, because of their elite running attack and superb defense, but look for the Bengals to get the lead early with the combination of Dalton to fellow rookie A.J. Green and then pound the ball late with veteran running back Cedric Benson. 
Bengals Win 20-10

Steelers @ Broncos
The Pittsburgh Steelers are not even 1 year removed from losing to the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl and the Denver Broncos are 3 weeks removed from their last win.  The mentalities of these 2 teams are on 2 different levels.  Denver's goal is to try to compete with a struggling Tim Tebow at quarterback and Pittsburgh's goal is to move on the next round for their next step in their quest to get back to the Super Bowl.  I can talk about how arguably the league's best defense will dominate arguably the league's worst offense, but there's no need. There will be no "Tebow-Time" this week.
Steelers Win 24-0

NFC Wild Card Games

Lions @ Saints
Shootout, straight shootout, but the New Orleans Saints at home against the Detroit Lions will not lose Saturday Night.  I expect both teams to light up the scoreboard, but the pressure that Matt Stafford will have to try to keep up with Drew Brees will be too much to bare.  Drew Brees has more weapons at his disposal with the addition of Darren Sproles and he runs his offense like a well-oiled machine, while Mathew has to find ways to get Calvin "Megatron" Johnson the ball through double and triple teams.  Easy choice for me.
Saints Win 45-34

Falcons @ Giants
The Atlanta Falcons are a decent football team.  The have a good young quarterback in Matt Ryan, an elite running back in Michael Turner, a 1st ballot hall of famer at tight end in Tony Gonzales & a good receiving core led by Roddy White.  With that being said, there is no way they will have will and the resolve to come in to East Rutherford and knock off the "G-Men" at home.  It's not happening.  The Giants are a physical, proud bunch.  They still have 17 players in uniform from the 2007 team that won the Super Bowl.  Eli Manning has set an NFL record with 15 touchdowns in the 4th quarter this season.  The defensive line is flat-out scary with Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora & Jason Pierre-Paul wreaking havoc.  Too much of an hostel environment for the Falcons to steal a win.
Giants Win 31-17