And so the 49ers playoffs begin. After sitting through their one week bye, the 49ers welcome the New Orleans Saints to town for the NFL Divisional Round. You could make the argument that 49ers-Saints is the least predictable of the four divisional round games. Some will continue to believe in the Broncos, but it is entirely possible the AFC will feature a pair of routs this weekend. While I will be rooting for the 49ers to gum up the works, many will be rooting for a Packers-Saints NFC title game.
David - SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (+ 3.5) over New Orleans Saints: This is the 49ers toughest matchup of the year, not just because it is the playoffs, but the Saints are the best team they have faced thus far. Wins over the Lions, Giants and Steelers are great, but the Saints offense is a whole different animal. However, the 49ers defense can bring the necessary physicality to slow down the Saints. Nobody can stop this offense entirely, but if they can hold them to field goals instead of touchdowns, an upset can be had.
James - New Orleans Saints (-3.5) over SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: I know I am going to get a lot of heat for this pick from Bay Area fans, but I just cannot go with the Niners in this game. I think San Francisco has a very good chance of winning this game, and their defense is likely the best defense in the NFL this year. However, the Saints are on a roll, winning nine straight, and have the advantage of having the experience of having been here before. In the end, while the Niners will slow the Saints down, their offense will still not be able to keep pace with Drew Brees and the Saints offense.
David - NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-13.5) over Denver Broncos: That is a hefty spread, but I really think the Patriots blow out the Broncos. They had little trouble with the Broncos at Mile High and I just don't think the Tebow/Broncos magic can do enough in Foxboro. The Patriots offense is simply too good. The Broncos defense can hold its own at times, but I don't think they can hold down the Patriots enough to give the questionable Broncos offense much of a chance.
James - Denver Broncos (+13.5) over NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Whoa there, let's not get too excited here. I do not think there is any way that the Broncos beat the Patriots in this game. However, with that being said, I think this will be a very competative game. The Broncos defense will continue to play great football and keep the Broncos in the game late and the Patriots terrible defense will allow Tebow enough leeway to give Pretty Tom and the Patriots a scare.
David - BALTIMORE RAVENS (-7.5) over Houston Texans: The Texans best chance is to continue their run game dominance. Unfortunately, they face a stiff Ravens defense that also can get just enough offense to take care of business. I was really tempted by Houston with that half point, but I think the Ravens roll at home.
James - BALTIMORE RAVENS (-7.5) over Houston Texans: The Texans showed a lot in their win over the Cincinnati Bengals last weekend. However, the Bengals are not even close to being the Ravens, and this game will not be taking place in Houston. I think the Ravens will slow down the Texans' running game and force TJ Yates to throw the ball in order to win, and that's the Texans will lose.
David - GREEN BAY PACKERS (-7.5) over New York Giants: The Giants played the Packers close in the Meadowlands, but I don't think they strike again. I think the Packers win by at least ten. The Packers are rolling for the most part and should dominate at home.
James - New York Giants (+7.5) over GREEN BAY PACKERS: Nope, I did not get confused when I made this pick. I am actually taking the Giants here. While I think the Packers are the best team in the NFL, as I have said all season, the Giants just look like a team that is hungry to get back to the Super Bowl. Eli Manning is having the best year of his young career and the Giants just look ready. I dont know if they will pull off the win, but this will be a very close game.
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