NAPC! Divisional Round

Robert Gilbert breaks down what he thinks will happen in the Divisional Round of Playoff football this weekend.

NAPC! Divisional Round

Indianapolis @ Baltimore

Was that the real Colts defense last week, or was that just a mirage? I was impressed with their man-handling of the Chiefs, but I'm still reluctant to buy into the Colts. Peyton Manning didn't play that great of a game, or more accurately, you could say Marvin Harrison didn't play that great of a game, because he indirectly caused two of Manning's interceptions. I'm sure the duo will be back to form this week, though. Baltimore has quietly had a really good season with Steve McNair leading the way for the offense. They finished 13-3, but were exposed by Carolina in one of those losses. If Carolina can pass for nearly 370 yards against Baltimore, Indianapolis should be able to also. Jamal Lewis had a good year rushing, with 1132 yards and 9 touchdowns. If the Colts rushing defense of the regular season shows up, I'd say they have a tough road to travel to win this game, but it'll be more on equal footing if the Colts postseason rushing defense appears again for an encore performance. I'll be rooting for the Colts in this game but have to concede the home field advantage to the Ravens and officially pick them.

Philadelphia @ New Orleans

Well now, didn't I just pick this game a couple of weeks back? Seems like it. We've had so many re-matches this postseason, it's been nuts. I'm sick of picking Philadelphia though. On the other hand, if we were to consider what it would be like in Philadelphia if it were Garcia who led the Iggles to a Super Bowl over Donovan McNabb, it could get dicey. People have to realize though that one of the reasons Garcia is having such success is that he is back in the West Coast offensive scheme he excelled in in previous years. The Eagles have been on a roll. We also have to imagine what the party would be down in New Orleans as they prepare to host a playoff game and if the Saints were to win…let's just say I don't think I'd want to be on Bourbon Street. Might even be worse than Franklin Street in Chapel Hill after a huge victory over Duke. This will probably be a game of two offenses beating up on each other. I'm looking forward to it, actually. For the heck of it I'll give New Orleans the pick this week, now don't let me down guys. I'll probably pick against you next week, but we'll see.

Weekly Upset Game- Seattle Seahawks @ Chicago Bears

Last year Chicago's vaunted defense got bumped out of the NFC Divisional Round by a Jake Delhomme-Steve Smith combination that was so hot it melted the snow outside the stadium. Jake Delhomme totaled 319 yards passing for 3 TDs whilst Steve Smith was the recipient of 12 catches for 218 yards and 2 TDs. Smitty also contributed 26 yards rushing in that game. And this was all because the idiot Charles Tillman in the Chicago secondary said that he didn't think Steve Smith was so tough and he'd handle him by himself. So how's that working out for you Chucky boy? The play where you fell down because Smith out-faked you and Smith scored on a 44 yard or so TD to open the game was especially good. Anyway, Carolina's out, so let's look at the match-up for this season. Chicago absolutely steam-rolled the Seahawks in the regular season, but that was back when the Bears were hot. They haven't been hot in quite awhile. The defense will be looking for some redemption after last year's playoff debacle, which I already covered. Rex Grossman is confident about this game, but I'll take that with a grain of salt. The man's been a turnover machine in recent weeks, and now we expect him to shoulder the Bears in the playoffs? Like heck that'll happen. Despite 41 attempts he couldn't get over 200 yards passing against Carolina in the playoffs last year. Did you see that? Steve Smith had more RECEIVING yards than Grossman did passing yards. Right, and I'm going to pick the Bears to win why? Seattle wins this one as an upset.

New England Patriots @ San Diego Chargers

Now this is definitely the game I am looking forward to the most. I can't wait to see this baby. We've got the dynastic Patriots vs. the dominant Chargers. San Diego is unquestionably the best team in the league at the moment based solely off of record. Conversely, New England is dominant in the playoffs. Last time these two teams met in the 2005 regular season the Chargers totally blew away New England in NE, but again, that was the regular season. Marty Schottenheimer has always been labeled as a guy who can't coach his team to victory in the playoffs, but will that label change this year? And New England losing would knock them out of the Super Bowl for two consecutive seasons, wouldn't that be a record of some sort? Tom Brady and the Patriots calmly and coolly knocked out the Jets last week, crushing their dreams, but then again, the Jets just need a couple of more players at skill positions and they will be a scary team. I expect them to be contesting for the division title next year. Everybody around has been jabbering on and on and on about how Philip Rivers is untested in the playoffs and crud like that…the first time Delhomme was in the playoffs, he went to the Super Bowl and played the best game in the Super Bowl since the days of Montana. I expect Rivers to be fine, for crying out loud. It's not like he's Rex Grossman or Aaron Brooks. Tom Brady had success his first time in the playoffs. Nah, I don't think it really plays too much of a factor into this as some media outlets would have you believe. The way I see it, I can't pick against the Chargers this week. They earned this game by posting the best record of any team in the league. Now, if they lose this week I can back New England like I'd like to, but I don't see how I can pick against SD. There's a huge difference between picking against Chicago and picking against San Diego. My selection for this week is San Diego over the Pats.

Last week I went 3-1 and am now 3-1 on the Playoffs.


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