Ron Glover’s NFL Divisional Playoff Predictions (1/14/12 – 1/15/12)

The Divisional round of the NFL playoffs produces arguably the best football of this mini-tournament. Saturday afternoon, the surprising 13-3 SanFrancisco 49′ers host the New Orleans Saints led by Drew Brees who passed for 466 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Detroit Lions last week in the wildcard round. In the nightcap Tom Brady and the New England Patriots take on the Denver Broncos in chilly Foxboro. Sunday the Baltimore Ravens take on the Houston Texans who are looking to continue their playoff run. Sunday evening the New York Giants get their second shot at the world champion Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

Saturday January 14, 2012:

New Orleans Saints (14-3) at San Francisco 49′ers (13-3) – Expect Drew Brees and the Saints to be in a down and dirty battle in ‘Frisco. The Niners will try their best to slow the game down and eat up the clock. The trick is that the Saints can play that game as well. The Niners have the ground game and the defense to limit the Saints scoring output, I said limit - not overtake.

Saints 27 – Niners 21

Denver Broncos (9-8) at New England Patriots (13-3) – Bill Belichick’s defensive schemes have caused problems over the years for many a QB – though this year’s edition has been its own worst enemy. Facing Tim Tebow earlier this year gives Belichick and the defense a heads up for what they’ll see this weekend. The Broncos need to continue what they did last week but not try to go after it in bunches.

Patriots 33 – Broncos 17

Sunday January 15, 2012:

Houston Texans (11-6) at Baltimore Ravens (12-4) – Joe Flacco minimizing his errors is the key to the Ravens Super Bowl hopes, but with a back like Ray Rice and a rested Ricky Williams running the ball in January, Flacco’s chances at hurting the Ravens are reduced. The Ravens won the earlier meeting this season in a game that wasn’t decided until the final quarter. But that was with Matt Schaub under center, now with T.J. Yates at the helm the Ravens will look to take away backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate, placing the game on the arm of Yates.

Ravens 28 – Texans 19

New York Giants (10-7) at Green Bay Packers (15-1) – The Giants are right where they want to be and this time they’re healthy. The Giants receivers are about even with the Packers, the difference is the Packers secondary is superior to the Giants and could be the deciding factor in this contest. Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning will be tested by two aggressive defensive game plans.

Packers 23 – Giants 21

19 Responses to “Ron Glover’s NFL Divisional Playoff Predictions (1/14/12 – 1/15/12)”

  1. Temple3 says:

    I don’t have a strong sense of who wins these games, but I do believe that one or two of the road teams will win this week.

    I suspect that the Giants-Packers game will be won by the team that has the ball at the end of regulation. Were it not for a blown call on Jennings’ touchdown in Jersey, the Packers probably lose that game. That defensive line is going to get after it.

    I like T.J. Yates. He’s only played one or two bad games. He just makes plays. He seems to understand his offense and benefits from outstanding blocking and the run game. If Flacco throws 2 or 3 picks, he’s going to break hearts in Baltimore. As long as the Ravens don’t get too smart or look past this team now that the Steelers are out, they should win…but it will not be easy.

    Denver can beat New England. I still don’t know how they cover Gronkowski and Hernandez, but they can beat the Patriots. They simply cannot allow 41 points. McGahee is healthy but he’s been fumbling. Any team that can run and play defense can win. John Fox has to tap into what Rex Ryan and John Harbaugh found in the Patriots last 2 playoff losses.

    I hope that the Saints-Niners game is a good one. For me, it’s the most compelling game. Red zone defense by Niners and blitz protection by Niners probably determine the score. I think the great equalizer for SF is the mediocre hands of some NO receivers and the absence of Lance Moore.

  2. robert says:

    “the Packers secondary is superior to the Giants and could be the deciding factor in this contest.”

    Um- read a statbook. The packers defense is the worst in the league. Especially at giving up big plays deep. They are in no ways superior to NYG.

  3. Ron Glover says:

    Ummm- This is the playoffs where regular season stats go out the window. But for your entyertainment the Packers were ranked dead last and the Giants were ranked 29th. The Giants may also be without their starting corner and backup safety. With all of that being said I still like the Packers secondary over the Giants healthy or not.

  4. Temple3 says:

    http://footballoutsiders.com/stats/teamdef

    These guys do a good job with stats.

    I’d say that the Giants front 4 makes their back end look better, whereas the Packers secondary is a true strength of the team. BJ Raji has been an ‘underperform’ this year. The Packers haven’t really had standout play in the front 7, but athletically, their DBs still make great plays on the ball, and are impressive in man coverage.

    Injuries tilt the back end advantage to the Pack. D-line advantage goes to Giants, in a big way. Linebackers edge goes to Packers, but Michael Boley’s reinsertion to the lineup closes that gap as well.

  5. Temple3 says:

    From the New York Times:

    “We never discussed anything with the run game,” said Dan Mullen, the Mississippi State head coach, who was Meyer’s offensive coordinator and who spent two days watching film with McDaniels.

    Instead, McDaniels was focused on the passing elements of the spread option, particularly the empty backfield and how to create mismatches for receivers.

    “They wanted to go to an all-out passing attack with Tom Brady,” Mullen said. “A lot of their interests were in the slot receivers — how do you get the Wes Welkers matched up on a linebacker? In 2007 they had a Randy Moss, who we knew if they get one-on-one we know what we could do. Once they start zone defense, if there is zone coverage, a good slot receiver will be working on linebackers. Josh was never afraid to fit the offense around the players he had.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/13/sports/football/like-tebow-patriots-sharpened-spread-offense-at-florida.html?src=me&ref=sports

    Great offensive coordinators have flexible systems. Josh McD can become a great one if he’s able to get this NE team over the top — with that defense and their limited running game.

  6. mapoui says:

    in my estimation the road teams that win are the Saints and the Giants…

    the saints because Brees is simply incredible, their offense too good. I dont think Brees can be intimidated. the saints have a really good offensive line.

    Brees will be tough enough no matter how it turns out, to produce a saints win

    the Giants are in the pink of form as a team, playing really well. and it is the Giants form also that they knock-off overwhelming favorites.

    Handicapping this game like a horse race both forms would weigh heavilly in the Giants favour

    also the fact that the Giants almost beat the Packers earlier this season can be added on New Yorks side, in calculating a bet.

    if Flacco has a good, managerial game the Ravens win by a few points…home advantage and the Yates factor. Yates is a kid, new starter, a third stringer. that should count for a few points against the Texans.

    and I dont see any difficulties the Broncos can present to the Pats that could prevent them from scoring 40+ points and win…again

    so theres my bet right there..saints, giants, baltimore and new england

  7. mapoui says:

    La Canfora and Sterling Sharpe apear to be on a broncos victory…more Tebow time.

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d825f3f3e/article/broncos-over-patriots-its-not-as-crazy-as-it-sounds?module=HP11_content_stream

    should I change my mind?

    naaah!

  8. mapoui says:

    wat am I seeing here with saints turnovers? must I pinch myself?

    incredible!

  9. mapoui says:

    prevent defence prevents nothing!

    great game up to a minute 37

  10. mapoui says:

    these are the same guys who used to play for mike singletary?

    mike would be justified to feel aggrieved and cheated

  11. eric daniels says:

    Maupoui,

    Mike Singletary should feel cheated because they are playing the exact same system they played under him last year and they lost 10 games and now they are in the NFC Championship Game. They simply quit listening to him but Jim Harbarugh is going to get credit for the turnaround when he got and drafted most of the players currently on the roster. I don’t think Mike will get a second chance at a head coaching position because he expected them to act like professionals and not spoiled children.

    I told you guys that neither no.1 seed left in the playoffs will be in the Super Bowl because they don’t play defense and ultimately Defense wins championships. The Patriots will get their beatdown next week, while the so-called unstoppable Packers are getting their tonight. Strange, what you do when you actually hit WRs when they come across your zone and a QB actually has to think back there. Will Perry Fewell get a look at Head Coach of the Bucs?

  12. Miranda says:

    Nothing like reading twitter timelines during the games…simply hilarous stuff. Especially last night in the USA vs Jesus tweets. LOL

  13. eric daniels says:

    Miranda,

    I tend to ignore “Tesus” tweets, because these people prove my point about merit in every defense of “Tebow Christ”. When sane analysts and their supporters defend WHITE mediocrity with a passion that borders on insanity they have no moral defense about African- Americans being “Affirmative Action Hires” because Tebow Christ does not belong at QB and he’s too slow to play TE. They think he will be a Republican President in about 20 years.

  14. mapoui says:

    ‘Tesus” I like that! Sweet! I am laffin all the way.

    i knew Tom Brady and his Bill wold nto fool around with the Broncos and Tesus…that they would not make mistakes like the bumbling steeles and old slow even if formerly brilliant Dic Lebeau.

    the Pats would play 60 minutes straight football with he Broncos and that would be that.

    my Saints could not hold on to the football in the midst of a humming, hungry and aggressive Niner defense. and even with all that it ended a 1-score affair.

    I enjoyed the game though… the game I enjoyed most all year so far.

    the Packers might have hollered to the refs….”hey man! we can do without your favours you know!!” for all the good it those favourable calls did for them.

    prolly put them in the wrong groove, the wrong flow. no matter..Fewell did his job excellently…so did Eli.

    and that was that!

    the Niners dropsy cost me a nice bet. but I enjoyed most of the football this weekend. I gorged mostly but fell asleep last night, bored, with the Pats up 28-7

  15. mapoui says:

    I was worried for a minute there, second quarter when Eli was hit hard, turning right around into clout to the ground .

    second play afterwards that hit, Eli throws an interception, a terrible toss and I wonder of they had gotten to him

    but he recovered and helped mightily to send the Packers off on unexpected extra-time, vacation

  16. mapoui says:

    “I don’t think Mike will get a second chance at a head coaching position because he expected them to act like professionals and not spoiled children.”

    that appears to be quite true Eric.

    however I hope Mike Learns the lesson to be learned; do not treat men like prefessionals if they do not appear to be.

    it is necessary to get to know actually who you dealing with and operate on that.

    if people cant, and dont behave like you expect then to they just cant.

    it is always necessary to play people to the extent necessary to succeed in whatever you doing.

    but we never know. Mike Singletary may turn up in a few years as a completely re-oganised person, having excellently incorporated his experience, ready to go again.

    remember…he is one tuff, determined and capable hombre

  17. eric daniels says:

    It’s the same lesson Raheem needs to learn also, you can’t treat children like men when they haven’t earned the right, and that was Morris’s downfall with the Bucs. He treated a young team like they were grizzled veterans who knew how to motivate themselves, this was not Dungy/Gruden’s teams he came onto in 2001 who had leadership and clout in that locker room. These were young kids fresh out of college with a coach who was only 7 years older than the youngest guy and only 4 years younger than Ronde Barber. Harbaugh inherited a good draft picks from Mike Singletary and Dick Nolan and a Harbaugh’s schemes aren’t that different from Mike’s.

    Hopefully Raheem like Bellicheck the second time at HC will get a good coaching staff (that helps you succeed as a Head Coach). Because at Cleveland he had only one winning season and had many of the same problems Morris and Singletary ran up against, bad assistants and players not taking him seriously. Which ultimately is the owner’s and GM’s responsibility but the HC should know that from jump which was why Tomlin and Dungy are successful HC’s and won games and championships.

  18. eric daniels says:

    Mapoui,

    The Texans acted like the Packers did last year and should hold them in good stead next year when they get their stars back. I look at them and the Eagles as the favorites to be in the Super Bowl next year. They acted like professionals from T.J. Yates on down the Texans may have turned corner thanks to Wade Phillips who gave that franchise some leadership.

  19. Temple3 says:

    From the outside looking in, it seemed like Singletary’s fate was sealed because of the team’s failings on the offensive side of the ball — and the defense took a step back last year. Nonetheless, he radically changed the level of rigor and performance expectation in San Francisco. I think that when he came in, his bar was so high that the players were bewildered. They “thought” they were an NFL team, but he emphatically told them and showed them they were not. SF won 2,4,7, and 5 games in the four full seasons before Singletary came on.

    I knew he was going to get fired once Jimmy Raye was released as offensive coordinator. He had to get that selection right (not saying Raye was the wrong guy…but it didn’t work out) – and the QB situation had to get resolved for him to remain there.

    Last year, they still seemed to expect Alex Smith to make conventional QB plays: read both sides of the field, make high-low reads, go through progressions, hit check downs, avoid sacks, avoid red zone picks, etc. This year, the Niners have reduced their expectations to the point where he can actually play to his strengths and spectacularly exceed expectations. Against NO, Smith ran well, made accurate short throws on crossing routes, and capitalized on the size/speed advantages created by Vernon Davis. He’s still not incorporating wide receivers into the passing game in a manner that frightens anyone. He’s not routinely fitting the ball into tight spaces. He’s hitting tricky plays to guys like Delaney Walker and Kendall Hunter. And with that defense, it’s been enough……this year.

    Alex Smith wasn’t ready last year, for whatever reason. Troy Smith wasn’t ready last year, either. But when you watch plays like this:
    http://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/2012011401/2011/POST19/saints@49ers#menu=highlights&tab=analyze
    …you know what’s up with that team and why they can knock Pierre Thomas out cold and simply walk off the field with the ball.

    That football team is no joke.

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