NFL divisional playoffs round 1 open thread

Jazz: Unfortunately, last week didn’t wind up providing me with more more of a shiny start to the post season prediction game than the regular season did. After going 1-1 on Saturday, I decided to go with two upset picks on a Sunday when the prevailing wisdom held true and I’ve fallen behind with a 1-3 record. But two games isn’t that much to make up, so we’ll soldier on bravely.

Ed: Greetings from sunny Southern California! I’m on vacation for the next week, but I couldn’t resist contributing to the NFL playoff thread, especially since it gives me a chance to brag about my 3-1 start to the post-season. Say, if I’m on the West Coast and the games start three hours earlier, does that mean I have a jump start on Jazz? I guess we’ll see …

Jazz: Here are the Saturday match-ups which will determine who makes it to the conference championships:

  • Ravens at Patriots (4:35, NBC) – In my heart, I still want the Patriots to lose and I’ll be cheering for the Ravens. Unfortunately, history is not on Baltimore’s side, nor are any of the key stats. The Pats have an impressive history of scoring once they make it to the red zone and the Ravens defense just doesn’t look like they can consistently keep them from racking up the big plays to make it down there. Also, Baltimore doesn’t have the big emotional edge they had when playing their hated rivals in Pittsburgh last week. I hate to do it, but I’ll pick New England 30-21.
  • Panthers at Seahawks (8:15, Fox) – The Panthers are another Cinderella team that I’d love to see win this one. Sadly, they have played Seattle three times in the last three years and scored a grand total of ONE touchdown in those combined efforts. Tonight they will be playing the Seahawks at home in the deafening confines of the home of the 12th man. Sorry, Panthers fans, but I just don’t see it happening. I’ll go with Seattle 24-10 in the hopes that Carolina can at least manage one trip to the end zone.

Ed: Let’s get ready to, er, fumble…

  • Ravens at Patriots (4:35, NBC) – I’m almost inclined to go with the Ravens today. They have a huge emotional edge coming out of the win in Pittsburgh and they look as though they’re peaking. Unfortunately, New England will be too tough at home, and they’re seasoned enough to keep the week off from draining their energy. Watch for a big game from Gronk, and Brady will do better at picking apart Baltimore’s secondary than Big Ben last week. Pats 33-17 over the Ravens.
  • Panthers at Seahawks (8:15, Fox) – Remember when you’d be part of some big event and just be amazed to be there? That’s Carolina today. This is a sub-.500 team that managed to back into the playoffs and finally play to their potential last week. Seattle, on the other hand, underperformed at times during the season but are firing on all cylinders now. No way they get beat at home by the Panthers. Seahawks in a walk, 35-14.