Denver Broncos vs Baltimore Ravens – Live ESPN 10.30am Sunday
Playing Denver at home is always a tough ask however it’s even harder when they have a hot Quarterback who has won many playoff games and are well rested. The Ravens face Peyton Manning and his rebuilt Denver team who are on a roll. The Ravens laboured to a win over the Indianapolis Colts last weekend in what was legendary line backer Ray Lewis’s last home game. The emotion of that may have got them a win however this will be tougher. The Ravens offensive game is stale and it’s their defence which traditionally gets them through. The Broncos made the playoffs last season however will want to get to next week’s AFC title game at a minimum this year – if not more. Pick – Denver at home will be too strong
San Francisco 49ers vs Green Bay Packers – Live ESPN Sunday 2pm
The 49ers season ended with a thumping home loss to the Seattle Seahawks and this match up does not get any easier. The Packers cruised to a win over Minnesota last week and are a team who are finding form at the right time of the season. Quarterback Aaron Rogers has a healthy pack around him now and will be looking to avenge an opening day loss to the team from San Francisco. After an initial burst when the 49ers changed their quarterback to Colin Kaperneak they have struggled since however they did beat the Patriots away late in the season. The 49ers defence will have to be at their best here as once the Packers offence gets going they are unstoppable. Pick – Green Bay are hitting form and will take this in a close one.
Atlanta Falcons vs Seattle Seahawks – Live ESPN Monday 7am
The Falcons are a team that have recent playoff disappointments. They will not want a repeat here being the No. 1 seed in the NFC division. They take on a Seattle Seahawks team that have become the new “people’s team” in the NFL. Their comeback after being 14points down last week against the Redskins showed the poise and control by their rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. This game will be more difficult though. The travel that the Seahawks have had to endure could be a factor, flying coast to coast twice in a week. The Falcons will be highly motivated and with all the hype sitting with their opponents they will want to prove a point. Pick-Falcons at home, erasing memories of previous playoff games
New England Patriots vs Houston Texans – Live ESPN Monday 10.30am
The Patriots have not had the hype or coverage as previous seasons which is exactly how Coach Bill Bellichick likes it. Quarterback Tom Brady and his potent offense are a match for anyone, especially at home. They played the Texans in mid December and belted them 42 – 14. The Texans ground out a win at home against the favoured Bengals last week however their game was based around a running game with Quarterback Matt Schaub struggling to find any passing plan. The Texans go into New England as massive underdogs and will want to prove a point, however the Patriots have the pedigree in playoff games so this could be too big an ask. Pick- New England in a more competitive game then predicted.