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The Peanut Gallery’s Division-Round Picks

It is a little late to start making picks this year. Which is exactly why I should! Welcome to The Peanut Gallery. Where the game has already started but we’re still standing in the nosebleeds talking about the pregame show. This week is the division-round, probably the best place to start anyways.

Today my picks will be accompanied by picks from two gentlemen in my fantasy league. League Head Xavier Huntington, and resident columnist Vince Veritas. Not to be out-done, I will temporarily change my name for the remainder of the picks posts. For the rest of the postseason I shall hence forth be known as Wayne Galaxy.

Saints @ 49ers

Wayne Galaxy
Pick: Saints 24, 49ers 23
Take: The 49ers defense has been great all year. They will hold the Saints to a modest number of points. However, I am a firm believer a team’s offense plays at the level of their quarterback. Frank Gore will help them move the chains, giving the offense a chance. But in the end, I just don’t see Drew Brees and the Saints losing to a team that will score in the 20s.

Xavier Huntington
Pick: 49ers 27, Saints 24
Take: While Drew Brees has obviously been hot this year his track record away from home and outdoors speaks for itself.  Across the board his numbers take a dip.  In this game, outdoors, in front of a crowd at Candlestick pumped up to see their team in the playoffs for the first time in a decade, on natural grass Brees certainly is capable of becoming a mere mortal and underperforming compared to his gaudy regulard season numbers. The 49ers should be able to come out on top in a slugfest provided they fix their issues on 3rd down and in the red zone.

Vince Veritas
Pick: 49ers 24, Saints 21
Take: Gonna’ take the 49ers in a mild upset here. It’s true the Saints are an extremely high-powered, veteran team. But Harbaugh’s personality reflects his team. I think they’ll be amped for the challenge and ignore the trap that they are on the rise and if they don’t do it this year, there’s always the next. The ’84 Dolphins thought that, and never again reached the Super Bowl.

Broncos @ Patriots

Wayne Galaxy
Pick: Patriots 27, Broncos 17
Take: This one has ‘Patriots Win’ written all over it. Tim Tebow may have a couple of touchdown passes, but in the end Tom Brady is the other quarterback. And when you can’t score a consistent 20-30 points, Tom Brady can. And you probably won’t beat the Patriots. And, And. I won’t get into the Tim Tebow thing or the Josh McDaniels thing, so you’re welcome. Please no 4th quarter comebacks.

Xavier Huntington
Pick: Patriots 42, Broncos 28
Take: The Patriots are on an 0-3 streak at home in the playoffs over the last 3 years.  If the Broncos defense simultaneously gets in Brady’s face, he is not the same quarterback when under pressure, and find an answer for Gronkowski over the middle they stand a chance with the miracle worker Tim Tebow at the helm.  The Broncos have the ability to run all over the Patriots 31st ranked defense.  I think the Broncos jump out to an early lead but eventually succumb as Tom Brady picks apart their defense in the final quarter of the game.  Admittedly I hope I am wrong on this pick.

Vince Veritas
Pick: Patriots 27, Broncos 17
Take: The Broncos will stall on the road. The Patriots, assisted by some friendly officiating, will never be in any real danger. They will survive this week only to lose to the Ravens in the conference final.

Texans @ Ravens

Wayne Galaxy
Pick: Texans 27, Ravens 23
Take: There is nothing like taking a good underdog. Especially one whose backup quarterback has been playing at an average to above-average level and just got Andre Johnson back. I’m hesitant to say the Ravens won’t score more than their usual points, but the odds are in the Texans favor with this one.

Xavier Huntington
Pick: Ravens 23, Texans 17
Take: In a battle of dominant defenses and potent run games who will have the advantage?  The main edge that the Ravens have is Joe Flacco, although never having played a spectacular playoff game as far as stats are concerned he has played in 3 playoff victories in the last 3 years.  All on the road.  This year at home, against an inexperienced rookie in T.J. Yates, I think the Ravens have the advantage.  I believe Yates will be baited into some bad throws by the wily veteran Ed Reed, and the short yardage advantage held by the Ravens thanks in large part to FB Vonta Leech (acquired this year from the Texans) will allow the Ravens to pick up those pesky 3rd and shorts and goal line scores.

Vince Veritas
Pick: Ravens 24, Texans 16
Take: The Ravens will overlook Houston but do enough to win. Houston is not a Super-Bowl-ready team. The Ravens D will stifle Arian Foster for most of the game. Playing with a lead, Flacco will relax and drive the offense.

Giants @ Packers

Wayne Galaxy
Pick: Packers 38, Giants 24
Take: I’m throwing out a second possible score of 31 for the Packers. Although I am rooting against the Giants in this one because I am a Rex Ryan/Jets fan, the Packers seem to have this one in the bag. Between the way Aaron Rodgers has been playing this year and the Packers getting most of their injured players back, this could be a much higher scoring game than most people are probably expecting. With the way the Packers offense practices and prepares, hopefully the Packers defense has practiced and will be prepared for some other way of handling the head on train collisions with the Giants running backs that have the Giants’ opponents in recent weeks suffering from a loss, and probably a headache. If the Giants want to pull off the biggest upset of the week, they will have to be on their A game in the passing game.

Xavier Huntington
Pick: Packers 41, Giants 38
Take: Can anything stop Aaron Rodgers this year?  Apart from the Chiefs obviously.  I think the Giants, with their dominant defensive front and potential at a formidible ground game could have just the solution to put the Packers away.  Many are comparing this Giants team to the 2007 Super Bowl champions that came into the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field to beat the Packers.  The Packers lack of a ground game make this a likely shootout in which Eli Manning is perfectly capable of keeping pace.  I think this game goes into overtime where the combatants trade field goals with Green Bay eventually coming out on top by 3.

Vince Veritas
Pick: Giants 31, Packers 29
Take: I see two possible outcomes for this game: (1) Green Bay by a comfortable margin, or (2) the Giants in a squeeker. I’m going with the latter. Eli and company will rise to the occasion and play over their heads. Green Bay will come up just short.

I’m thinking the three of us should probably bet lunch on the most correct picks by the end of the Superbowl. Sure hope that Texans pick doesn’t come back to haunt me.

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