The divisional round of the 2015 playoffs went just about according to plan. All of the top seeds coming off their byes won, except Denver. So now, we have a rematch of the first game of the season, this time with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. The other game features one quarterback trying to prove he is worth his high draft spot, the other is trying to cement his spot as the greatest quarterback in history. It is the final four in the NFL and now it is time to breakdown who is heading to Arizona and who is heading home.
Green Bay will travel to Seattle this weekend where Russell Wilson and the Seahawks will host Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in a grudge match. The Seahawks once again have home field advantage in this game as they did in Week 1 against the Pack. Seattle rolled through Green Bay that time around, thrashing the Packers 36-16. The Packs’ rushing attack sputtered against the Seahawks run defense back in September, managing a meager 80 yards on the ground on 21 attempts and Marshawn Lynch rumbled for 110 yards and 2 touchdowns in that match up. Seattle will once again look to win the battle in the trenches and force an apparently hobbled Aaron Rodgers to make all of the plays. One major hit to the Seahawks is the absence of Percy Harvin in this game. Seattle’s offense has adjusted and compensated since he has left but in that first meeting he accounted for 100 yards of offense and caught every pass thrown his way. He clearly gave the Packers some problems and he will not be able to pose any of those now from his couch in New Jersey. Another new factor is Packers’ rookie Devonte Adams arrival as a huge threat. His 7-catch 117-yard performance, which included a touchdown, will be something Pete Carroll and his staff factor into today’s game plan. This game also features likely the best passing offense in the league against arguably the best secondary in the NFL. The scary thing for the Packers is that the Seahawks’ defense has actually gotten better down the stretch of the season. Seattle hasn’t allowed more than 17 points to a team since Week 11 against Kansas City. When all is said and done though, I think the Packers will break that streak. Between Rodgers, Adams, Eddie Lacy, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, not to mention anyone of a number of role players, this offense can score. I would not be surprised to see Green Bay spread out the Seattle defense and then find their matchups to exploit. Wilson and Lynch will power this team for a while on the ground but in the end, a lack of a prominent passing game will be the Seahawks downfall. Packers hang on 27-24.
Meanwhile, Andrew Luck will be looking to show that last week was not a fluke and that he has officially arrived in the NFL if he can carry the Colts to their first Super Bowl appearance since 2009 against the future Hall of Famer in Tom Brady. If Brady wins, he will start the most Super Bowls by a player ever. Since 2004, this will mark the sixth time the Patriots meet the Colts in the playoffs. The rivalry is unparalleled to any other in the NFL as these two teams have so much hate for each other. Even if the Manning-Brady rivalry no longer exists between these two teams, Luck is more than up to the task of carrying on the legacy. You always think these games could go either way or that these two should be evenly matched but in reality, Brady has had Indy’s number. In his career, the former Michigan man is 12-4 against the Colts. These two teams played earlier this season and New England once again displayed their dominance over Indianapolis in a 42-20 romp. The key in that game was Jonas Gray’s 200 plus yards rushing and 4 touchdowns. Since that game, Gray has not carried the ball more than 12 carries or registered 65 yards in a game. Indianapolis was also unable to find any sort of ground game in that matchup. Indy struggled its way to 19 yards on 16 carries that night. However, the Colts managed 99 yards against a top-flight Denver defense last weekend. If Indy can find a way to get a rushing attack rolling, they could be scary and pose a real threat to New England. The reality is though that New England will not let that be possible. The strength of the Patriots defense is their secondary. Scoring early will mean that the option to run the ball will be almost out of the question for Indy. Luck is a great young quarterback but it is not enough to overcome New England’s multifaceted offense. Pats come away with a win in this one 34-24.
Those are my Super Bowl picks. Green Bay will clash with New England out in the desert two weeks from today in what should be an amazing battle of two great quarterbacks and offensive assets galore. Both of these games this weekend should be exciting but in the end, the two savvy, veteran signal callers will come out on top of the class of 2012’s finest. My players of the week: Randall Cobb for Green Bay and Brandon Browner for New England. Should be a great day of football. Let me know where I went wrong or if you think these games are going to end differently.