LOS ANGELES, January 12, 2013 – NFL 2012-2013 Divisionals Preview
AFC: Baltimore Ravens vs Denver Broncos is the Saturday afternoon game to watch (4:30pm EST).
PLAY BY PLAY: Peyton Manning revitalizing in Denver has the Broncos winning 11 straight games. The Ravens started 9-2 before stumbling into the playoffs losing four out of five. One of those losses was at home where they were thrashed by Denver. Yet Ray Lewis and other Baltimore defenders were out injured.
Lewis returned last week as the Ravens won their wildcard game in his final game at the Big Crabcake. Lewis is retiring after the season, and this will be the chess match of one of the greatest offensive players in NFL history against his equal counterpart on the defense. Denver is the most complete team in football, and Von Miller could devour Joe Flacco unless Ray Rice runs hard.
Yet almost every year a top seed goes down in flames. Denver is a young team, and in 1984 and 1996 young Denver teams went 13-3 and were one and done at home. Baltimore is experienced and will pull the upset for Ray Lewis.
LINE: Broncos by 9.
PREDICTION: Upset special, Ravens win outright.
NFC: Green Bay Packers vs the San Francisco 49ers (8:00PM EST) is the Saturday evening game.
PLAY BY PLAY: 1995 saw an ascendant Green Bay end the San Francisco dynasty as the Packers eliminated the 49ers from the playoffs in 1995, 1996, and 1997. Two of those three games were in San Francisco, with home field advantage being non-existent. The 49ers got revenge in 1998, but after that both teams faded for a bit.
The Packers won it all in 2010 while the 49ers in 2011 came a fumbled punt in overtime away from the Super Bowl. These teams are on a collision course, but this is a different 49ers team. Glamorous stars on offense have been replaced with a team known for hard-nosed defense. Colin Kaepernick coming at quarterback has added an extra dimension to the 49ers while Aaron Rodgers looks every bit as possessed as the guy who led a 15-1 team last year.
This will be 1997 all over again.
The 49ers have the home field but the Packers have the superior team. The 49ers did go into Green Bay in Week 1 and knock the Packers around, but at this point the Packers are just superior.
LINE: 49ers by 3.
PREDICTION: Upset special, Packers win outright.
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