NFL Playoff Predictions: Patriots and Giants Will Eat Turf, Lose
Ravens @ Patriots: I raised this point in the TFT Power Rankings, but I’ll get into more detail here. Every team the Patriots beat ended with a regular season win record under 8-8. They lost to the Steelers, who finished 12-4, and the Giants, who finished 9-7. Their 3rd loss was earlier in the season, to a Buffalo Bills. At the time, of course, the Bills defense was a turnover machine and Ryan Fitzpatrick’s short comings had yet to destroy their offense from the inside. The Pats are worse than their seeding suggests, and, while by no means a bad team, not the unstoppable force they were in the earlier runs, or even last year. While the Ravens had ugly meltdowns during some games that should’ve been gimmes, they showed up every time they played a serious opponent. I’m picking Ravens by a hair.
Giants @ 49ers: New York can’t run on the 49ers defense. Brandon Jacobs should drop into the Tebow if Patrick Willis lets him see the line of scrimmage. With little help from the run game, they’ll need to trust their veteran (veteran as in old) offensive line against the 49ers front seven; the nastiest one in football. They’ve dominated at the line all year, leading the league in rush defense and tallying 42 sacks (tied for 5th in the league). They blow up protection schemes and shut down the play before it happens. The Giants are tied for 2nd in the league in sacks with 48, but their run defense suffered. They’re 19th overall against the run, having given up 11 runs over 20 yards, and 3 runs over 40 (putting them in the company of other terrible run stoppers such as the Eagles and the Colts). They’re going to get torn up inside. I used this same argument when I said that the Falcons would beat New York, but Frank Gore is better than Michael Turner and the entire team in San Francisco is better than Atlanta. 49ers take this one. Also, the Giants got blown out by the Redskins twice. How good can they be?
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