2012 NFL Season Playoffs Report No. 2The second week of playoff games will begin with a pair of games on Saturday, followed by two more on Sunday. The schedule follows the same format as last week, with a late afternoon and an evening game on Saturday, followed by games near the traditional starting times on Sunday.
The NFL Power Ratings have been updated for the final time this season, as post-season games aren't considered for updating the ratings. There is one play this week, as the number have New England by 16 and the Patriots are favored by 9.5 points, making them a 5* play.
There were no surprises last week, as the favorites (Green Bay, Seattle, Houston and Baltimore) all came away with victories.
The GamesBaltimore at Denver The big storyline in this game is that it should be the final time Ray Lewis and Peyton Manning meet on the field, at least if Lewis' claims of retirement turn out to be true. Manning has definitely gotten the better of the Raven's emotional leader, having seen his teams with the last nine games against the Ravens. That won't mean a thing on Saturday, but it will be enough of a reason for some bettors to back Denver.
The Broncos mandhandled the Ravens not too long ago in a game that wasn't as close as the final score of 34-17 indicates.
The Ravens received a huge emotional lift with the return of Lewis a week ago and can't see them having quite the intensity they did last time, but on the other hand, I'm not real anxious to lay 10 points against the Ravens.
I expect the Ravens to try and get Ray rice involved more than the last game and in what is practically a coin flip, will side to the under 46.5.
Green Bay at San Francisco The Packers certainly have an experience edge over the 49ers, but San Francisco has a slightly better team. The oddsmakers made the 49ers a three-point favorite and the total is 45.
San Francisco defeated Green Bay in the opening game of the season, although that was with Alex Smith having one of his best days as a pro, going 20 for 26 with two touchdowns. It's unlikely Kaepernick will match those numbers, although he is certainly more of a two-way threat than Smith.
The teams scored three touchdowns in a 5:11 span in the fourth quarter, with the scoring started on a punt return, something that can't be counted on to happen once again, so I'll stick with the under.
Seattle at Atlanta You have to give the Seahawks credit for having a great season and part of that has to begin with the man people love to hate, Pete Carroll. It took some nerve to start rookie Russell Wilson over the team's big-money free agent signing (Matt Flynn), although Carroll looks like a genious at the moment.
The Falcons quietly grabbed the top seed in the NFC playoffs with a 13-3 record, although they were one of the least mentioned teams all season. Everybody heard about the Seahawks and the 49ers and their quarterback controversy. The Packers always receive plenty of attention and there were the Saints, along with the two teams bounced out of the playoffs last week, Adrian Peterson's Minnesota Vikings and Robert Griffin III's Washington Redskins.
The Falcons are favored by either 2.5 points (-120) or 3 points (+105) depending on which sportsbook is used. Have to lean towards the home chalk in this game.
Houston at New England The Patriots are favored by 9.5 points and the total is 48. New England waxed the Texans earlier this season on Monday night football, but have a hunch this game is a bit closer. That's not saying much considering the 42-14 score of the first encounter, but will lean with Houston in this spot.