BY PETER HOUSTON – FAN FUEL BLOGGER
Sign of the apocalypse: my NFL wildcard weekend picks went 4-0. In related news, it was the first week I didn’t bet on football the entire season. Might have to stay away from Pro Line again this week to see if my streak can continue. This weekend’s divisional match ups should be a little bit more difficult to predict and hopefully will be more exciting games than last week. There are certainly enough storylines to intrigue us: Can Mike Smith and Matt Ryan finally win a playoff game for the Falcons? Can Seattle’s underdog story continue? Will Houston and Baltimore avenge regular season blowouts? Is this the last time we’ll have the privilege to watch Ray Lewis play football? Can Colin Kaepernick get the job done in the playoffs against the former champs? Only time will tell, but here is my prediction for Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons.
Even though Atlanta’s favoured in this one, it still feels like picking them is going against the grain.
Everyone seems to have hopped on Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ bandwagon. I do think this game features the most intriguing matchup of the week, which is the Falcons’ receiving core vs. the Seahawks’ defensive backs. Roddy White and Julio Jones vs. Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner. Tony Gonzalez vs. Kam Chancellor. That is where this game is going to be won or lost, unless Atlanta fails to stop the run.
If Marshawn Lynch turns Beast Mode on, no one will be able to save the Falcons. But, I expect this one to be more of a low scoring defensive battle. And, for the first time in history, Matt Ryan will win and NFL playoff game. The Falcons definitely lack a running game this year, but without Chris Clemons I think Seattle will have trouble getting to Ryan, and he’ll do enough to get the job done. Expect to see him hit Jacquizz Rodgers in the flats or on screens early and often.
Pick: Falcons 20, Seahawks, 16
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