Gerry Dulac's NFL Forecast: Divisional Playoff Round
Thursday, January 13, 2011
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pigskin picks from the PG's gridiron guru ...
Last week: 3-1 (.750)
Season record: 156-104 (.600)
Baltimore Ravens (13-4) at Steelers (12-4), 4:30 p.m.
The Skinny: History and intangibles favor the Steelers, who have never lost a playoff game to a division opponent (8-0) since the 1970 merger. Two of those victories are against the Ravens. In addition, the Steelers are 8-1 in their past nine wild-card or divisional playoff games at home. But the Ravens are comfortable on the road in the postseason and they don't want to keep playing the role of the 1978-79 Houston Oilers to the Steelers.
Prediction: Steelers, 19-17
Green Bay Packers (10-6) at Atlanta Falcons (13-3), 8 p.m.
The Skinny: The Falcons tied for the best home record in the NFC in the regular season and have the conference's No. 1 seed, giving them a nice path to the Super Bowl. But they have to get past the Packers, who have won three in a row and are coming off a wild-card victory in Philadelphia. They, not the Falcons, are looking like a Super Bowl team.
Prediction: Packers, 27-24
Seattle Seahawks (8-9) at Chicago Bears (12-4), 1 p.m.
The Skinny: Is it shades of 2008 all over again when the Arizona Cardinals, dubbed the worst playoff team in history after a 9-7 record, made it to the Super Bowl? Can the Seahawks pull another surprise with a victory against the Bears? Not if their defense is going to surrender 36 points as they did in their stunning upset against the Saints.
Prediction: Bears, 34-17
New York Jets (10-6) at New England Patriots (14-2), 4:30 p.m.
The Skinny: No matter what anyone thinks about the Patriots, is there anyone outside New York who doesn't want to see Rex Ryan silenced for the final time this season? It is unlikely to think the Patriots will do to the Jets what they did the last time the teams met in Foxboro (45-3, in case you've forgotten). But it is also unlikely to think the Patriots are going to lose.
Prediction: Patriots, 27-17
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