Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Kurt Kragthorpe’s NFL divisional playoff picks
NFL » Broncos, Patriots, Packers, Falcons will win.

By kurt kragthorpe

| Tribune Columnist

First Published Jan 11 2013 09:42 am • Last Updated May 05 2013 11:32 pm

This is always the most intriguing weekend of the NFL season, because of the variables created by first-round byes.

The teams with the top two records in each conference have competed all season for the right to host divisional playoff games, but now they’re facing teams that have played their way into this round and generated some momentum.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

So there’s considerable angst in the NFC venues of San Francisco and Atlanta, especially. The AFC’s home teams should be feeling more comfortable. A look at this weekend’s lineup:

Baltimore at Denver, 2:30 p.m. MST Saturday, Ch. 2

This is a tough assignment for the Ravens, traveling and playing at altitude with a quick turnaround after Sunday’s win over Indianapolis.

Baltimore faces big issues offensively and defensively. The Ravens will have to sustain drives, beyond relying on the big plays that carried them last weekend. And they will have to get some pressure on Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, which is always difficult because of his ability to get rid of the ball quickly.

Add it up, and the Ravens will have to play pretty much perfect football to stage an upset. The pick: Denver 28, Baltimore 14.

Green Bay at San Francisco, 6 p.m. MST Saturday, Ch. 13


story continues below
story continues below

The 49ers have earned a first-round bye for the second year in a row, with another quarterback making his playoff debut. Former University of Utah quarterback Alex Smith performed heroically in last January’s divisional win over New Orleans, and now it’s Colin Kaepernick’s turn. Just as much pressure falls on San Francisco’s defense, facing quarterback Aaron Rodgers and a Green Bay offense that was consistently efficient in a win over Minnesota. The 49ers will have to convert their scoring opportunities into touchdowns, not field goals, to have a chance of advancing to another NFC championship game. The pick: Green Bay 21, San Francisco 17.

Seattle at Atlanta, 11 a.m. MST Sunday, Ch. 13

The Falcons have been here before, which is why nobody seems to trust quarterback Matt Ryan and his teammates. Not even Atlanta fans know exactly what to expect from their team, even after they delivered one victory after another in the regular season. This will be a great test for a Seattle defense anchored by rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner of Utah State. Many observers believe the Seahawks have the best defense in the NFL. This is their chance to prove it. The pick: Atlanta 28, Seattle 21.

Houston at New England, 2:30 p.m. MST Sunday, Ch. 2

The Patriots have their own history of failing to come through at home in the playoffs, but this looks like a mismatch — even though Houston contended for the AFC’s top seed for most of the season. The Texans barely overcame Cincinnati last week and, like Baltimore vs. Denver, their notorious pass rushers will be frustrated by quarterback Tom Brady’s sack-proof nature. The pick: New England 35, Houston 21.

kkragthorpe@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribkurt



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.