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Playoffs Preview- NFC Championship Game

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Mike Smith

After one of the most exciting divisional round weekends NFL history, the Playoffs continue this week with the conference Championship games.

The NFC Championship Game sees the top two seeds go head-to-head in Atlanta as the number 2 seed San Francisco 49ers take on the number 1 seed Falcons.

So without further ado, here are is my preview and prediction for the big game.

San Francisco 49ers at Atlanta Falcons

Keys to the Game


49ers Passing Game

Colin Kapernick

  • The 49ers running game is a constant threat for their opponents with a rushing attack that was the fifth best in the league this season. Led by veteran running back Frank Gore and behind a solid offensive line, the 49ers can depend on Gore and co. in the run game to be successful but it’s their passing game which is the key issue tomorrow night.
  • 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was fantastic last week in their win over the Green Bay Packers with four total touchdowns and over 400 total yards. Now the pressure is on Kapernick to reproduce this week against a struggling Falcons pass defense who will certainly provide plenty of opportunities for targets like Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis.

Falcons Running Game

Michael Turner

  • Looking at the Falcons offense now and its the running game that needs to step up and produce. The Falcons were the fourth worst team running the football this year after veteran starter Michael Turner failed to pass the 1,000 barrier for the first time since the 2009 season.
  • The Falcons face another difficult rush defense this week against a 49ers defense led by by their Pro Bowl pair of Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman at middle linebacker. If the rushing attack fails to get going for Atlanta, this piles the pressure on quarterback Matt Ryan in the passing game and Ryan is coming off his first ever 200 yard passing performance in the Playoffs.


49ers Pass Rush

Aldon Smith

  • With Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan putting on poor performances in Playoff football throughout his career (six interceptions in four fames) the last thing he needs is to be facing this ferocious 49ers pass rush. Led by All-Pro outside linebacker Aldon Smith, the Niners pass rush will look to put pressure on Ryan early and often in this one.

Falcons Linebackers

Sean Weatherspoon

  • If the Falcons are going to have any chance of stopping the 49ers running game, they will need the help of their linebackers to combat the Niners running duo of Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore. Look for linebacker Sean Waetherspoon to be given the role of playing quarterback spy on obvious passing downs to prevent Kaepernick from taking off and running.


Jim Harbaugh

It all comes down to the number 1 and number 2 seeds for the NFC Championship Game tomorrow night.
After knocking off my preseason pick for the Super Bowl title last week, I think the 49ers will win this one and advance to a Super Bowl of their own.
49ers 26 Falcons 17

So that’s my breakdown of the game.

Feel free to have your say in the comment section below and for more Playoff updates, follow me on Twitter.

Follow @PodgeOH


Playoffs Preview- NFC Divisional Round

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Aaron Rodgers

After a typically dramatic wildcard weekend, the Playoffs continue this week with the divisional games just around the corner.

The first of two NFC divisional games takes place on Saturday night as the Green Bay Packers travel to San Francisco to take on the 49ers.

The second game is on Sunday in Atlanta as Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks tackle Matt Ryan and the Falcons at the Georgia Dome.

Now without further ado, here are my previews and predictions for the games.

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers

Mike McCarthy

Keys to the Game

When the Packers have the ball…

Aldon Smith

Aaron Rodgers vs 49ers Pass Rush

  • The 49ers boast one of the toughest defenses in the NFL led by star linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVarro Bowman. However, it’s one of the Niners other starting linebackers that will provide the biggest test for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and that is pass rusher Aldon Smith.
  • Smith had an outstanding 19.5 sacks in the regular season and is one of the most feared pass rushers in the league coming off the edge. Rodgers will be under pressure from Smith and the rest of the 49ers pass rush throughout the game and faces his biggest test of the year on the road in San Francisco.

When the 49ers have the ball…

Frank Gore

Frank Gore and 49ers Running Game vs Packers Run Defense

  • Whilst the 49ers passing attack has been inconsistent this season, their running game has remained one of the best units in the league led by starting running back Frank Gore. Gore rushed for over 1,000 yards again this campaign and he is also helped out by backups Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James along with quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
  • The Packers defense is still a work-in-progress vs the run and rank as the 17th best team in the league. How Clay matthews and co. handle Frank Gore and the 49ers running game will be key to the outcome of this one.


Clay Matthews

The Packers are coming off an impressive wildcard victory against their division rivals Minnesota Vikings and this will be a huge game in particular for their quarterback Aaron Rodgers against the team that passed on him in the 2005 Draft.

The 49ers are coming off a first-round bye and have the added pressure of having Colin Kaepernick as their starting quarterback with Kaepernick starting his first ever Playoff game.

In this contrast of quarterbacks between Packers starter Aaron Rodgers and 49ers backup Alex Smith, I think Rodgers proves yet again that the 49ers made the wrong decision.

Packers 28 49ers 19

Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons

Russell Wilson

Keys to the Game

When the Seahawks have the ball…

Marshawn Lynch

Marshawn Lynch and Seahawks Running Game vs Falcons Run Defense

  • Just like the 49ers in their game, the Seahawks offense will likely lean on their rushing attack led by their Pro Bowler Marshawn Lynch. Lynch rushed for a career-high 1,590 yards this season en route to helping the Seahawks to the league’s third best ground game averaging over 160 yards per game.
  • The Falcons defense ranks in the mid-twenties in terms of NFL rankings for both passing and rushing yards allowed per game but surprisingly, they only allow 18 points per game which is the fifth best in the league. Their run defense will set out to put the pressure on Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson in this one by shutting down Marshan Lynch and their running game.  

When the Falcons have the ball…

Julio Jones

Falcons Wide Receivers vs Seahawks Secondary

  • This is a key matchup in this game with two of the league’s best units going head-to-head with the Falcons wide receivers vs the Seahawks secondary. Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez will also be a target for quarterback Matt Ryan in the passing game.
  • Falcons wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones both had over 1,000 receiving yards this season with Jones in particluar emerging as a reliable weapon for the Falcons offense. The Pro Bowler will likely be covered by Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman with Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas also being a key player for the Seahawks secondary.


Matt Ryan

The Seahawks pulled off an upset last week in a win over RG3 and the Redskins on the road in Washington and they face another tough test this week on the road in Atlanta.

Matt Ryan and the Falcons may have lost their last regular season game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the number one seed appear to be favorites at home in this one.

I picked the Seahawks to lose last week and I’m doing the same again this time around.

Seahawks 17 Falcons 20

Mike Smith

So those are your previews and predictions.

For more Playoff updates, follow me on Twitter.

Follow @PodgeOH

NFC Playoff Picture- Final Standings

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Matt Ryan

The Regular Season finished last night and the Playoff picture is now complete.

Some of the standout teams missing out on the Postseason from the NFC this year are the defending Super Bowl champions New York Giants who finished with a disappointing 9-7 record 8-8 and their division rivals the Philadelphia Eagles who underachieved yet again this season.

Looking on the other side at some of the top teams now and the Atlanta Falcons secured the top seed with the San Francisco 49ers getting the number 2 seed.

The Playoffs kick off on Saturday night with the first of the two wildcard games.

So here are the final standings from the NFC.


1. Redskins 10-6

2. Giants 9-7

3. Cowboys 8-8

4. Eagles 4-12


1. Packers 11-5

2. Vikings 10-6

3. Bears 10-6

4. Lions 4-12


1. Falcons 13-3

2. Panthers 7-9

3. Saints 7-9

4. Bucs 7-9


1. 49ers 11-4-1

2. Seahawks 11-5

3. Rams 7-8-1

4. Cardinals 5-11

Playoff Seeds

1. Atlanta Falcons First-Round Bye

2. San Francisco 49ers First-Round Bye

3. Green Bay Packers Division Winner

4. Washington Redskins Division Winner

5. Seattle Seahawks Wildcard

6. Minnesota Vikings Wildcard

The first two seeds get a first-round bye, and the wildcard games see the number 3 seed vs  the number 6 seed and the number 4 vs the number 5 seed.

Minnesotta Vikings at Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers

Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins

Robert Griffin III

A full preview of both these games will be posted later this week.

For all your playoff updates, follow me on twitter.

Follow @PodgeOH

Written by podgeoh92

December 31, 2012 at 11:04 am

Week 16 Picks- Previews and Predictions

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Jeff Fisher

Week 16 kicks off tomorrow night with Saturday night football on ESPN as the Atlanta Falcons travel to Detroit to tackle the Lions.

Looking ahead to the rest of this weeks action now and there are some great games to watch on Sunday.

The Pittsburgh Steelers face a crucial AFC North clash with rivals Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field. There is also an exciting matchup in Baltimore as the Ravens take on the New York Giants.

Those are just two of the standout games to see this week with plenty more action on show.

Now without further ado, here are my picks for Week 16.

Extra Point

Cam Newton

Preview: 4-10 Raiders at 5-9 Panthers

Prediction: The Raiders get the win on the road in this one

Pick: Raiders Win

Preview: 5-9 Bills at 6-8 Dolphins

Prediction: These two AFC East rivals have disappointed this season and that continues for the Dolphins

Pick: Bills Win

Preview: 5-9 Chargers at 6-8 Jets

Prediction: Sorry Greg McElroy, the Chargers get the win here.

Pick: Chargers Win

Field Goal

Tom Brady

Preview: 10-4 Patriots at 2-12 Jaguars

Prediction: The Patriots should have no problems overcoming the Jags here

Pick: Patriots Win

Preview: 9-5 Colts at 5-9 Chiefs

Prediction: Andrew Luck and the Colts continue their impressive season in Kansas City

Pick: Colts Win

Preview: 6-8 Saints at 8-6 Cowboys

Prediction: The Cowboys winning streak will stay in tact after this game

Pick: Cowboys Win

Preview: 8-6 Redskins at 4-10 Eagles

Prediction: RG3’s health is a worry for the Redskins and so the Eagles get the win

Pick: Eagles Win

Preview: 6-7-1 Rams at 6-8 Buccaneers

Prediction: Jeff Fisher is a coach of the year candidate and he leads the Rams to another win in this one

Pick: Rams Win

Preview: 5-9 Titans at 10-4 Packers

Prediction: The Packers are heavy favorites at home in Lambeau Field

Pick: Packers Win

Preview: 8-6 Vikings at 12-2 Texans

Prediction: The Vikings playoff push looks to be over and the Texans get another victory here

Pick: Texans Win

Preview: 5-9 Browns at 11-3 Broncos

Prediction: Peyton Manning and the Broncos shouldn’t have any problems vs the Browns

Pick: Broncos Win

Preview: 8-6 Bears at 5-9 Cardinals

Prediction: The Bears offense needs to produce against this struggling Cardinals defense

Pick: Bears Win


Ben Roethlisberger

Preview: 8-6 Bengals at 7-7 Steelers

Prediction: The Steelers bounce back from disappointment here

Pick: Steelers Win

Preview: 8-6 Giants at 9-5 Ravens

Prediction: This is a must-win game for both teams but its the Ravens who come out on top

Pick: Ravens Win

Preview: 10-3-1 49ers at 9-5 Seahawks

Prediction: I give the Seahawks a slight edge at home

Pick: Seahawks Win

For all your NFL picks/previews/predictions and more, follow me on twitter.

Follow @PodgeOH

Written by podgeoh92

December 21, 2012 at 11:10 am

Thursday Night Football- Saints vs Falcons Preview

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Matt Ryan

Week 13 kicks off tomorrow night with a divisional clash from the NFC South as the 5-6 New Orleans Saints travel to Atlanta to take on the 10-1 Falcons in the Georgia Dome.

The game is live on NFL Network for American viewers and will also be shown on Sky Sports 2 in Ireland.

Now without further ado, here is my preview of the game.

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons

Drew Brees

Stadium– Georgia Dome

Kick Off- 8:20 p.m. in Atlanta/1:20 a.m. in Ireland


Matt Ryan

A defeat in this game  will signal the end of any possible Postseason chances for the New Orleans Saints with a win for the Falcons almost guaranteeing them the number 1 seed in the NFC for the Playoffs.

In a high-scoring game, I see Matt Ryan keeping and the Falcons keeping their impressive home record going with another victory.

Saints 17 Falcons 35

So that’s your preview and prediction, hope everyone enjoys the big game.

Follow @PodgeOH

Written by podgeoh92

November 28, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Week 10 Games- Live on Sky

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Tony Romo

Its time to look ahead to this weeks exciting live action with some great games lined up on Sky.

Sky Sports 3 will be showing two live games tomorrow night:

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees

Stadium- Mercedez-Benz Superdome

Kickoff- 12 p.m. in New Orleans/6 p.m. Irish Time

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

Michael Vick

Stadium- Lincoln Financial Field

Kickoff- 4:25 p.m. in Philadelphia/9:25 p.m. Irish Time

NFL RedZone

Matt Ryan

Catch those live games along with the live feed from the rest of the action on NFL RedZone via the Red Button.

For a preview of Week 10, check out my weekly picks-

Follow @PodgeOH

Written by podgeoh92

November 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Week 3 Scores- Early Games

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Andy Dalton

Tonight’s early games in Week 3 have just finished and so here are the scores:

St. Louis Rams 6 Chicago Bears 23

Buffalo Bills 24 Cleveland Browns 14

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10 Dallas Cowboys 16

Jacksonville Jaguars 22 Indianapolis Colts 17

New York Jets 23 Miami Dolphins 20 (After OT)

San Francisco 49ers 13 Minnesota Vikings 24

Kansas City Chiefs 27 New Orleans Saints 24 (After OT)

Detroit Lions 41 Tennessee Titans 44 (After OT)

Cincinnati Bengals 38 Washington Redskins 31

Philip Rivers

Remember that these final scores are just from the early games with the late games still to come.

Some of the standout late games include a battle of two undefeated teams in San Diego as the Atlanta Falcons play my Chargers.

There is also the small matter of the Houston Texans travelling to Denver to take on Peyton Manning and the Broncos which is live right now on Sky Sports  4.

Highlights from all tonight’s games are available to watch here:

Follow @PodgeOH

Written by podgeoh92

September 23, 2012 at 9:03 pm