Divisional Round Matchup Predictions
That being said, I think the Seahawks deserve the privilege to head to the city of the NFC's top team with a chance to take them down.
Part of the reason that RG3 was able to be effective against the Seahawks was because the kid simply doesn't turn over the football. Falcons' quarterback Matt Ryan is also a pretty safe ball handler, but has been prone to interceptions a couple times this season. I think there's a chance he has another one of those days against the Seahawks' ridiculously physical, aggressive secondary.
Finally, the Falcons' defensive weakness is a beautiful matchup for Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks' offense. The Falcons give up 4.8 yards per carry (29th in the league), while the Seahawks gain 4.8 yards per carry (5th in the league). I expect Lynch to lead a few long, time consuming touchdown drives while Matt Ryan struggles (to a certain extent) throwing into a vicious defensive backfield.
Seahawks win 23-20.
Texans (13-4) @ Patriots (12-4): We all know the story here - these teams faced off a month ago and the Texans got embarrassed, losing 42-14. The Patriots got out to a 28-0 lead, and led by as many as 35 during the game. Tom Brady has had another MVP-caliber season and has his best receiving weapon back on the field in Rob Gronkowski. The defense has worked the bend-don't-break strategy to perfection, allowing plenty of yards but very few points, thanks to a plethora of defensive playmakers who can force turnovers.
Though the Texans got smoked on this field recently, and have not played very well since, I don't expect them to go down so easily as they did in their last bout with the Pats. They remember what happened in Foxboro a month ago, and they're furious with themselves about it. It's all added inspiration for them to step up and advance to the AFC Championship.
However, it's hard to see a team win 42-14 and not pick them to beat the same team a month later when not much has changed. I think the Texans keep us more entertained this time around, but Tom Brady will be too much for the Texans' slightly overrated defense to handle. Matt Schaub is on this team to make select plays when the team really needs him and to take care of the football. He's not the type of quarterback to sling the rock like crazy, put the team on his back, and carry them to an AFC Championship - but that's what he'll have to be asked to do on Sunday.
Patriots win 31-21.