AFC playoff predictions: Patriots, Chargers advance

AFC playoff predictions: Patriots, Chargers advance
January 10, 2014, 2:00 pm
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Ravens front office reacts to missing the playoffs

AFC playoff predictions


What: Colts at Patriots

When: Saturday, 8:15 p.m.

Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts


Three reasons I like the Patriots

1. Tom Brady liked watching game film of the Colts’ defense.

Brady saw Alex Smith throw for 348 yards and four touchdowns against the Colts last week. If Smith can light up the Colts, I know Brady can.

2. Patriots CB Aqib Talib can handle Colts wide receiver T. Y. Hilton.

Talib is one of the NFL’s top corners, and he is likely to shadow Hilton all night. Hilton torched the Chiefs with 224 yards receiving last week, and he beat Talib twice for touchdowns when they matched up during the 2012 regular season. However, that was Talib’s first game with the Patriots. He won’t let that happen again, and Andrew Luck will have a harder time finding open receivers.

3. The Patriots running game is underrated.

LeGarrette Blount and Steven Ridley will find running lanes against the Colts’ defense.

Final score: Patriots 41, Colts 28

[RELATED:NFC Predictions Seahawks and Panthers will advance]


What: Chargers at Broncos

When: Sunday, 4:30 p.m.

Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver


Three reasons I like the Chargers.

1. They can run the football. Mathews has a lingering ankle injury, but the Chargers also have Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown. The only sure way to stop Peyton Manning is to keep him off the field. The Chargers’ offense can do that.

2. Chargers coach Mike McCoy knows Manning’s tendencies very well. They worked together last season when McCoy was Denver’s offensive coordinator. That intimate knowledge helps the Chargers matchup well with the Broncos.

3. Without injured linebacker Von Miller, the Broncos’ pass rush is suspect.

That means Philip Rivers should have time to throw. That means the Broncos’ defense is in trouble. I see another heartbreaker for Manning.

Final score: Chargers 23, Broncos 17.