Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 12, 2013

AARON SNYDER: Don’t count teams out

Aaron Snyder
The Independent

ASHLAND — Let’s just get this out of the way first ...

    The Bengals shouldn’t have abandoned their run game. The offensive line was opening holes for BenJarvus Green-Ellis and his 5.7 yards per carry was evidence of that.

It was a close game throughout, so it wasn’t like they were forced to go through the air.

They ran 45 total offensive plays, and just 15 were on the ground. That’s putting entirely too much pressure on Andy Dalton, who is 2 for 2 in getting Cincinnati to the playoffs in his young career, by the way.

The Bengals will be back.

But not this week.

The Texans, however, are. And everybody and their mother are writing them off.

Not me. I must hop back on Houston’s side.

Two reasons: The Texans accounted for my only miss last weekend; and they were my preseason Super Bowl champion pick.

We’ll get to why I am leaping back onto the bandwagon soon.

As the divisional round of the playoffs kick off today, it seems like most are writing off the Falcons, Texans and Ravens. Well, that’s a mistake. I’m taking two of them.



SATURDAY

Ravens at Broncos, 4:30 p.m.

Peyton Manning vs. Ray Lewis.

One legend has already announced his retirement (Lewis) and the other may have a few good years left.

Manning unbelievably picked up where he left off even after having missed a year after having neck surgery.

His postseason record of 9-10 is a constant reminder that he is human.

Joe Flacco and Anquan Boldin hooked up for some huge catches in Baltimore’s blowout of the Colts last week.

That combo will be a big factor in why the Ravens will almost pull off an upset.

Lewis’ dance is over.

Snyder says: Broncos 28, Ravens 24.



Packers at 49ers,

8 p.m.

Maybe the 49ers should revert back to their former offensive selves tonight and put Alex Smith under center.

Current quarterback Colin Kaepernick recently admitted he grew up a Packers fan!

Maybe a Kaepernick pick to Charles Woodson will seal it.

Look for former Kentucky standout Randall Cobb to likely be a factor in his return.

Snyder says: Packers 31, 49ers 27.



SUNDAY

Seahawks at

Falcons, 1 p.m.

They’re without their best pass rusher in Chris Clemons, they’ve got a rookie quarterback, Russell Wilson, and they were down 14-0 to a team with an ailing quarterback.

Yet everybody wants to pick the Seahawks!

Look, I know they’ve got two great cornerbacks who could very well hold the excellent Falcons receiving corps in check, but Atlanta is the better team here.

And I understand that Wilson is no ordinary rookie.

However, the No. 1 seed is at home, and QB Matt Ryan, as much of a playoff flop as he’s been, will turn it around now. He’ll go to Tony Gonzalez early and often in what is the future Hall of Fame tight end’s farewell tour.

Gonzalez finally gets that ever-elusive playoff win to help cement his legacy.

Atlanta must establish some kind of running game, and it will.

Snyder says: Falcons 26, Seahawks 20.



Texans at Patriots, 4:30 p.m.

OK, so the Texans lost three of their last four regular season games and their offense was fairly lackluster against the Bengals.

But when the whole world is against you, that’s when it’s time to shine.

Tom Brady and the Patriots sliced and diced the Texans during the regular season.

And I’m taking the Texans why?

Arian Foster and J.J. Watt, their offensive and defensive leaders.

The Texans have to strike first, and if they do, they’ll gain control and eat up time of possession by using their running backs and tight ends as they did against Cincinnati.

Snyder says: Texans 24, Patriots 21.

AARON SNYDER can be reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664.