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by Russ Bliss (1/5/2013)


It's that time of year again where the NFL Playoffs get under way. Many use our fantasy football analyzer software during the course of the regular season to help them make the right decisions for their weekly lineup decisions, but our system also provides NFL game predictions each week. With so many fantasy enthusiasts playing in playoff fantasy football leagues now, our fantasy football Draft Analyzer has run the simulations and made predictions for the outcomes of each game all the way thru the Super Bowl.

Last season, the Analyzer got Tebowed in round 1 as its predicted AFC Champion, Pittsburgh, was derailed by Denver in Wild Card weekend. The prediction of a Steelers/Saints Super Bowl quickly fell apart as the Saints lost in round 2.

So what does our Analyzer algorithm see in this season's playoffs? The following is a breakdown of each week with score predictions by our Power Lineup Analyzer.


Wild Card Weekend


Cincinnati at Houston

Losing 3 of their last 4 games sent the Houston Texans from being the #1 seed in the AFC and having homefield advantage throughout the playoffs to the #3 seed and having to play in the Wild Card round. Their defense really slipped the last half of the regular season and their offense went from being strong to being mediocre. Meanwhile Cincinnati went 7-1 in their last 8 games to jump up and grab the 6th seed. Even more amazing for Cincinnati was that they did it despite their offense struggling at times, especially in the last few games. This is a rematch of last season's Wild Card matchup. In that game, Houston won handily 31-10 and our Analyzer had the Texans in that game. But this year, our Analyzer sees it a bit differently as the Bengals defense and the Texans offensive woes combine to keep the game close enough for the Bengals to pull out a squeaker 21-20.


Minnesota at Green Bay

A rematch of a week 17 classic, in which Minnesota won 37-34, the Vikings return to the scene of the last game they lost this season: Green Bay. While Adrian Peterson ran roughshod over the Packers in their two meetings (409 rush yards, 3 total TD's) the difference in the two games was Vikings QB Christian Ponder. In a loss to the Packers Ponder threw for 119 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions. In this 3rd game between these two division rivals, Adrian Peterson will again gash the Packers for nearly 190 rushing yards and a TD, but Ponder will struggle again throwing for less than 130. Meanwhile Aaron Rodgers will get all of his WR's involved, tossing 3 TD passes as he leads the Packers to a 31-21 victory.


Seattle at Washington

This matchup features two rookie QB's leading their teams. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks enter this matchup on a 5 game winning streak and have won 7 of their last 8 games while Robert Griffin III has helped Washington win their last 7 games straight. Both teams feature strong rushing attacks and both Marshawn Lynch and Alfred Morris will get around 100 rushing yards and also score a TD each. Both QB's will rush for around 50 yards themselves and while neither QB is likely to throw an interception, the difference is that somehow Wilson will throw 2-3 TD's while RG3 only has 1-2. It's a surprise upset for the Redskins at home according to the Analyzer as Seattle comes out on top of Washington 28-20.


Indianapolis at Baltimore

Andrew Luck has surpassed the high expectations placed on him leading the Colts from the worst team in the NFL in 2011 to a Wild Card entrant in the 2012 NFL playoffs. Luck has helped lead the Colts to a 5-1 record in their last 6 games while the Ravens and Joe Flacco have managed to lose 4 of their last 5 games. Injuries certainly played a part in the Ravens demise while the inspirational story of Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano has been a motivation for Indianapolis. Ravens LB Ray Lewis has declared this will be the final season in his Hall of Fame career and that should inspire the Ravens. It's going to be a close game between these two teams and the real difference will be made by Ray Rice (projected for nearly 150 combined yards and a TD). The Analyzer sees it Baltimore 21, Indianapolis 17.


Divisional Round

So the Analyzer has set up a second round of games consisting of:

Cincinnati at Denver
Green Bay at San Francisco
Seattle at Atlanta
Baltimore at New England

Here is how the Analyzer sees this round shaking out:


Cincinnati at Denver

The Bengals, fresh off their first road playoff win since the 1980's travel to Denver and take on Peyton Manning. Manning has been nothing short of stellar most of the season helping lead the Broncos to the top seed in the AFC. Denver hasn't lost a game since the first week f October and have been steamrolling thru their schedule with precision. The loss of Willis McGahee has been negligible thanks to the emergence of Knowshon Moreno. Denver's defense has been tough allowing the fewest points of any team in the AFC. The Bengals defense has been no slouch though and will hold Peyton Manning to only 1 TD pass and under 300 passing yards. Too bad that isn't going to good enough for them though as their own offense will struggle to move the ball. Denver kicker Matt Prater will have the final say in this game as Denver will beat Cincinnati 17-14.


Green Bay at San Francisco

A rematch of the game that started the season for both of these clubs will prove to be a classic. In that first week, the 49ers were flawless on offense as Alex Smith threw for two TD's while Frank Gore rushed for 112 yards and a TD and the 49ers beat what looked like a listless Packers team 30-22. San Francisco has a different QB now in Colin Kaepernick and while he hasn't been gang busters, he's been efficient and has proven to be able to provide big plays in the offense that were lacking under Smith. He'll provide a few of those as he tosses 2 TD passes and helps the 49ers get to 25 points. Problem is that Aaron Rodgers will toss 3 TD passes and lead the Packers to 28. Final score: Green Bay 28, San Francisco 25.


Seattle at Atlanta

The Falcons have homefield advantage and what appears to be a favorable matchup. Matt Ryan has been outstanding most of the season and has excellent weapons to throw to. He'll hook up at least once with Julio Jones for a TD, and throw for nearly 300 yards. Michael Turner hasn't been getting a lot of yards and they'll be hard to come by this week too. But he has been getting into the end zone and may do so to salvage his fantasy playoffs value. But the story is going to be Russell Wilson. Over 250 passing yards, a passing TD and likely a rushing TD as well, Wilson is going to surprise the top seeded Falcons according to the Analyzer and help lift the Seahawks to a 22-19 upset of more heavily favored Atlanta.


Baltimore at New England

Earlier this season the Ravens beat the Patriots 31-30 on a FG that we're still not sure was good or not. The Patriots have to be kicking themselves for losing games like that one, or the one against Arizona in week 2. They would have homefield advantage throughout the playoffs if they just would have produced one more regular season victory. And at home, the Patriots seldom lose in the playoffs. A fact that no amount of inspiration by Ray Lewis is likely to overcome. That's not lost on the Analyzer either as while Joe Flacco is going to throw for close to 300 yards, he isn't going to outduel Tom Brady's 300+ and 2+ TD's. Stevan Ridley will get into the end zone himself on the ground and the Patriots will bring the career of Ray Lewis to a close with a 32-17 thrashing of the Ravens.


Conference Championship Games

This all will lead to two of the most entertaining scenarios for the conference championship games. The Packers get to host the Seahawks in a rematch of the game that finally proved to be too much to forgive in the replacement referee's debacle. While in the AFC, the Peyton Manning/Tom Brady rivalry meets again in the playoffs.


Seattle at Green Bay

You just know the Packers would love for this scenario to play out the way the Analyzer sees it as it means they get to not only get a home game for the Championship game, but it also means they get to try extracting revenge on Seattle for one of the worst calls in officiating history that also cost the Packers a first round bye. But like with many things, the Analyzer says the Packers should be careful about what they wish for as it may not turn out the way they expect. While Aaron Rodgers will throw for over 300 yards and 2 TD's, Russell Wilson will also throw for 2 TD's. He'll also be supported by a strong rushing attack led by Marshawn Lynch (114 rush yards, 1 TD). The Packers get what they want, but not the result they want. Seattle wins a 3rd consecutive road playoff game and upsets Green Bay 28-20.


New England at Denver

Back in June, when there were still concerns about Peyton Manning's neck, did anyone think we'd have the Manning/Brady rivalry back in the AFC Championship game? Funny thing is that while both QB's are going to put up some strong numbers, it's not going to translate into a high scoring affair according to the Analyzer. The Patriots are going to rue the fact they couldn't get just one more win during the regular season as then this game would have been played in New England. But they didn't, and it isn't. Peyton Manning does exactly what he was brought to Denver to do: take the Broncos back to a Super Bowl. Manning helps lead the Broncos to a 23-20 victory over the Patriots.


Super Bowl 47

Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks

It seems like just yesterday that the Seahawks and Broncos were division rivals in the AFC West. But that actually was a long time ago and now they will face each other in the Super Bowl. The upstart Seahawks led by a rookie QB who measures under 6'0" tall have surprised everyone getting to this point and they are going to surprise everyone again by making sure that this game never gets out of hand. In fact, it not only is going to be a low scoring game dominated by defenses, it's going to be decided by a single point. And while Wilson and Seattle will take this game down to the last play, they are going to fall short. Peyton Manning gives the Broncos what they've been starving for since John Elway retired: a Lombardi Trophy. Final score: Denver 17, Seattle 16.


And that's how our fantasy football software analyzer program sees the NFL playoffs going.