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Commentary: Picking the winners of this week's round of NFL playoffs

Well, it seems like forever that I typed out my column for this paper. It hasn't been forever, but it has been nearly a month.

This, my first column of the new year, is a work in progress as I sit here. There's nothing that has grabbed me over the past week or it's just that I don't have enough info on a particular subject to fill the space.

So, let's start with what most of you are hyped about around here these days: the Baltimore Ravens.

Congrats from me to all my Ravens-rooting friends on a division championship season and a win in the opening round of the playoffs just the other day.

I'm not sure Sunday's game played out exactly the way I had it drawn up in my mind, but I really didn't think the Colts could beat the Ravens this year.

Now, turning to this week and a trip to Denver to visit the man who led the Colts in previous wins against the Ravens and again this year as a Bronco, Peyton Manning. Love him or hate him, you have to respect him.

The forecast for Denver is not balmy. In fact, it's going to be downright cold. Will that benefit the Ravens in some way as Manning, over the years, has seemed to have some trouble in cold weather games, most notably in New England?

Obviously, Manning played out there all season, but I'm not sure the conditions were ever such as they may be late Saturday afternoon in the Mile High city.

So, what gives in this classic matchup? Will it be the final game for future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis? Will Manning pull out the win and make another run at the Super Bowl?

Here's what I think.

First of all, I can't see it as the blowout it was just a few weeks ago. That said, multiple turnovers either way could make it another lopsided outcome.

Turnovers aside, home game, brutal cold, obnoxious fans. I see the Broncos pulling it out by less than 5 points. Enjoy the game, be smart and be safe.

While I'm at it, I'll fill out the other playoff games .

A lot of people think, and for good reason, that the Atlanta Falcons can't win the big games and I don't blame them. I, however, think that will change. The Falcons will bring Seattle and its fans back to reality with a win.

The most intriguing playoff comes on the West Coast where the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49'ers will meet in a rematch from week one. That day, San Francisco pulled out the win, 30-22, with replacement refs handling the game. Real refs or not, Green Bay knocks the other Harbaugh out of the playoffs.

That leaves the Houston at New England game and while Houston shut a few people up with last week's win, Tom Brady and crew will be just too much and Houston will have a problem.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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