Hello one and all,
With draft time closing in, I’ve felt an itch to get back into this blog so we’ll start while the season still goes.
#3 Houston Texans vs #6 Cincinnati Bengals
This is a unique match-up in NFL history. Never have two rookie quarterbacks started against each other in a playoff game. Ideally for the Texans, Matt Schuab would be at the helm and Mario Williams would still be terrorizing quarterbacks, but they’ve managed to survive some of the worst luck – injury wise – in the last few years. Cincinnati brings a power running game, a future star receiver, and a potent defense. Andy Dalton quickly learned this year that AJ Green is legit, and the rest of the NFL is quietly realizing that fact. Defensively, the Bengals are stout in both phases. It’s a good match-up and worthy of an opening to the NFL Playoffs. The Bengals haven’t beaten good teams this year. They are 9-0 against non-playoff teams, but when it comes to the big boys they haven’t been able to sneak away with a win. They lost to these very Texans earlier this season. I’ll take Houston at home, with their power rushing attack and excellent defense.
Houston 17 – Cincinnati 14
#3 New Orleans Saints vs #6 Detroit Lions
This is the match-up everyone wanted except these two teams. The Lions are playing very well currently, their passing attack has found some of its early season form, but their defense has slowed down from its elite opening. The Saints are playing the best football of any team in the country, but they were taken to the wire by the Lions earlier this year and that was before Stafford had decided that Calvin was probably still better than double teams too. I can’t go against the Saints at home though. It should be a phenomenal game either way.
New Orleans 34 – Detroit 30
#5 Atlanta Falcons vs #4 New York Giants
The NFC features the best divisional match-ups. This is no exception. Matt Ryan continues to look for the same playoff success that his rival Joe Flacco has had against one of the most ferocious pass rushing group in the NFL. JPP is All Pro in my book, and the tandem of Tuck and Osi means there’s constant pressure up front. The Giants continue to run a base scheme built around front four pressure that’s tough to beat. The Falcons have been hot and cold all year, but have been solid down the stretch. Still, going to New York and facing this kind of defense will cause all sorts of problems. And we haven’t even mentioned Eli Manning is having his best year of his career.
New York 27 – Atlanta 17
#5 Pittsburgh Steelers vs #4 Denver Broncos
This is kind of a wild card match up. The Steelers are as banged up as they’ve been all year, mostly due to their attempts to secure a first round bye. Most rumors say Pouncey is out which will hurt an already beat up offensive line. Roethlisberger has suffered due to the constant bombardment he faces. He didn’t look very poised against the Browns last week, but against a divisional rival all bets are off. Denver, meanwhile, backed their way into the playoffs and has looked terrible on offense. Defensively they’re strong, but they are not a turnover defense. They’ll force 3 and outs and allow their offense as many opportunities as possible to get points. This should be a low scoring game, but the Steelers will likely find the big plays on offense or defense when they need them.
Pittsburgh 17 – Denver 7