Friday, January 6, 2012

NFL Wildcard Weekend Predictions

BENGALS (9-7) at TEXANS (10-6)

Two rookie quarterbacks go head to head in this one in a rematch of a Week 14 game that went down to the final seconds. Houston won that one 20-19 in Cincinnati when T.J. Yates hit Kevin Walter on a 6 yard touchdown pass with just 2 seconds left on the clock. Yates threw for a career high 300 yards that day, but the Texans have since lost three straight. The Bengals aren't exactly on a roll themselves though having concluded the regular season by allowing 221 rushing yards in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Houston should have wide receiver Andre Johnson available for this game, something they didn't have during their regular season matchup, and his presence should both help out Yates, while also preventing the Bengals from loading up the box against Houston's second ranked rushing attack. Cincinnati is 0-7 this year against playoff teams, and as much as I like Andy Dalton and company, I don't see them breaking that trend this week. Pick: Texans 24 Bengals 20

LIONS (10-6) at SAINTS (13-3)

New Orleans beat the Lions 31-17 back in Week 13, and I have a hard time seeing this one going any differently. Drew Brees threw for 342 yards and 3 touchdowns in that game, and the Lions secondary is coming off a week in which they allowed seldom used backup Matt Flynn to throw for 480 yards and 6 touchdown passes. And let's face it, Matt Flynn is no Drew Brees. Outdoors, I'd give Detroit a shot, but with this game being played in a dome, and considering the Saints haven't lost in New Orleans all year, I'd say the writing's on the wall. That said, I expect Matt Stafford and company will make it interesting, so don't expect a blowout. Pick: Saints 34 Lions 27

 FALCONS (10-6) at GIANTS (9-7)

Of the four games this weekend, this was the one I had the toughest time picking. Atlanta has won 8 of 11 and two of those three losses were against the Saints. The Giants have bounced back after 4 straight losses to win 3 of 4 and take the NFC East title. The Falcons struggle on the road, but the Giants haven't exactly lit it up at home, and both teams have playmakers on both sides of the ball. If the Giants can bottle up Michael Turner and make the Falcons one-dimensional I think that gives them the edge in this one. Look for Eli Manning to have a big day and get the Giants into the next round. Pick: Giants 27 Falcons 21

STEELERS (12-4) at BRONCOS (8-8)

Who would you rather have? A hobbled Ben Roethlisberger or a struggling Tim Tebow? After reeling off 6 straight wins, the Broncos suddenly find themselves losers of three in a row and were outscored 47-17 by the Bills and Chiefs to close out the season. And Pittsburgh's defense is nothing like what Tebow has ever seen. Even with Big Ben banged up and Rashard Mendenhall done for the year, the Steelers are still too talented for Denver. Pick: Steelers 24 Broncos 10

No comments:

Post a Comment