NFL Wild Card Playoff Predictions
The wild card round of the NFL playoffs has arrived and there are some tasty match ups ahead. At 4:30 pm today the Cincinnati Bengals will visit the Houston Texans in a rematch of their game in Cincy back in early December when the Texans won 20-19 on a last second touchdown. It’s the Texans first time ever in the playoffs. Tonight, the Detroit Lions make their return to the playoffs for the first time since 1999, as they will visit the New Orleans Saints. On Sunday afternoon at 1:00 pm, the New York Giants will play host to the Atlanta Falcons, in a battle of two very high powered offenses, so you know this game will be decided by which defense can make a bigger stop. Finally, on Sunday at 4:30 pm, the Pittsburgh Steelers visit the Denver Broncos in a match up of two very good defenses, this will come down to if Tim Tebow can make a big play and can Ben Roethlisberger can provide a great game on a bad ankle. Now it is time for my Wild Card round picks, and I will also make my Super Bowl pick.
#6 Cincinnati Bengals @ #3 Houston Texans: In a rematch of a tightly contested contest in Cincinnati back in the regular season, the Texans and Bengals hold down two of the best defenses in the NFL. With two rookie quarterbacks leading each team, and these two defenses, you can expect a low scoring game, although each team has good weapons at running back, tight end, and wide receiver. I expect this to definitely be a low scoring game, and wouldn’t be surprised if both teams fail to reach 30 total points combined. I think the Texans just got too many play makers and veteran leaders, so i think Houston will pull this one out, but they will take a good hit to the mouth to advance to Baltimore. Houston (-4) against Cincinnati.
My Prediction: Houston Texans 20 Cincinnati Bengals 14
#6 Detroit Lions @ #3 New Orleans Saints: This will be a memorable Saturday night battle between two of the best offenses in the NFL. These teams played in the regular season in prime time in New Orleans, where the Saints took care of the Lions 31-17. Ndamukong Suh did not play in that game because he was suspended, so the outcome should be closer this game as Suh is a force on the Lions defense. I expect this to be a shootout between two of the games top 10 quarterbacks with so many weapons on each offense. New Orleans is 8-0 at home this season and Detroit is 5-3 on the road. Both quarterback’s Matthew Stafford and Drew Brees threw for over 5,000 passing yards this season, so this game will not disappoint. New Orleans is playing better then any team I’ve seen in a long time right now, and I can’t see them floundering in the first round for the second straight year. Expect Detroit to keep it close though. Detroit (+10.5) against New Orleans.
My Prediction: New Orleans Saints 38 Detroit Lions 34
#5 Atlanta Falcons @ #4 New York Giants: Another game consisting of two high powered offenses, this time between the Giants and Falcons. The Giants sneaked their way into the playoffs in a winner take all NFC East championship game at home in week 17 against the rival Dallas Cowboys, where the Giants just handed them their you know whats, 31-14. The Falcons are a similar team, with two explosive wide receivers in Roddy White and rookie Julio Jones, tight end Tony Gonzalez. The one thing Atlanta has, that Dallas didnt, is a consistent, and good running game. Falcons running back Michael Turner is a top 10 back in the NFL and will be a difference maker in this game. The Giants fearsome threesome on their defensive line, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, and Jason Pierre-Paul must pound Turner and hurry Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan if they want to win this game. We all know the Giants offense can score with anyone with a Super Bowl MVP as their quarterback in Eli Manning, two great wide receivers in Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. The Giants possess a solid run game with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, but the run game must stay consistent with the pass game to keep the Falcons on edge in this game. I expect it to be a high scoring close affair, and with the Falcons being a dome team and dome teams only being 16-46 in outdoor games in the playoffs, i expect the Giants to edge it out over Atlanta. New York Giants (-3) against Atlanta Falcons.
My Prediction: New York Giants 30 Atlanta Falcons 24
#5 Pittsburgh Steelers @ #4 Denver Broncos: This is a game between two very good defenses in the Steelers and Broncos. This is the first time Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is facing a top defense like Pittsburgh’s. It should be interesting to see how Tebow attacks the Steelers defense. I expect this to be a low scoring affair. Honestly, I can’t see Tebow outplaying this defense and a two time Super Bowl winning quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger. Ben is too good in the playoffs, having made three Super Bowls and winning two of them. I expect it to be a somewhat low scoring affair, but Pittsburgh will look like the better team no doubt. Don’t be surprised if Tebow rallies the Broncos in the fourth quarter to add hysteria and drama to the game. Pittsburgh Steelers (-8.5) against Denver Broncos.
My Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 23 Denver Broncos 13
My Super Bowl Pick: New Orleans Saints 31 Baltimore Ravens 23