Sunday, January 08, 2012

NFL Wild Card Weekend: Sunday's Games

Atlanta at New York Giants, 12 p.m. CST (FOX)
My gut is telling me that Atlanta could pull off the upset in this game, but after watching Houston dominate Cincinnati on both sides of the ball yesterday, I can't go that way. Why not? I think the Giants are better than Houston, they're playing at home, and Atlanta is a dome team playing outside. Added to that, if there was an offensive MVP for December, it was definitely Eli Manning,  who has been cash money in the fourth quarter this season. Atlanta has been inconsistent at best, while the Giants have once again put things together late in the season. I think the Giants win this one without the need for Eli's fourth quarter heroics.
Giants 31, Falcons 17

Pittsburgh at Denver, 3:30 p.m. CST (CBS)
I was chatting with my good friend Tuck last week, who is a Steelers fan. I asked him if he was worried about Ben Roethisberger's bad ankle and the Steelers' offensive struggles recently going up against a good Denver defense and Tebow's unlikely success. His reply: "If I gave you Tebow, and I took [Troy] Polamalu and [James] Harrison, would you take that bet? Of course you would—IN BIZARRO WORLD!" That about sums it up for me. Harrison is going to torment Tebow, and when he throws up (pun intended) one of his dying quail passes, Polamalu's going to grab it and take it to the house. Again, I don't see any fourth quarter heroics in this one.
Steelers 34, Broncos 13

Saturday recap
Houston 31, Cincinnati 10
Kudos to the Texans for winning their first playoff game in franchise history, and they did it by outplaying the Bengals on both sides of the ball. If I were the Ravens, I'd be worried about stopping the Texans' running game since I'm gonna have to keep double-coverage on Andre Johnson. T.J. Yates has his work cut out for him against the Ravens defense, but he didn't look like a rookie yesterday; Andy Dalton did.
My prediction: Bengals 17, Texans 13

New Orleans 45, Detroit 28
I decided last week that since I don't have a horse in this year's race, I wanted to climb on the "Who Dat?" bandwagon. Having said that, I was a bit worried in the first half. Detroit was making huge plays on offense, and the Saints gave up two turnovers. Then the second half rolled around, and the Saints did their Road Runner imitation. Remember when the coyote got up to top speed and almost caught the Road Runner? RR would then turn around, go "Meep-Meep!", stick his tongue out, and then kick in the afterburners, leaving the coyote in the dust. That's the Saints. If someone knocks off Green Bay next week, the Saints are going to the Superbowl.
My prediction: Saints 45, Lions 38