Friday, January 6, 2012

AC'S Spotlight-Wild Card Weekend

After a wild and wacky regular season, the NFL Playoffs are finally here. This 1st round doesn't have THE sexy matchup, but there's always 1 game on wild card weekend that surprises. We know the favorites, the Packers, Saints, and the Patriots. We have the old reliable in the Pittsburgh Steelers. Then there's the team trying to break through the glass window, in the Baltimore Ravens. Last but not least, we have the alleged "sleeper", the New York Giants. There's a lot of labels here, but winners are determined on the field.

Cincinnati at Houston-

This is the game I have no definitive idea about. The Bengals are mainly a product of their weak schedule, and Houston has T.J. Yates at QB. The Texans haven't played very well for awhile now since winning the division title on both sides of the ball, and you have to wonder whether this carries over. The key matchup here is Cincy's defensive line vs. the Texans offensive line. If the Bengals can stop the run and make this game all about T.J. Yates, then their chances of winning go up exponentially. That being said, Andy Dalton will have to play better than he has recently, look for A.J. Green to make some plays. I'm picking an upset here.

THE PICK: Bengals 24 Houston 20

Detroit at New Orleans-
This game certainly won't lack for points being scored. Both Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford threw for 5000 yards this year, and will continue to put up prolific numbers in this game. No one is giving Detroit a chance in this game, and rightfully so. The Saints in that dome this year have been unstoppable on offense, and after seeing Detroit's D play so awfully against Matt Flynn and the Packers last week, you can't expect the effort to be better. Brees played well in the 12/4 meeting as the Saints won 31-17. Something tells me that Detroit will come out playing with nothing to lose and go toe to toe with the Saints in a shootout. New Orleans wins this though, and sets up a date with the 49ers next Saturday.


THE PICK: Saints 37 Lions 31


Falcons at Giants-
The Giants are now viewed as the "sleeper" team. After beating the Jets and Cowboys to close the season, they allegedly have momentum and there is some truth to that. They have Tuck, Osi, and JPP which makes their pass rush very formidable against any team. We've seen what Victor Cruz has done this year, a year in which he's become one of the most explosive players in the NFL. Hakeem Nicks and Manningham are no slouches either, and that has helped Eli Manning have probably the best year of his career. People have jumped on the Giants bandwagon, but I tell you this, looking at the Giants in the Eli-Coughlin era, being the favorite isn't the greatest thing in the world. How many times have we seen the Giants, especially at home with everything in the world going for them play terribly? A lot, but even with all of that I can't trust the Falcons. The Falcons will be playing outside in cold weather, they haven't beaten anybody this season of note, (check out the wins), and besides Julio Jones is there anybody on that team that remotely scares you? I didn't think so.

THE PICK: Giants 28 Falcons 17


Pittsburgh at Denver-
Is there any chance for Tim Tebow in this game? His numbers have been absolutely atrocious in the last 3 weeks, he's regressed to an extreme. Denver's defense has not played with the same fire, not including last week's game against KC. Is there any reason to pick the Broncos? Maybe one. With the health of Big Ben in question, and the Steelers banged up all over the place, no Ryan Clark, I can see this game being a lot closer than it should be, but the Steelers losing this game? No way, they're destined for a showdown with the Pats or Ravens.


THE PICK: Steelers 20 Broncos 10

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