Friday, January 6, 2012

NFL Playoffs 2012 - Wild Card Weekend

The NFL playoffs are here, and I couldn’t be more excited. With apologies to March Madness, the World Series and the Olympics, the NFL Playoffs are the best collection of events in all of sport. There’s all the greatness of regular season football, with bad weather and more risk-taking added for our enjoyment. In the regular season, coaches rarely take the kind of risks they do in the playoffs, and it makes for some spectacular entertainment. Plus there are Saturday afternoon and evening games, which only increase the fun.

I like to make picks for the playoffs, if only to outline the specific things that WILL NOT happen when they actually play the games. Because if I predict something will happen, that almost guarantees that it will not happen. I am far more likely to go 0-11 during the playoffs than I am to go 11-0, so don’t do anything I wouldn’t do with the information below.

Bengals at Texans - line is Texans -3.5

This is the first ever playoff game for the Texans, so good for them. This is really the first playoff game for this iteration of the Bengals, since they’ve been so bad for so long. As long as TJ Yates starts for the Texans, this will be the first playoff game in the Super Bowl era to feature rookie starting QBs for each team. Since neither of these teams are really going to go anywhere, I won’t spend anymore time thinking about this one.

My pick: Texans 27, Bengals 14

Lions at Saints - line is Saints -10.5

The over/under on this one is 59, which is the highest total ever for a wild card playoff game. The Saints beat the Lions in New Orleans on 12/4 by a final of 31-17. The Lions last playoff game was after the 1999 season. The Saints won the Super Bowl two years ago and Drew Brees rules. That’s a lot of points to give up, but this Lions club is the kind of team that will get frustrated and quit if they get behind.

My pick: Saints 42, Lions 10 (and consider taking the under, 59 is just way too many points)

Falcons at Giants - line is Giants -3

The Falcons just aren’t that good. The Giants aren’t a whole lot better, but on defense they can rush the passer, and Atlanta’s QB Matt Ryan is terrible on the road. The Giants seem to think they can duplicate their run to the Super Bowl from a few years ago, and while that’s going a bit too far, I don’t think they’ll have any trouble with the Falcons.

My pick: Giants 29, Falcons 11

Steelers at Broncos - line is Steelers -8.5

Oh look, a home underdog in the playoffs! How exciting! While you’re reading this, take a minute to read why Ryan Clark is not playing for the Steelers. It’s a very interesting story. Look, I know Tebow is terrible, and a lot of people think the Steelers are going back to the Super Bowl this year. But Roethlisberger can barely walk right now. Denver plays tough at home, and every year something crazy happens in the playoffs. I’d heard some places were going as high as Steelers -10, which I would like more, but at the same time, 8.5 isn’t bad in what figures to be a low scoring game. I actually think the Broncos can win this one.

My pick: Broncos 16, Steelers 6

And here's something awesome from last year - one of the best runs you will ever see:

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