The playoffs are finally here and I’m coming off a great week. Both those things should mean that everything is great right now, but they’re not because this is literally the worst wildcard match-ups I can remember. None of these games really interest me because almost half of these teams shouldn’t even be in the playoffs right now.
I’d take the 8-8 Eagles, Chargers and even Cardinals (I said it) over teams like the Broncos, Bengals, Houston and even Lions. I believe the Eagles are in fact without question better than those four teams I just mentioned, Chargers, depending on if they show up, are better than most of those teams and the Cardinals (especially at home) are at least better than one if not two.
The Bengals are your typical beat-up-on-bad teams and pretend you’re a great team when you’re really a slightly above-average team. People want to give them kudos for the fact that they played Ravens close twice and Steelers close once, but (a) they didn’t know how give the knock out blow to win in any of those games and (b) it’s a divisional game, which usually means the games going to be close despite what each teams’ records are.
The Broncos are basically the same kind of team, but a little different because they had an unique offense that defenses in the NFL weren’t use to, and, just like the wild-cat, a scheme was put-together by someone to stop it and then the other defenses stole and used the same formula to stop them. A few weeks ago before the Patriots blew the Broncos out, Broncos were the hottest looking team in the NFL because it felt like despite how poorly they play they’re going to find a win the game, but now they’re as pathetic as they come. It of course would be great if they build a new/innovative gameplan together to beat the Steelers, but that seems just too unlikely.
The Houston Texans looked like the greatest AFC team in the league at one time, but that was when they had Matt Schaub. Now they’re down to their 3rd QB, TJ Yates, who is playing smart enough to help his team stay in it, but he’s not playing, nor do I believe he’s capable, at least at this time, enough to win a game. That said, they have a great running backs and a great defense, but in this league you need a QB to win you games and the Texans are completely lacking in that department.
The Detroit Lions are a tale of two teams. Sometimes they look like world-beaters, but that’s when they’re facing bad teams. Against a great team they cannot get it done. Even against Greenbay’s back up in a meaningless game for them and a meaningful game for the Lions, they allowed Matt Flynn to throw for not one, not two, not three, not four, not even five, but six touchdowns.
Cincinnati Bengals+3 vs. Houston Texans
I’m going back and forth on this game and I am still not sure. I don’t believe in TJ Yates, but I don’t believe in Andy Dalton. Ugh. This is hard. I have no logic with going with the Bengals here; it’s pure instincts. Bengals 20, Texans 17
Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints-11
The spread is high – I know – but as much as I love 11 points in a playoff game I cannot take them here. The Saints haven’t been stopped at home or on turf. The Lions cannot run the ball and too much pressure will be on Stafford to keep up to this well balanced Saints offense. The Lions also just got mauled by Matt Flynn in cold weather. If the Saints don’t shoot themselves in the foot, they should roll over the Lions here. Saints 40, Lions 27
Atlanta Falcons+3 vs. New York Giants
I thought about and thought about it and couldn’t come up with anything. What I am talking about is how the Falcons could possibly win this game. I know people are saying the Giants will choke and blow it – and yeah, I know that they have a history of choking, but let’s not forget that they did beat the Patriots in a very similar position they’re in now. Of course that was a different team, but they still have the same QB and head coach. The Giants, carried by Eli Manning, appear as if they can beat any team when they’re on. Meanwhile, the Falcons are a team who can beat the easy teams but fail to beat the good ones. If this game was in the 72 degree dome, I’d say this is a different story, but let’s not pretend this Falcons team is a good outdoor, cold weather team. The only way they’re going to have a shot in winning this game is if the ground and pound it with Michael Turner. Since Giants front 4 is back at full strength, that seems far-fetched. Giants 24, Falcons 14
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Denver Broncos+9
I think this is going to be one of those “out oh” games for about two quarters for the Steelers but then they’re going to turn it up a notch and the Broncos aren’t going to be able to keep up. Against a smart, wise, in-your-face defense, I don’t believe the Broncos can muster out more than 100 total yards on offense. That said, they’re going to have to dig down deep to beat the Steelers. And hell, they might actually get a non-offensive touchdown ; however, it’s just not going to be enough to dismay the Steelers. Steelers do play down to their opponent though, so I’ll give the Broncos some satisfactions and say they cover the spread….almost. Steelers 13, Broncos 3