Sabtu, 07 Januari 2012

NFL Wild Card Round Prediction

The first round of the NFL playoffs are here and the excitement is building for what should be a great day of football. All of the teams in this year's playoffs have had great seasons but all that will seem a lot better with a Super Bowl. These playoffs should be very exciting and it makes you wonder what if college football had a playoff. Now, with the first games only hours away, here are my prediction for today's NFL matchups.

Houston at Cincinnati
Cincinnati 21, Houston 17
Both of these teams are going to rely on good defensive performances. Houston will need TJ Yates to get going because Yates has not thrown a touchdown pass since the last time these two teams played each other. Jake Delhomme may get a shot to come in for Yates if Yates struggles. Yates will be helped by the return of Andre Johsnon and Owen Daniels to the passing attack for the Texans. Houston will need a huge performance from Arian Foster to help create play action pass opportunities for Yates. Andy Dalton will also look to lead his team to rebound after a loss to Baltimore last week. AJ Green versus former Bengals cornerback Jonathen Joseph will be a matchup to watch along with Andre Johnson agaisnt Nate Clements. Dalton will need Cedric Benson to play to open up the field for Andy Dalton. The x-factor in this game will be Bengals tightend Jermaine Gresham. Gresham will not be able to be covered by the Texans' linebackers and his performance will lead the Bengals to a tigh win in Houston. The Bengals will get to travel to New England in the next round.

Pittsburgh at Denver
Pittsburgh 27, Denver 16
Pittsburgh is one of the best teams in the AFC but because they could not win the division, they now have a tough opponent in Denver here in the first round even though the Broncos are on a three game losing streak. Tim Tebow has never played against a defense like this. Pittsburgh has always been known as one of the best teams at shutting down the run and this year is no exception. This linebacking corps led by James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley is the best group of linebackers in all of the NFL. Tebow is going to be forced to throw against the Steelers. The problem Tebow will have throwing the football is that Troy Polamalu is one of the best at disguising his coverage zone. This Steelers defense will not allow Denver to get many big plays and kicker Matt Prater will be key in keeping them in this game. Pittsburgh will need to be able to slow down Von Miller on the pass rush of Ben Roethlisberger to give him plenty of time to make plays. Pittsburgh's Mewelde Moore will be the x-factor in this game. Even though Moore became a starter because of injuries to Rashard Mendenhall, Moore has the ability to break huge runs off and he will have plenty of rushing yards. The Steelers will pull away from the Broncos at the end as Pittsburgh advances to face rivals Baltimore at M&T Bank Stadium.

Detroit at New Orleans
New Orleans 45, Detroit 35
Detroit could have avoided the Saints with a win last week but Matt Flynn tore up the Lions defense as they lost which now forces them to travel to New Orleans to play against one of the NFL's best in the loud Superdome. This game has all the potential to be a high scoring shootout. Drew Brees has had an MVP caliber year and has the best tightend in the NFC in Jimmy Graham. Graham has been a huge playmaker for Drew Brees and has been getting the job done constantly. Colston should also have a big impact on the game as he may get one-on-one matchups with the Lions secondary. Mark Ingram may have some great opportunities for big plays on halfback draws and delays. The one concern for the Saints offense is protecting Brees from the Lions defensive line which is led by Ndamukong Suh. Matthew Stafford will need to play exceptional as he has the talent to help him do that. Stafford has become an elite NFL quarterback this season. Stafford and Calvin Johnson have become the best quarterback-wide receiver combination this season. Calvin Johnson shouldn't have a hard time against the Saints secondary. The x-factor in this game will be Darren Sproles. Sproles has been an explosive force in the running game and most importantly on special teams. He will have a couple big plays that help to make the differance between the Saints and the Lions. New Orleans will beat the Lions and move on to face San Francisco in the next round.

Atlanta at NY Giants
Atlanta 31, NY Giants 17
The Giants got a huge win last week against the Cowboys to win the NFC East and make the playoffs while the Falcons were able to avoid playing the Saints this week due to the Falcons getting a win and Detroit losing at Green Bay. The Giants have not proven to be very consistent and Eli Manning is the prime example of that. Eli Manning had a great game against New England, and later in the season he was terrible against the Redskins, and then he plays great against the Cowboys. Eli Manning will never be a great quarterback if he continues to be as inconsistent as he is. The Giants will need Amhad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs to have good games and Victor Cruz to make big plays in the passing game. The Giants will need Jason Pierre-Paul and the defensive line to put lots of pressure on Matt Ryan. However, Ryan has refound the form that he had last season when the Falcons were the number one seed and this offense has truly soared. Tony Gonzalez has had a revival this year as he has been putting up huge numbers just like he did in his prime. Roddy White has been making some big plays recently and he should be able to have one or two in this game. Julio Jones has had a good rookie season and been good support for White. The x-factor in this game will be Michael Turner. Turner is one of the best runningbacks in the NFL and he has really gotten going. Turner will have a huge game and lead the Falcons to a rematch of last year's divisional round matchup with Green Bay.

Super Bowl Prediction
Green Bay defeats Baltimore
This should be a very exciting playoffs this year leading up through the Super Bowl.

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