It’s about 9:34 PM on a frigid winter night in Maine. What is a guy to do?
Write a preview of the first round of the NFL playoffs! That’s what!
Below are my picks and a brief analysis of each matchup. I guarantee I will go 4-0 or your money back.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans- As little faith as I have in Andy Dalton (fine, the “Red Rifle”), I have even less faith in TJ Yates. I mean, 3 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 5 fumbles in five full starts this year? The Texans can run the ball and rush the passer, but I like the Bengals- who went 9-7 in the best division in football. The pick? 20-17 CIN
Detroit @ New Orleans- This game has the makings of a shootout (Saints: 334 passings yards per game, Lions: 301 passing yards per game), so I’ll take the Saints, mostly because the Detroit defense is ranked 22nd in the league in pass defense. I have to thank Calvin Johnson, though, for a good season in fantasy (90 catches, 1600+ yards, 16 touchdowns). By the way, this is the very first game in NFL history pitting two 5,000 yard throwers against one another. The pick? 35-27 NO
Atlanta Falcons @ New York Giants- I really like this Giants team. Eli Manning has two very dangerous weapons in Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. If they get a quick lead, watch out – because their pass rush is formidable. I see Matt Ryan pulling a 17-28, 210 yards, a touchdown, an interception, and a lost fumble. It’d be very tempting to get into a gunfight with the Giants, but that’s the wrong move. If Atlanta has a chance to win this game, it’s if they pound the rock with Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers and sit behind that stone wall run defense (6th best in the NFL). The pick? 32-24 NYG
Pittsburgh @ Denver- The dumbest rule in the NFL- the 12-4 Steelers (who played Baltimore and Cinncy twice apiece) have to travel to Denver to play the 8-8 Broncos. Ryan Clark won’t be present for the game due to a dangerous blood disease, but I still like the Steelers. Don’t forget, however, that Denver is capable of hanging around in this game. And we all know that Tebow is invincible in the fourth quarter. Wait, what did you say? He’s not anymore? That stopped? Huh. The pick? 28-16 PIT
Basketball is in full swing and the NFL playoffs are about to commence. It’s good to be a sports fan right about now!