Analyzing Wildcard Weekend

Posted: January 5, 2012 by arayegee in NFL
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Playoff season is here and its time to really nitpick on teams. Wildcard teams have had a stroke of luck recently, with the Giants and Packers both winning it all as 6 seeds in the past five years. Lets see how this weekend’s match ups look.

 

Atlanta Falcons vs. New York Giants– This game comes down to which version of each team shows up. For the Giants, you can either have the team that showed up against the Cowboys in 2008-esque form, or the inconsistent group that we’ve seen during the entire regular season. The Eli-Cruz combination has been working well lately, but the Giants will need to have Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs both playing at high levels to keep defenses honest.

Show of hands: Who still hasnt won a playoff game yet?

The city of Atlanta might need to check their water supply, because their most popular sports franchise (Falcons & Hawks) have a knack for being unceremoniously knocked out of the playoffs after a strong regular season. If this trend continues, then it will be a long day for Matt Ryan & Co.  Atlanta finally has an identity on offense, but their stingy, undersized defense may have trouble stopping the run against the physical New York offensive line. The feeling is, expect more of the same playoff Falcons to show up against an overachieving Giants team.

Winner: GIANTS

 

 

Cincinnati vs Houston: The definition of average: When you’re the best of the worst, or the worst of the best. This, ladies and gentleman, are the 2011 Cincinnati Bengals in a nutshell. They beat the teams they’re supposed to beat, and lose to the teams they’re supposed to lose to. This year, the Bengals went 0-7 against teams with a winning record, including a one point loss to the T. J Yates-led Texans at home. I don’t see them winning this game, but if they do it rest on the shoulders of Andy Dalton. He must keep this offense on schedule, and the Bengal defense cannot allow T. J Yates to throw for another 300 yards again, or it’ll be one and done for Cincy. What makes this game interesting is that neither team has any true playoff experience, outside of the Bengal players who were there during their two runs in 2006 and 2010, both resulting in wild card exits. As well as Houston has done with a group of injured warriors, the magic will end this weekend. Plus, its become hard to root against an AFC North rookie quarterback. Flacco and Roethlisberger, anyone?

Winner: BENGALS
Detroit vs New Orleans: New Orleans is arguably the hottest team in the playoffs right now. They are undefeated at home, and they have a quarterback who threw the equivalent of 3 miles this year.  Ranking 1st in passing yard and 6th in rushing yard, they have the most explosive offense in the playoffs.  Detroit, for all they have done this year, are only three years removed from an 0-16 season. NOBODY on this team knows how to win. Their overall playoff inexperience will be their death knell. And for all that’s said about their defensive line, they’re 23rd in the league in stopping the run. Last week this defense gave up 480 passing yards to MATTHEW FLYNN.

Unless the Saints’ secondary have a brain fart and forget to cover Calvin Johnson, the Lions’ only true threat offensively, dont expect anything less than a blowout.

Winner: SAINTS

 

Pittsburgh vs Denver: Denver’s offensive struggles will not magically be changed in one week. What you saw last week against Kansas City is exactly who they are.  Their quarterback wont become a great passer over the week, so they have to rely on their running attack. Coincidentally, they host a Steelers team who’s defense is geared to stop the run, but susceptible to the pass when spread out.  With safety Ryan Clark out this game, the Broncos would be be smart to open the field up and expose the Pittsburgh D. By doing that, they’ll be exposing their own fatal flaw: the arm of Tim Tebow. This sounds like the prelude to a long day for the Broncos, and it will be if they go the conventional route. Going conventional didnt spark a 7-3 run to get them into the playoffs, nor will it give them the franchise’s first playoff victory since the days of Elway. They will have to establish the run, and look for play action passes to open up the defense. Elway is right, Tebow needs to pull the trigger more.

By the time you finish reading this post, the ball will be leaving his fingertips.

Not much needs to be said about this Pittsburgh team and their playoff pedigree. They have found the cure to the Super Bowl hangover and were a Baltimore loss away from being the #2 seed. How effective Big Ben is with that high ankle sprain remains to be seen against a defense that has two bookends that can rush the passer, but its up to him and the offense to put the game out of reach to keep from Denver pulling off one of their inexplicable comeback victories.

If the Broncos pull this off, the National Guard needs to high tail it to Pittsburgh ASAP because that city is going to be burned to the ground.

 

Winner: Broncos *ducks and hides from Steelers fans*

 

 


 


 

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Comments
  1. RenzReport says:

    The winner of the CIN-HOU game will be the team that controls the running game…

    The Broncos over the Stillers tho! lol

  2. LBC says:

    Giants are the sleepers in the playoffs. I would not be shocked to see in the SuperBowl again. They are the only team with a relatively respectable defense. Falcons and Lions definitely have one and done written ALL over them. The Lions only have one play, and who will score more. SuperBowl record holding champion Drew Brees or Matt “Regular Season” Ryan?

    I would love to see Tebow beat the Steelers, but it won’t happen. Tebow might actually die in this game. Steelers are going to slaughter Tebow. This game might even make Skip believe that hey Tebow cannot play quarterback even if Denver decides to open up the playbook early.

  3. RenzReport says:

    opening up the playbook = tebow getting slaughtered physically and potentially w/ TOs

  4. dontbeskerritt says:

    If any team can get upset this weekend, its the Giants getting upset over the Falcons. But Boogie is right, until Matt Ryan proves otherwise, you can’t trust him

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