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 Post subject: My Playoff Take
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:01 pm 
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I'm not doing full predictions till Friday but here is early take on wild card and previews for each team. This can also be seen on my blog site in that last two articles.

http://allen-strk.blogspot.com/


Bengals at Texans: Saturday at 4:30- Two surprises in the AFC clash in what looks like a boring game to some. This game has me excited because both teams are very young and are hungry to make some noise. This will be the first playoff game in Houston Texans franchise history and the crowd will he very rowdy. This will be a real tough test for rookie Andy Dalton but he seems very poised. Whoever runs the ball more efficiently will make the difference in this game because both teams run the ball well. It will also be crucial to see how Andre Johnson and A.J Green play against two tough secondaries. This game is close to call but this should be very scrappy and competitive.

Lions at Saints: Saturday at 8:00- I'm not very happy about this game being on prime time since this game could be a blow out. The NFL continues to favor the Saints with everything which really gets under my skin but I'll avoid ranting. This game has loads of mis matches but Detroit does have the passing game to make this competitive. The issue here is that Detroit has no running game to keep the Saints off the field. That is bad news for a secondary that couldn't stop Matt Flynn and has had problems for weeks now. They are going to have their hands full with the Saints along with a rushing attack that has started to really hit its side. Detroit has loads of problems and doesn't stand much of a chance.

Falcons at Giants: Sunday 1:00 PM- This is probably the best game of wild card weekend and most would probably agree with me. These teams are very evenly matched and this could be the most competitive game. Both teams have their flaws and will probably exploit each other. Giants pass rush will be a problem for an average Falcons offensive line who has improved recently but still struggles against good teams. Falcons receiving options will be tough to stop for the Giants and unlike Dallas, Matt Ryan knows how to get the ball out fast. They also have a running game which could be trouble some. In two playoff games for the Falcons, Michael Turner hasn't had much opportunity to run the ball. They'll make sure to try to get him going. Giants offense seems to have hit a groove and if they can keep Eli clean, then it could be a long day for the Falcons. Atlanta's defense is underrated and doesn't get the respect it deserves but if they can't get to Eli, then Giants will be in control. If your behind against the Giants, you're playing into their hands with their lethal pass rush.

Steelers at Broncos 4:30 PM- I'll probably miss most of this game coming home from the game which isn't a bad thing. This game will be low scoring and very dull all around. The Broncos chances did improve with Rashard Mendenhall being out for this game. Denver can now take their chances getting a pass rush on a weak Steelers offensive line with Dumervil and Miller. That could give the Steelers problems to score, but Denver will struggle to score more than one touchdown if any. Steelers defense is finally healthy and will give Tebow fits. This game is going to get nasty but it may not be a blowout if the Broncos defense can get to Rothlisberger and stop Issac Redman. Pittsburgh loves this matchup though and if they can get there passing game going, it will be lights out.


AFC
1. Patriots- The Patriots are very interesting because they are so unpredictable. This is a team that can be down early against average and worst teams but then come back to beat these teams. They need to start better in playoffs because the teams they will play are much better than Buffalo and Miami. The offense will be tough to stop like we all know with their heavy dose of weapons including they dynamic duo at the tight end position. The issue with the Patriots is how their defensive flaws have been exposed and what happens if they play against elite defenses. Nobody has a great offense in the AFC which really helps compared to the NFC but it's still a cause for concern.

Best Case Scenario: Devin McCourty wakes up from his sophomore slump and the below average safeties starting making some plays. Someone steps up for the absence of Pro Bowler Andre Carter and helps that weak pass rush. The running game gets better and Tom Brady continues to be Tom Brady. If that happens, then look for these guys to win the Super Bowl.

Worst Case Secnario: The Patriots lose in the divisional playoffs to Andy Dalton and the Bengals because their secondary is that bad and they can't stop the run. They could also play the Steelers again and lose for the 2nd time this year to them thanks to the defense struggling. The offensive line will also have to step up against two teams that can get to the quarterback.

2. Ravens: They seem to be getting hot at the right time and people are believing in them. With the Patriots defense being terrible, some people like the Ravens to finally make that push to the Super Bowl. Ray Rice has turned into the most dynamic running back in the league that's in the playoffs (Maurice Jones Drew isn't in the playoffs). The defense has started to get its groove back along with some young stars like LaDarius Webb starting to become all stars. This is a really good Ravens team that is going to be a tough out like always. What concerns me still is the play of Joe Flacco because he's been very quiet this year and hasn't progressed like people expected. Flacco still has some issues against the best teams and always seems to fail in the playoffs. They are big time contenders thanks to a home game and a bye, but can Flacco finally get the job done.

Best Case Scenario: Joe Flacco delivers under pressure and plays mostly mistake free football. The defense continues to step up even more with the secondary not being so inconsistent. Ngata plays better after an average season by his standards. They stand up to the elite offenses in the NFC and win the Super Bowl which is a great way for the great Ray Lewis to retire.

Worst Case Scenario: Joe Flacco puts on a typical Joe Flacco playoff performance by throwing less than fifty percent with at least two turnovers. The young secondary gets lit up and the run defense begins to crumble against a great running team like Houston. They lose in the divisional round and Ray Lewis beats up someone.

3.Texans: They come into the playoffs with the worst momentum out of any playoff team. They have lose the last three games and haven't had much time to gel offensively. Andre Johnson is finally healthy after an injury riddled season. T.J Yates should be healthy to play and the defense will look to get back to why they were the best defense in the league for most of the season. They are obviously going to lean on the great rushing tandem of Foster and Tate but will that be enough? Can the defense get back to limiting teams in every aspect offensively. This is the first playoff appearance in franchise history so I'll be shocked if this team goes down without a fight.

Best Case Scenario: They win an emotional playoff home opener against the Bengals with their great running and the defense flusters Andy Dalton into several mistakes. Then they go to Baltimore and beat them at their own game. They play tough defense and force Flacco into several mistakes while shutting down Rice. Meanwhile Houston's running attack has success while Yates plays turnover free football. That would be an incredible playoffs for Houston regardless what happens next.

Worst Case Scenario: The lack of momentum kills them and they fall flat against the Bengals. Yates plays horrible and they fall behind early which makes the running game become useless to use. The secondary continues their poor play and gets beat on a few occasions by A.J Green. A great season comes to a bitter ending for Houston.

4. Broncos- They are easily the worst team in the playoffs without much debate. They are another team with no momentum coming into the playoffs but don't have much of a chance. The defense continues to play well which doesn't surprise me because John Fox is a very good defensive coach. They also have good pieces with Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller being excellent pass rushers. Champ Bailey is still among the best corners along with some other good pieces on this defense. They won't go out with a fight but the issue is they are going to be on the field for a long time because that offense is flat out bad. If they can't get a running game going and against the Steelers, that's high unlikely they are in trouble. We all know Tebow is still nowhere near a decent passer and they are going to have trouble going anywhere with him. Denver could be in for a rude awakening in the playoffs.

Best Case Scenario: They somehow beat Pittsburgh by creating two or more turnovers while they get the lethal running game going. They make the most of the opportunities and somehow pull out Denver with a win. They are at home which is a boost but it will take a lot of things to pull their way to win this game.

Worst Case Scenario: This is Denver's first playoff game since 2005 so its been very long. The worst thing that can happen is if this game is over by the early 3rd quarter. If they get blown out, this could end up being the end of Tebow in Denver.

5. Steelers- Pittsburgh is the only other team out of Baltimore and New England that can make the Super Bowl. Despite the loss of Mendenhall for the playoffs, Issac Redman is a decent replacement. It also has become apparent that Mendenhall struggled at times this season and Steelers had to rely more on Rothlisberger.That shouldn't be a problem with the weapons at his disposal. They still have the defense that can frustrate you and give you serious problems to run against. The secondary also has improved with Ike Taylor really having an impressive season. You can't ever count out the Steelers but to win three games on the road is going to be tough especially in hostile environments like Baltimore and New England.

Best Case Scenario: They prove to everyone that they are still the same team and go on an improbable run to the Super Bowl. Redman becomes the latest great Steelers running back to perform in playoffs and the defense forces plenty of turnovers. Pittsburgh beats both Baltimore and New England by Rothlisberger throwing all over their secondaries and forcing enough stops. I'm still not skeptical of them actually winning the Super Bowl which makes predict the best case for them was losing in the Super Bowl. Please don't choke me with your terrible towel Steeler fans.

Worst Case Scenario: They are going to beat Denver and I'm not even letting any chance of them losing cross my mind. The worst case scenario to me would be simply getting blown out by Baltimore or New England by the offensive line being weak and getting Rothlisberger killed. Another thing was how they usually struggle against really good tight ends which doesn't help. If they were to get blown out in the 2nd round, it would leave a bitter taste in every Steeler fan's mouth. In the case of playing Baltimore, losing in any way also would be bad because that would mean their divisional rival beat them three times in one season.

6. Bengals- I'm very proud of this team for making the playoffs after my prediction for them before the season started was to be the worst team. Instead they were a scrappy team that didn't care what people think. They really remind me of the 2008 Falcons which makes them instantly my favorite team in the AFC. This is a fun team with Andy Dalton having a solid season as a rookie. Cedric Benson has a re birth season while A.J Green was even better than advertised. It also helped that guys like Simpson and Gresham stepped up this year after having disappointing starts to their careers. The offense is dangerous despite struggling the last few games. The defense isn't very star studded but they are scrappy and can give you fits. With no expectations, this Bengals team has nothing to lose so expect them to give anyone they play problems with their fearless attitude.

Best Case Scenario: They got to Houston and beat them in front of their home crowd in Houston's first ever playoff game. They stop the best rushing attack in the league and give Yates serious problems .Then they go to New England and play a really good game to fall short.

Worst Case Scenario: For this team their shouldn't be any, but to get blown out by a team led by T.J Yates wouldn't be fun. It also isn't good to lose to a team twice in the same season especially since the Bengals lost on a last second touchdown to Yates. A blowout loss in Houston wouldn't be very good for this rising team.

NFC

Clash Of The Titans

1.Packers- The most loaded team had an incredible season and even did better than my 14-2 pre season prediction for them. They are very confident coming into playoffs and won't have to win three road games like last year. They still have issues though with their secondary allowing way too much passing yards. The loss of Nick Collins has hurt this team a lot along with the fact that they aren't much better stopping the run. B.J Raji has had a disappointing season while the 3-4 defense just hasn't performed up to expectations compared to last year in the playoffs. It didn't matter for most of the year because their offense is simply unstoppable. Aaron Rodgers has been incredible along with the weapons he has that it has become near impossible to win. They have become so good that they don't need much of a running game to succeed.

Best Case Scenario: They continue their roaring pace and repeat as champions. They prove to be too much for the Giants lethal pass rush or the Falcons rising offense. Then they win a classic shoot out against the Saints. Then in the Super Bowl despite all their defensive problems, they come through with a big performance to win.

Worst Case Scenario: The extra week of rest proves to be deadly and they start to become rusty. The offense isn't clicking and the defense becomes very leaky. They let the Giants throw all over them and hit Rodgers too much or they let Atlanta's offense go wild and win in a shoot out with Rodgers making more mistakes than Matt Ryan.

2. 49ers- The upstart 49ers somehow pulled out a bye, but aren't getting much respect. Despite a tremendous season, they are still being sell short. Alex Smith finally had the season where he can be considered an above average quarterback. Frank Gore remains playing at a high level while Michael Crabtree is finally coming along. They still lack weapons offensively but they had a great season. The defense is among the best in the league with great secondary play led by Carlos Rodgers and great pass rushing by guys like Aldon Smith. This team is legit and they aren't going to be fun to play against regardless of what the pundits say. The defense will keep them in games and you know what they say, defense wins championships.

Best Case Scenario: They shut up all the analysts that can't stop loving the Saints and beat them with a lethal running attack. Frank Gore has a huge game while the defense causes just enough problems to beat Drew Brees in an epic clash. They had a successful season regardless of the playoffs due to how bad they were, but when you get a week off your expected to win.

Worst Case Scenario: They fall flat on their face against the Saints similar to what the Falcons did last year against the Packers. Alex Smith falters under pressure and the lack of receiving weapons kills them. The defense is good but they simply can't handle the level that Drew Brees is playing on. The game isn't very competitive which leaves the fans very bitter despite the great season.

3. Saints- The most dangerous team coming into the playoffs without a doubt. They haven't lost since Week 8 and the only competitive game during the long winning streak they are on was in the over time win against the Falcons. They are playing at a high level on both sides of the football. The biggest surprise is how the running game has performed for the Saints. They have started to run so well with the combo of Thomas, Ivory, Sproles and when he has been healthy Mark Ingram. This offense can't be stopped and their doesn't seem much answers on how to contain it. Your best hope is to make them one dimensional. This team is going to be the toughest out and have become a pick to even win the Super Bowl.

Best Case Scenario: They handle the Lions and 49ers with ease thanks to an over powering offense. The offense will out score the Lions and the defense will be too much for Alex Smith. Then they out perform the Packers thanks to running the ball better and keeping Aaron Rodgers off the field. Then everything comes together in the Super Bowl for the big victory making it two championships in the Sean Payton era.

Worst Case Scenario: Another first round collapse like last year happens and the defense falters against Matthew Stafford. The Saints start to struggle to protect Brees against a good Lions front four and everything falls apart. The defense can't handle all of Detroit's weapons and the blitz doesn't affect Stafford which leaves the season at a complete disappointment.

4. Giants- Another dangerous team full of momentum coming into the playoffs. They are full of confidence beating two bitter rivals in the Jets and Cowboys. They now get a home game in the playoffs for the first time since 2008. If the running game can get on track with Jacobs and Bradshaw, this team can be unstoppable offensively. Eli Manning has been terrific all season with Victor Cruz being the break out star in the NFL. Cruz has been nearly unstoppable this season and can't be covered one on one. The issues with the Giants are simply discipline where they are among the worst in the league. They get consistently penalized and make bone head mistakes on both sides of the ball. The pass rush is the best in the league, but can it be affective when the linebackers and secondary is that bad. This team can make a serious or fall flat on their face, they are that unpredictable.

Best Case Scenario: The Giants beat Atlanta in dominant fashion thanks to great play by the offensive line and a great pass rush to fluster Atlanta. Then they upset the Packers with the running game finally making a huge impact and keeping Rodgers off the field. Then they get revenge in the Super Dome against New Orleans learning from mistakes with Eli Manning having the game of his life. They won't win the Super Bowl because that defense simply won't last along with an average offensive line but they are a serious threat to make a push. This Giants team can really get going early if all the pieces come together.

Worst Case Scenario: The secondary continues their poor play along with the front seven getting beat up front against a powerful Falcons rushing attack. Eli makes a few bone head mistakes and the offensive line struggles. They lose to the Falcons to end an inconsistent season in brutal fashion.

5.Falcons- Another team that can make serious noise in the playoffs are the Falcons. The main focus for the Falcons has to be Michael Turner which has been emphasized time and time again. The major reason is based on the two playoff loses in the Mike Smith era. They have fallen behind early which leads to them abandoning the run and ruins the Falcons game plan. They need to get the running game going always to make this team go. If Turner is having a huge game, then this Falcons offensive is close to being unstoppable with the weapons they have. Defensively they are better than advertised and take too much criticism. The defense is scrappy despite a lack of stars and haven't fared well against the best. What the Falcons do best is stop the run and force turnovers which can be essential in the playoffs. If John Abraham and company can set up, they can seriously make that defense a force to be reckon with. These are big questions for Atlanta because they have yet to beat a playoff worthy team this year (sorry Lions, you're not worthy).

Best Case Scenario- They finally win their first playoff game and beat the Giants by running the football and the pass rush finally comes alive. Those two elements can beat the Giants along with some Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez. Then they go to Green Bay and play like they did in Week 6. That is force the team into field goals and play great team defense but also scoring in fourteen points. This team makes me believe they have the potential to pull off a huge upset. Now can they make the Super Bowl? It's highly unlikely but a nice competitive game against the Saints in NFC Championship would be incredible.

Worst Case Scenario- It doesn't matter how much they lose by, if they lose then it's disappointing. This is a Falcons team that is too talented not to have some success in playoffs. They can't go 0-3 in the Mike Smith era in the playoffs. It will be a complete disappointment if they trail early in the game then that puts so much pressure on Matt Ryan. Its simple when it comes down to the Falcons, not winning one playoff game is a failure.

6. Lions- Other than the Broncos, the Lions are weakest team in the playoffs. The holes are starting to open like I expected earlier in the season. The awful secondary has finally started to show their true colors while their pass rush has started to struggle. Suh has been a huge disappointment this season along with the lack of a running game in Detroit. What has kept Detroit stable and in the playoffs was the excellence of Matthew Stafford. Stafford has been outstanding this season and really took the team on his back along with Calvin Johnson. With Johnson and an array of weapons, they are going to put up points easily. I'm just not confident in that defense at all and the lack of a running game really hurts them as a team.

Best Case Scenario: It won't matter how they beat the Saints but if they beat the Saints, then that will be absolutely incredible. That would be the best care for them regardless how they fare against the Packers.

Worst Case Scenario: I've heard most Lion fans are happy just to be in the playoffs. It has been way too long for this team and now they are finally in the playoffs. There shouldn't really be a worst case scenario here, but if they were blown out by the Saints then that would be an ugly ending. It seems likely but at least stay competitive against the Saints.

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 Post subject: Re: My Playoff Take
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:51 pm 
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For Houston-Cincinnati, the key is going to be what happens in the trenches. Both teams have two rookie QBs. Andre Johnson is expected back for this game and should be able to play at a high level. But I think both teams will rely heavily on their ground attacks to win this game. But I favor Houston in this one because they will be playing at home, and won't have to deal with the loud crowd. The crowd noise is going to disadvantage Cincy's line and their young QB. I think if Houston can keep feeding Foster & Tate, and have Joseph lock up Green, I really don't see Cincinnati being able to score enough points or move the ball consistently enough to win.

Early Prediction: Houston 20, Cincinnati 13.

Pittsburgh-Denver. The fact that so many people are just conceding a Steelers victory is asinine. Big Ben is what like 70%, their O-line is beat up and Denver still has Dumervil & Miller. If Roethlisberger was 100% or even close to it, I would like their chances, but he's not, and I don't trust he'll be healthy enough to be able to move around and avoid the pressure like he normally was.

Early Prediction: Denver 16, Pittsburgh 13.

New Orleans-Detroit. The thing that favors Detroit in this game is that New Orleans probably can't really stop them from scoring points even if they become one-dimensional. The thing that favors New Orleans is that if they can get an early lead, they have the running game that later int he game can help salt the game away. Detroit does not. So the key for the Saints will be to try and get an early lead. But this could easily be the type of game where the Saints go up 3 scores in the first half, and then Detroit comes back by the 4th quarter and makes this interesting. The only way the Lions really win this game is if guys like Suh and the rest of that D-line can get pressure on Brees. This is the type of matchup which is why you drafted Suh & Fairley, so that they can get that push upfield vs. Nicks & Evans. They have to show the genius of Martin Mayhew in this game, if Detroit is going to win.

Early Prediction: New Orleans 31, Detroit 30

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 Post subject: Re: My Playoff Take
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:17 pm 
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I'll respond to you Pudge when I have time. Here is my legit predictions http://allen-strk.blogspot.com/2012/01/ ... -wild.html

Bengals at Texans- Other than Bengals and Texan fans, I'm probably the only person in America that's excited. Many people don't care because these teams aren't flashy and don't have much star power. I'm a huge fan of this game mainly because of the surprising teams in the playoffs. They are scrappy and physical football teams that aren't afraid to get nasty. It will also be the first playoff game in Houston history so the stadium is going to be rowdy. At first, the Bengals looked like the team that could pull the upset but the match ups don't favor them that much. I'm a fan of the Bengals offense, but this Texans defense is going to be crazy. The pass rush will really frustrate young Andy Dalton along with A.J Green being covered by Jonathan Joseph. The running game will really be tough to get going which makes it even more hard for the Bengals to score. They will get some points but this is a rough game for them. Houston's offense will struggle against a decent Bengals defense but the star power is there with Foster, Johnson, and Owen Daniels (Pro Bowl snub). They also have a strong offensive line, so even if Yates struggles they should be good to go. Houston wins their first playoff game in their first playoff game ever in a 24-10 win.

Lions at Saints- The matchup has everyone excited because of the offensive fire power between both teams. This game does have plenty of mis matches that favor New Orleans, but don't count Detroit. We all know how great Matthew Stafford has been this year along with the weapons he has including the best receiver in the NFL in Calvin Johnson. The issue with the Lions is how are they going to deal with the blitz scheme along with getting some kind of running game going. If your one dimensional against the Saints, you will eventually make a mistake. The Saints defense has full of ball hawks and tend to pass rush better at home thanks to the loud dome. That is why the Saints are going to have their way with Detroit along with how good their offense is. I'm expecting the Lions to turn it up with the front four having to improve. They were hot early on, but the pass rush has dropped off lately which isn't good against a great offensive line. It also helps New Orleans that they have a running game that is growing with Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory, and Darren Sproles. With that combined with the excellence of Drew Brees, this team is beyond scary. With the Saints being home, they can't lose this game but it will be closer than people think. Saints win 38-24 but its closer than the score indicates.

Falcons at Giants- The game of the week without much debate and it's not because of my beloved Falcons. Most people would agree this is the closest game between two very good even teams. I'll be at this game live for my first ever playoff football game and my first ever Falcons game. I've seen two Giant games before, but its nothing compared to this. The game is going to come down in the trenches mainly because of how the Giants have won the last two games. The pass rush has been incredible lately but what really shocks me is how that offensive line has played. They have been average all season but they have been excellent the last few games. Meanwhile for the Falcons, the offensive line has improved after a horrendous start to the season. The issue is they struggle against good front fours and that could be a problem this game. The pass rush has also been inconsistent but John Abraham has started to get his form back which is huge for Atlanta. The recipe for success for Atlanta has to be leading early and running the ball. The two playoff losses in the Mike Smith era have been connected to Atlanta trailing for most of the game then the abandoned the run game. This leaves Atlanta's offense at one dimensional and this plays into the hands for the Giants pass rush. If Turner can run over one hundred yards or close to it, then Atlanta will likely win this game. If Eli gets time in the pocket then he will have a huge game. They won't need much of a running game for success because they really haven't had much of a running game but still won. The game will be really close with both teams having their head scratching moves but the time is now for Atlanta. Giants struggle against the run and finally Turner will have his big game. Giants secondary will have problems containing Ryan after they have problems with the run. Atlanta's defense is very under appreciated and can make plays. They will force turnovers and stop the run which will be enough. Falcons will finally win a playoff game for the first time since 2004 in a 30-24 win in New York and I'll be one of thirty Falcon fans in Met Life Stadium on their feet at the end of the game.

Steelers at Broncos- I'm confident that their will be traffic coming home from the game and I'll miss most of this game which I'm not too upset about. This game won't be very pretty but it won't be like a classic Ravens versus Steelers classic. This game will be how poorly Tim Tebow is going to play and the beating Ben Rothlisberger will take. The talent of these teams still isn't very close which is why Pittsburgh will eventually pull away. Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller are going to cause serious problems, but eventually those weapons for Pittsburgh will help them prevail. Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Heath Miller, and Hines Ward are plenty of weapons that can be used here for success. Denver's secondary has struggled at times so look for Ben to have success. I'm not sure how Issac Redman is going to do, but he'll have his good moments. Pittsburgh will control the game for the most part as long as they don't do a lot of long pass plays for Rothlisberger because the weak offensive line won't last long against those deadly pass rushing outside line backers. Now defensively for Pittsburgh will be based on stopping the run which is something they excel at. Wills McGahee has had a comeback season but will have his problems trying to get free. The offensive line took a hit with Chris Kuper tearing his ACL. They are going to have problems trying to move the ball and will have to rely on winning the battle of field position. It may succeed early, but eventually the star talent that the Steelers have will overpower Denver. Pittsburgh will win 20-3 in a mostly dominant win.

I'm really hoping these games are more completive but right now three of these games look way too non competitive for me to pick. Hopefully they prove me wrong and put on some instant classics to watch because I'm always open to watching a great game. I'm also going to be rooting for the Lions of course because the fact that the Falcons if they win will avoid the Packers and play the 49ers. Other than that, I'll root for Steelers because I'm really against the Broncos concept offensively with Tebow. I'll always respect Tebow for what he represents as an underdog story, but Denver is so boring offensively. The other game I'm really torn apart with both teams in Houston and Cincinnati. That game I'll call it down like I see it.

Playoff Predictions
The playoff predictions are finally here and I'm going to give you guys a quick link. This is my pre season predictions that you can see without signing up at Falc Fans.com. My pick was for the Patriots to beat the Packers in the Super Bowl. I'll leave the link right below, until then here my playoff predictions.

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=16162

AFC Playoffs

Texans vs Ravens- This will be very smash mouth with two very good defenses against each other. It will be very interesting to see how Baltimore handles being home for the first time in a very long time. Joe Flacco has been horrible in the playoffs in his career and probably will struggle here. Houston's ball hawking offense will make it frustrating for Anquan Boldin all game. The clash will be in the trenches on how to stop Ray Rice because he's been on fire all season. It will be tough because Houston is so fast defensively. The game will come down to what defense capitalizes on more mistakes from Flacco and Yates. Andre Johnson may have a big game, but Yates will have problems finding much room to throw. The pressure will be too much for the rookie and Baltimore will hang for the tough win. Torrey Smith will make a huge few plays to help the Ravens in a 17-10 win.

Steelers at Patriots- This will be another epic encounter with these teams. Pittsburgh won earlier in the year, but New England has the home field advantage now. Everyone knows how poor the Patriots defense has been but can anybody stop the Patriots offensively? The Steelers defense has improved but how will Rothlsiberger play after taking a beating the week before. Steelers are hurting in major areas and could have problems if he can't throw properly. Ben is a warrior though and Steelers will give the Patriots fits. The reason I'm picking the Patriots because the two tight end rotation can't be stopped. Usually defense wins championships but here New England's offense will be too much. Weather could be a factor as well which would help the Patriots even though Rothsliberger is considered a cold weather quarterback. The issue for Pittsburgh is that New England can still rely on their tight ends and Welker even with poor weather. The bad offensive line play will also catch up for the Steelers. Patriots win 34-27 in a highlight filled game.

Ravens at Patriots- It will be time for Joe Flacco to step up, but once again he falters on the road. The problems in Baltimore's secondary will be exposed with a few problems other than Webb and Reed. The pressure will be on Flacco if New England jumps on them early which leads to abandoning the running game. Flacco should have his moments, but he doesn't have the composure to handle the big game away from home. He has never posted a decent rating in the playoffs and it won't change here. Patriots will return to the Super Bowl with the emergence of their defense and usual great play offensively. Patriots win 31-17.


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NFC


Saints at 49ers- This matchup is a nightmare for the 49ers even though they are a 2nd seed. The issue is that they have to go up against a team that scores at will. They never faced an offense this powerful and will have to rely on Alex Smith and the rest. People forget that the Saints have an above average secondary with Jabri Greer and Malcom Jenkins having big seasons. With their limited weapons, this game is going to be really tough for the 49ers. The running game will have to get going with Gore and they need to keep Brees off the field. They should have success but eventually the lack of passing weapons will kill them. 49ers defense will give New Orleans some interesting looks, but eventually Brees will be too good for them. This game will be close early but the weapons will be too much for the 49ers secondary to handle. Saints win 31-10.

Falcons at Packers- A rematch from this year but this game will be in Green Bay. Falcons don't have much of a chance in this game due to the great offense that Green Bay possess with such scary match ups. One positive note was that Atlanta held them to 25 points without John Abraham which will be huge. They will have to do their best to run the football and keep the Packers off the field. They should have success along with making huge plays in the passing game. The issue offensively will be how they can handle the pass rush and likely being in a shoot out against a well rested Packers team. Atlanta isn't built for a shoot out and with the way the Packers are playing, they are likely in for one. That will kill them here especially if they struggle stopping the run which has started to happen the last few weeks. Green Bay should take care of business here with a 34-24 win.

Saints at Packers- The matchup everyone has been waiting for finally happens again. The Saints are becoming more of a pick than expected but I'm not falling for it. They aren't a great road team despite what the record says. When they play against above average offenses, they tend to get dominated in every area. They lose that edge away from home too and the pass rush starts to disappear. The offense still plays well but they are prone to turnovers. New Orleans is simply not an elite team away from home and will have fits trying to contain Rodgers. Even if you blitz him, he is the best quarterback against the blitz. This is a bad match up for New Orleans, even with the poor defense of Green Bay. It also doesn't help that New Orleans doesn't have much experience in cold weather which will happen in Green Bay. It will be a classic game, but New Orleans has too many mental breakdowns. Packers win 41-34 to go to the Super Bowl.


That will also likely happen.


Super Bowl
Patriots vs Packers- My pre season pick will remain because I'm that confident. I'm proud of my picks from the pre season other than the Eagles, Cowboys, Colts, and Jets. Despite the pre season pick matchup being right, I'm switching my pick. The Patriots defense finally cracks due to lack of star talent that the Packers have. Packers finally get a running game going which makes the Patriots defense more clueless. The league is being taken over by passing and defense has become an after thought. Packers make more stops and repeat as champions. It will be a really tough game but eventually it will break open with one of the star defenders on Green Bay making a huge play from Woodson to Matthews or Williams. Packers to repeat with a 38-34 and become champions again.

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