With the end of the regular season in the NFL, the playoffs are once again upon us. Unfortunately the Eagles will not be part of the January festivities. That's alright though we can't be in every year, I guess. The 2011 NFL season took a little longer to get here but it was well worth the wait. There is nothing like the NFL and I can't wait to watch what happens.
With three quarterbacks throwing for over five thousand yards in 2011, the NFL has become a pass happy league where defense is an after thought. The old cliche of "defense wins championships" may be put to the test this post season. Of the 12 remaining teams 6 rank in the bottom half of the league in total defense, of those none are ranked hire then 20th and the top seeds from each conference are ranked 31 and 32: Denver 20, Detroit 23, New Orleans 24, New York 27, New England 31 and Green Bay 32. On the flip side the top four defenses are also in the playoffs: Pittsburgh 1, Houston 2, Baltimore 3 and San Francisco 4. So the major question of the post season will be what will win out, top ranked defenses or fantasy stat offenses? Below are my predictions for the wild-card round.
Cincinnati vs Houston: I love Houston's run to the playoffs and with Matt Schaub at quarterback they may have had a great shot this season, but the Bengals and Andy Dalton (who in my eyes should be rookie of the year) will be to much for the Texans to overcome. Dalton tops Yates in the battle of rookie QB's and Cincinnati moves on 23-21.
Pittsburgh vs Denver: As of today the Steelers are favored by 8, however, Big Ben is hobbled and their starting safety can't play due to health concerns. I think the Steelers are thinner then people think and playing in Denver is always a chore. Tebow finds a way and Denver pulls the upset in an ugly football game for the ages 6-3.
Detroit vs New Orleans: Final score New Orleans 84 Detroit 77. Drew Brees throws for 600 yards and 8 touchdowns and Mathew Stafford duplicates that production. Is the NFL or Madden 2012?
Atlanta vs NY Giants: Matt Ryan is a good NFL quarterback and he will win playoff games, just not this season. Eli Manning has established himself among the NFL elite quarterbacks and the Giants will follow him into the next round 27-24.
So to sum up, I'll take the Bengals, Broncos, Saints and the Giants. Next week will be even more interesting so grab your beers and get ready to cheer. See you next week, hopefully with some winners.