By Brandon Pemberton
Follow me on Twitter @BrandonOnSports
Well the NFL playoffs start this weekend with the always exciting Wild Card games and I will give my prediction on the games round by round and my Super Bowl matchup and winner.
Wild Card Round
3 New Orleans Saints vs. 6 Detroit Lions
Both of these teams can put points up at at rapid pace, but the Saints have more ability to control the game and run clock with short passes and a running game. The Lions will have a chance if they can get to Drew Brees with their front four and force a turnover or two.
Saints 42 Lions 31
4 New York Giants vs. 5 Atlanta Falcons
The Giants beat the Cowboys last weekend to win a weak NFC East division and get a home playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons are a good team at home in the dome, but are average on the road. Eli has had a great season, but we all know he can become turnover prone at times. The Falcons give up just 97 yards per game on the ground and will force the Giants to become one dimensional. The Falcons can beat you on offense running and passing and the Giants are depleted in their back seven.
Giants 24 Falcons 23
1 Green Bay Packers vs. 4 NY Giants
The Packers simply have too much offense for the Giants to keep up in this game. The Packers give up plenty of yardage defensively, but force teams to turn it over as well. Eli Manning will be forced to put the ball in the air often and the Packers will get after him, force a fumble, a interception and head to the NFC Championship game.
2 San Francisco 49ers vs. 3 New Orleans Saints
The Saints are a offensive juggernaut and the 49ers only allowed 14 ppg defensively all season, making this a great matchup. The 49ers are the two seed, meaning the game will be played outside on a possibly horrible field surface(weather depending). The Saints offense isn’t the same outside on grass surfaces as is indoors and I believe that will be a big factor. The 49ers defense will pressure Brees, force a key turnover and will carry this team into the NFC Championship Game.
NFC Championship Game
Packers vs. 49ers
The two best teams in the NFC will battle it out at the end in the Legendary Lambeau Field in Green Bay. The buck stops for the 49ers here in my opinion though. Their lack of explosiveness offensively will be exposed and they are great defensively, but won’t be able to stop the Packers enough to win the game. The Packers won’t run the score up, but they will score enough to make it to a 2nd straight Super Bowl.
Wild Card Round
3 Houston Texans vs. 6 Cincinnati Bengals
The Houston Texans were playing the best football in the AFC for most of the season before losing quarterback Matt Schaub for the season. They then went to backup quarterback Matt Leinhart who was lost for the season in his first game as well. Well know T.J. Yates is the starter and he has the best running game in the league, along with a top 5 defense as well. The Bengals have played a lot better then most thought they would, going with a rookie quarterback in Andy Dalton this year. He and A.J. Green will be a lethal combo for years to come, but they will lose this game.
Texans 23 Bengals 17
4 Broncos vs. 5 Steelers
The Broncos and Tebowmania have limped into the playoffs and they will face the number one scoring defense in the NFL, the Steelers. Teams have finally figured out the Broncos and their fraud offense and Tebow has came back to reality. The Steelers win this game easily.
Steelers 20 Broncos 9
1 New England Patriots vs. 5 Pittsburgh Steelers
Early in the NFL Season the Patriots were running up points on teams before the ran into the Steelers defense in week 8, losing 25-17. The Steelers had the perfect formula to slow down the Pats: Man to Man press coverage across the board and sure tackling, limiting the run after the catch yardage. Rob Gronkowski caught 7 balls for 94 yards in that game, but Wes Welker and the other receivers were non factors. This time around the Steelers are the same team defensively, but Big Ben is banged up and running back Rashard Mendenhall is done for the season with a torn ACL. Even Still, I believe the Steelers win this game and send the Patriots home without a playoff win for the 3rd straight season.
2 Baltimore Ravens vs. 3 Houston Texans
The Ravens have been playing good footbal all season, yes they’ve had some slip ups on their way to being a two seed in the playoffs, but their defense and running game has carried this team. This will be a hard fought, defensive battle and the team that gets the better quarterback play will win. The Ravens have a more proven QB in Joe Flacco and you would think that they win, but I like the Houston Texans to upset the Ravens and win this game.
AFC Championship Game
3 Houston Texans vs. 5 Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers didn’t win their division and will have to win on the road in order to make it to the Super Bowl and if any team’s built to do it, it’s a Mike Tomlin led team. This is where the Texans youth at QB will show face, the Steelers will shut down the Texans run game and force T.J. Yates into mistakes. Big Ben and the Steelers have been here before and they will win this game.
Coming into the playoffs the Packers have a hot hand and the Steelers will do the damn near impossible by winning three road playoff games and make it back to the Super Bowl for a rematch from last year’s title game. I expect a good game, similar to last season’s finale and I believe the Packers and their high powered offense will be too much for the Steelers to stop. The Packers even without WR Greg Jennings have four to five other weapons to through at the Steelers. Big Ben is great, but Aaron Rodgers is on another level and the Packers will win their second straight Super Bowl title.