It's the playoffs! Oh god! Shit's about to get REAL
So 4 games this weekend which all except maybe 1 should be very intriguing. Just a quick reminder that you have until Saturday evening to sign up and set up your teams for the playoff challenge, which currently sits at a healthy 8 participants:
Here's the breakdown:
Cincinatti travel to Houston in what is probably the least glamorous affair but probably will be the toughest all the same. These are two teams who stumbled into the playoffs, but luckily for them, got in due to a lack of competition (or injuries working in their favour) Houston won this match a few weeks ago, and despite not having a QB (they're still attempting to start T.J Yates but have Jake Delhomme - lol - at backup). It will be fairly safe to say that whoever wins this won't be expected to progress much further though they have both had pretty successful/overachieving years.
The Andy Dalton/A.J Green combo has worked excellent so far, and Cincy's D have been impressive, but they are yet to beat any decent teams (Houston, Baltimore twice, Pittsburgh twice, San Fran, Denver - under Kyle Orton!) whereas Houston despite injury have still fought hard and still have Andre Johnson and Arian Foster and a D that can stop anyone. Plus, they're at home.
So I'm going Houston by 4-5
Detroit @ New Orleans. Another re-match from a few weeks ago. Detroit have had an excellent season and are playing pretty well. But not Drew Brees well. Full expect this to be a shoot-out and for Detroit to be more disciplined and have Suh be a bigger presence, so closer than last time. However like Matt Flynn's insane performance this week, Brees/Sproles/Saints should have too much for them, particuarly at the Superdome.
New Orleans by 7.
Atlanta travel to New York. Similar to Cincy/Houston though these are two underacheivers who were lucky to get into the playoffs (when it should have been no contest). New York were very impressive against Dallas last week with their fans actually making a difference for once. If they can replicate that, then they should be able to dispatch a fairly inconsistent Atlanta side. However, New York have had their fair share of embarassing collapses too, and the small matter of Ryan to Gonzalez/Turner/Jones/White is no laughing matter.
Should be a close one, but I think New York will edge it by 3.
and finally, Pittsburgh go mile high to Denver. This could (should) be the best game of the weekend. I mean, realistically Pittsburgh should win this easily. But I don't think I need to explain to anyone the term "Tebow time" means anymore. Yes, the Tebow magic has dried up since the 2nd half of that New England game a couple weeks ago, but I genuinely feel one more, playoff sized miracle is on its way, I BELIEVE. The thing is, Denver's D has been mighty impressive, and Matt Prater's ridiculous altitude-assisted field goals have won more games than Tebow (or at least the media) will have you believe and Pittsburgh have a slew of injuries to Big Ben, Rashard Mendenhall and Ryan Clark (who if you haven't heard yet, can't play due to a sickle-cell trait which makes it dangerous for him to play at altitude: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d825b50d8/article/steelers-clark-knows-tomlin-just-protecting-him-by-sitting-him) as well as a lot of their gamechangers not really turning up this year like they can. Either way I expect this to be very low-scoring, and that's all Tebow needs to go up that one miracle drive.
Head says Pittsburgh by 3, Heart says Denver by 3. Possibly OT too.
Well there you are then, PLAYOFFS. It may also interest you that on Monday night at 1am the College Championship game between Louisiana (#1) and Alabama (#2) at the Superdome (giving LSU a bit of an advantage off the bat. These two met during the season and it was probably the most defensive and tight College game I've ever seen, let alone this year, so it should be a thriller, but Louisiana have been unstoppable this year (literally) while Alabama's only loss came at the hands of LSU.