Finishing up with my best week at picking winners from week 17, we now turn our attention to the Wild Card Round of the 2012 NFL playoffs. There are four games between later this afternoon and tomorrow. The Baltimore Ravens anxiously await the outcome to see who their next opponent will be on Sunday, January 15th (1pm) at M&T Bank Stadium. There always is at least one upset in this round but which team it will be is going to be tough to pick, but let's give it our best shot, which after looking at the season record below, has been pretty good this season:
Texans over Bengals: Houston already beat Cincinnati in Cincinnati earlier this season with T.J. Yates and without Andre Johnson. The passing match-up is not my reasoning for a Texans victory though. My thought is that if the Ravens could run all over the Bengals, then Houston should be able to so the same and win what appears to be a close game. A Texans win will ensure that they will be Baltimore's next victim in the Divisional Round.
Saints over Lions: This is one of those games that you might initially think could go either way, with a possible Detroit upset in the making based off their impressive offensive performance in the season-ending loss to Matt Flynn and the Green Bay Packers last week. New Orleans is a similar opponent for the Lions but the Saints are virtually unbeatable at home, where they were 8-0 this season and there is just going to be no way that Drew Brees allows his team to lose in front of the hometown rabid fans they have in the Big Easy.
(Click on the 'Jump' for Sunday's Wild Card round picks & pans)
Giants over Falcons: This is a pretty even game, as New York is a field goal favorite at home and if it were being played in Atlanta, the Falcons would probably be favored by the same spread. However, this is where the Giants seem to turn it up a notch and they have a very, very hot QB in Eli Manning, who has quietly put in a huge season this year. Meanwhile, Atlanta has not be a great team on the road and my guess is that Matt Ryan will continue to be a winless playoff QB once this game is over.
Steelers over Broncos: If one game had to be my "Upset Special Pick of the Week," it would be this one and even though I am tempted to go with it, I just can't bring myself to go with my heart over what my head is saying. Pittsburgh is banged up everywhere you look but if one team can overcome that on the road it's the Steelers (unfortunately). Part of my thinking is based on the fact that Denver has been absolutely horrible offensively and I can't see Tim Tebow "tebow-ing" much against them. I actually believe if the Steelers rested Big Ben, they could still beat the Broncos with Charlie Batch at QB. I'd love to get this one wrong and see Pittsburgh fans excuse this loss away but it will have to wait another week until they lose at the New England Patriots or come here to lose to our Ravens for a third time this year!
Last Week: 14-2
Season Record: 162-91