Friday, January 6, 2012
NFL PLAYOFF PREVIEW by Greg Gee
Oops, I prematurely let the cat out of the bag. Let's preview and walk through the NFL playoffs. By the way, savor these games like the last bite of a sandwich. After the Super Bowl (February 5th), the greatest American sport will be on a six month hiatus. .
The Houston Texans will face the Cincinnati Bengals, a team they beat 20-19 on a last second touchdown to secure their playoff spot. Andre Johnson returns for the Texans but, I favor the Cincinnati rookie QB Andrew Dalton over the Houston rookie QB T.J. Yates. Cincy wins 23-13
The Denver Broncos enter the playoffs on a 3 game losing streak. In those games, the Tim Tebow magic was exposed: First by the low ranked defenses of the Patriots (31st) and Bills (26th). And when he faced a good defense like the Chiefs (11th), Tebow was lost --all that running around (college option style) didn't work. He failed to make NFL caliber passes and the Bronco offense stalled. His playoff reward: Tebow will face the number one ranked defense - the Pittsburgh Steelers. Easy call... Pittsburgh wins 31-10.
New England Patriots have Tom Brady, the second ranked offense and Bill Belichick scheming to stop a rookie quarterback...need we say more. The New England Patriots will host and slaughter the Cincinnatti Bengals. Patriots win 41-17.
The Baltimore Ravens will defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers for a third time this season. Ben Roethisberger has not fully recovered from his high ankle sprain and this will make it easier for the Ravens defense to contain his passes out of the pocket. Ravens win 19-13.
Many NFL experts/analysts/pundits see this as the year that a high powered offense can win it all without a good defense. I am on that bandwagon (reference my Saints prediction) but, the Ravens - with a mediocre offense - will go into Foxborough and defeat the high octane Patriot offense. The Tom Brady led offense has rescued their poor defense (31st ranked) all season by scoring a ton of points. However, Brady will not be able to do that against the Ravens. The Ravens defense knows him too well and they have beaten the Pats before in Foxborough.
Ravens wins 23-20
The Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints end their seasons offensively on fire! The Saints averaged 44.0 points their last 3 games, and the Lions averaged 35.6. The key to victory, obviously, will be which defense stops or slows the other's offense. The Saints defense only allowed 17.6 points in those games while the Lions gave up 27.4. This should be a fun game if you like high scores. Saints win 48-27.
The dome team Atlanta Falcons will travel to the chilly and windy Meadowlands to take on the resurging New York Giants. Eli Manning and the Giants offense seems to be hitting on all cylinders with wide-receiver Victor Cruz turning in sensational big plays in the last 3 weeks. The Giants can control the ball and they have an experienced and talented defensive front four. This front four will make for a long day for Falcon quarterback Matt Ryan.
Giants win 27-13
San Francisco 49ers are back in the playoffs but not for long. The Saints will go into SF and spank the the young and inexperienced Niners. The Niners defense will keep them close for 3 quarters and then the Saints will "Brees" through the 4th quarter. Saints 34-17
The Green Bay Packers were on the verge of an undefeated season and Aaron Rogers was touted as having the best season of any quarterback in history. They have been the only consistent dominate team all season with only one lost. They will host Giants (another cold weather team) and will fight for their playoff life.
Packers win 34-27.
Folks, the following prediction goes against conventional wisdom.. Why? Because I am - against conventional wisdom - predicting that a dome team to defeat, in the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, the number one seeded Packers. Both teams have "unstoppable" weapons but, the Saints defense will be more successful than the Packs defense. Saints win 44-38
THE SUPER BOWL
Once again, flouting conventional wisdom, a better offense will beat a better defense...well, not exactly. The New Orleans Saints will defeat the Baltimore Ravens because the Ravens offense will sputter. The Saints will capitalize on their opportunities and the Ravens will not. Saints win 23-13