The Panthers’ season may be over but the NFL season is not. Wild-card weekend is upon us after an entertaining regular season is in the books. For some fans whose teams didn’t make the playoffs the season is over. For myself, I love watching playoff football. The intensity is something that can’t be replicated in a regular season game; it’s win or go home for those that made the playoffs and that’s why I love the playoffs.
Let’s get straight to the picks.
Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans
Andy Dalton is the higher profiled rookie quarterback in this game but it will be T.J. Yates who will shine. The Bengals have one win over a team with a winning record and that was against Tennessee, a team that didn’t even make the playoffs. Both teams feature strong defenses and I expect to see a lower scoring game. We know that the Texans are going to run the ball with Ben Tate and Arian Foster continuously, and Cedric Benson will get plenty of carries for the Bengals. I believe that the Texans’ running game and some big plays from Yates through the air will be enough to give Houston the win.
Prediction: Houston 20, Cincinnati 13
Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints
Everyone knows that this game isn’t going to be decided on the defensive end. Those that are fans of high scoring affairs will be tuned into this one. I like offense like the next guy but I also prefer a game in which defense is played. The Lions lost to the Saints earlier in the season and come into the game today double-digit dogs. Detroit has a bright future yet this is about the present. And the Saints have the far more potent offense right now.
Prediction: New Orleans 42, Detroit 31
Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants
This game has a chance to be the closest of the weekend and most competitive. But it is also the least enticing. Neither features an exceptional offense or defense. Both teams run the ball well and have playmakers at wide receiver. In all honesty I could care less about this game and breaking it down, so I’m not going to pretend like I’ve studied it. I’ll still throw out a prediction, though.
Prediction: New York 24, Atlanta 20
Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos
Tim Tebow could be making his last start as a Bronco if he doesn’t show drastic improvements. That isn’t meant to be a hyperbole statement either. Word is that if Tebow struggles early on the Broncos are prepared to have Brady Quinn step in. I think that would be a terrible decision as Quinn hasn’t played at all this season, but I guess the coaching staff is realizing that Tebow Time is running out.
Ben Roethlisberger may have a badly banged up foot and Rashard Mendenhall may be done for the season, yet it won’t matter. The Steelers defense will be able to contain the running game, which will force Tebow to beat them through the air and we all know that ain’t happening.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 31, Denver 3