NFL Wild Card Round Predictions

Zach GreubelCorrespondent IIJanuary 2, 2012

NFL Wild Card Round Predictions

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    It's that time of year again, the NFL playoffs. One could argue that the first round of the 2012 postseason has some yawners and some potential shootouts.

    The Lions and Saints highlight a couple of great matchups for the NFC, while the two AFC contests feature two home teams on losing streaks.

    Let me know what you agree or disagree with.

Bengals @ Texans, Saturday, 4:30 ET, NBC

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    Aside from the Broncos, the Bengals are probably the most surprising playoff team. They got lucky with their matchup too.

    Sure, the Texans are 10-6, but they've been off since Matt Schaub's injury. Arian Foster will do his part, but is it just me or does T.J. Yates not seem like a playoff-caliber quarterback?

    Andy Dalton, on the other hand, played all 16 games in his rookie season and led the Bengals to a 9-7 record. If it wasn't for Cam Newton's incredible season, he'd probably be Rookie of the Year.

    Each defense has improved from last season, but I'll give the edge to the Bengals, mainly because of the quarterback and the fact that the Texans have lost three games in a row heading into postseason play.

    Bengals 24, Texans 20

Steelers @ Broncos, Sunday, 4:30 ET, CBS

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    For the first time since Kyle Orton was starting quarterback, the Broncos are reeling. Quarterback Tim Tebow has looked flustered and inaccurate, the last three weeks especially. 

    The Steelers may not have Rashard Mendenhall against the Broncos, but we all know what their defense is capable of. I wouldn't be surprised if Denver didn't score a touchdown on Sunday. 

    Ironically, Denver's last playoff loss was against Pittsburgh in the 2005 AFC Championship game in Denver. 

    Another note of interest: The two AFC home teams in the first round of the playoffs are on three-game losing streaks.

    Steelers 31, Broncos 13

Lions @ Saints, Saturday, 8:00 ET, NBC

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    Finally, a game that's pleasing to the eyes. This is the game I'm looking forward to the most this weekend.

    Who doesn't like a shootout?

    Obviously these teams have two of the best quarterbacks in football in Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford, who each passed for over 5,000 yards this season.

    Defense will be in short supply during this bayou battle. I think New Orleans makes up for its playoff blunder against the Seahawks last season.

    Saints 41, Lions 31

Falcons @ Giants, Sunday, 1:00 ET, FOX

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    Here's the second most appealing game of the weekend. It took the Giants all 16 games to make it to their first playoff appearance since 2008. They won the NFC East, but they were only 9-7 and inconsistent all season. 

    Again, this game will feature two of the best quarterbacks in the game, although I see a little more defense.

    This is one of those games where the key could be the turnover battle. I'll give the edge to the Giants at home.

    Giants 27, Falcons 24