NFL Playoffs 2012: Why the Steelers, Texans, Saints and Falcons Win in Round 1

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NFL Playoffs 2012: Why the Steelers, Texans, Saints and Falcons Win in Round 1
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

It's finally playoff time, and one of the most entertaining NFL seasons is quickly coming to a climax. We had a fantastic variety of regular-season storylines, which I will go into in a separate article down the road.

For now, Wild Card Weekend is all that matters. The top teams are resting their starters for a week, and, for the time being, Rex Ryan is resting his mouth.

But what to make of these wild-card teams?

Houston looked like a top AFC team all year, but injuries and inexperience have their playoff hopes in serious question.

Pittsburgh has their fair share of health concerns. Ben Roethlisberger isn't 100 percent and Rashard Mendenhall is done for the year.

Cincinnati far exceeded expectations with a rookie quarterback and wide receiver duo. But quietly, the defense has been the key to their success.

Denver had a very good defense, too. But the Broncos got help—not in the form of God, but rather Santa Claus. Because that division title was gift-wrapped for them.

Atlanta beat the snot out of bad teams, and sometimes struggled against the good ones. But wide receiver Julio Jones is starting to show why they spent so much to trade for him in last season's draft.

Detroit is very entertaining, and the city has bought into their team after years of terrible football. The defense needs to catch up with the offense.

The New York Giants used all 17 weeks to secure a playoff spot. Every time they started rolling, they hit a speed bump that set back the perception of this team. Do they finally have it all together?

New Orleans is hitting their stride. Drew Brees is on fire. They have a running game, and the defense looks closer to what they were in 2009.

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