Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Lions @ Saints
The Saints are the hottest team in the NFL. Drew Brees will challenge Aaron Rodgers for MVP. The Saints offense is unstoppable and, especially at home, they are almost impossible to beat.
Well, the Lions have a pretty good offense too.
This game will most likely be a shootout, but most slate the shootout to end in the third quarter with the Saints pulling away late. While that's the way it should play out, when's the last time that happened?
What happens if it's Matt Stafford who has the ball last and not Brees? What happens if Brees is the one that throws the one or two picks and not Stafford?
The Lions may not be the hot team like the Saints, and they may be coming off a bad loss to the Packers last week, but they still have a dangerous offense that's capable of keeping up with the Saints. All it takes is one late-game drive, one crucial turnover or one missed opportunity by the Saints to make this game available for the Lions to take.
You might as well stop reading right now and start writing your comments because the Lions are going to turn a lot of heads in their first playoff appearance since 1999.
Falcons @ Giants
This game is sure to be exciting. Matt Ryan is still looking for his first-ever playoff win, and Eli Manning finally has his shot to back up his "I'm an elite quarterback" talk in games that really matter.
I think what's going to make the difference in this game is the Giants' ability to get to the quarterback. Both teams will be able to score points, with Julio Jones only adding to the Falcons arsenal in recent weeks and Eli Manning being on a mission. But the Giants' pass rushers will get to Matt Ryan and force him into at least one mistake and probably a couple of sacks.
Not that the Falcons defense won't make some plays, but I like Manning, who already has a ring, to outlast the still young Falcons quarterback.
Bengals @ Texans
I think Arian Foster can have a huge game, but I'm not sure he can carry the team by himself.
Maybe he won't have to, though. Maybe home-field advantage, a strong defense going up against a rookie quarterback and a good game by T.J. Yates will be enough, as long as Foster also plays phenomenally. But I'm liking Cincinnati.
You figure the first step is to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. It makes sense for the second step, winning a playoff game, to come during the season after they have the experience of playing in the postseason.
But if the Texans had Schaub, Mario Williams and a healthy Andre Johnson, then I would say this Texans team is too good to wait until next year. Unfortunately, they don't have those players, and they will get upset by a solid, young Bengals team. The Bengals went 1-7 this year against teams with a winning record, but I don't think this Texans team would have finished the season higher than 8-8 as currently assembled.
Steelers @ Broncos
The magic in Denver appears to be over. Tebow looks awful again, their defense is no longer enough to win and they've lost their last three games in a row. Oh, and they're matched up against one of the best teams in the AFC.
The Steelers don't have Rashard Mendenhall or Ryan Clarke, and their quarterback has a bum leg. Yes, the Steelers defense is great and should hold down this Broncos offense, but this Broncos defense is playing pretty well in its own right.
The Broncos will be able to keep a Steelers offense in check with no Mendenhall and a hurt Big Ben. I still think Ben will make some plays, as he always does, but some big plays by Tebow and McGahee, Denver's home crowd and a late mistake by Big Ben will cost the Steelers.