NFL Playoffs 2012: Looking Back at Wild Card Weekend and Ahead to Divisionals

Svyato Rovenchuk@TorontosClassicSenior Writer IJanuary 10, 2012

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 08:  Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos drops back to pass during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Sports Authority Field against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Check out Svyato’s picks here previous to the games. Current predictor record: 2-2.



No. 3 Houston Texans vs. No. 6 Cincinnati Bengals

Recap and Short Analysis: Couldn’t say I didn’t see this one coming. Houston took care of Cinci with relative ease, winning 31-10. Monster game from Arian Foster who had 153 rushing yards, 29 receiving yards and two rushing touchdowns. You know who saw that one coming? This guy. Don’t believe me? Check my game picks.

Some were picking Cincinnati to win in this one because they did not think the Texans could succeed with TJ Yates at QB. I kept saying it over and over, Houston was going to win this one with great defensive play and running the football. They did just that. Houston will now travel to face the Baltimore Ravens next week in what’s sure to be a great matchup!

Thoughts on Texans, Next Week

Texans did a great job running the ball and had an amazing day on the defensive side of the ball, highlighted by an interception from JJ Watt. No, I’m not kidding. If the Texans play like they did today next week they might just upset the Ravens, who are the favourite by many (including yours truly) to emerge from the AFC.

To anybody wanting to criticize the passing game, I’ll give you two words to think about, Andre Johnson. Despite showing some rust in this one, Andre Johnson is still one of the Top Five receivers in the entire league. He’s big, has great hands and some great playmaking ability. Yates could do worse than have Johnson to throw the ball to.

However, I still would like the Ravens to win next week. I think this game will be a battle of defenses. Both teams have really talented defensive crops and will give each other’s offenses a huge problem when moving the ball. Look for Brian Cushing to have an impact on this one for Houston, while Terrell Suggs steps up for the Baltimore Ravens. Final score? I’d say somewhere around the lines of 16-13 for the Ravens.


No. 4 Denver Broncos vs. No. 5 Pittsburgh Steelers

Recap and Short Analysis: WHAT A GAME, WHAT AN UPSET! Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos, shockingly beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in this one, 29-23. Fun fact, every time these two teams have met in the playoffs, the winner has gone on to the Super Bowl.

Terrific second quarter by the Broncos gave them a comfortable lead. Although that lead did slip away, Tebow and Demaryius Thomas made no mistake in overtime as it only took them one play to go 80 yards for the game-winning touchdown. Amazing performance by Tim Tebow in this one! Career high 316 passing yards, 50 rushing yards, two passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. Just an amazing game. If you missed it, I’d find somewhere you can watch it.

Broncos will head to New England to once again battle with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Some are calling this a blowout already. Just keep in mind, they said the same thing about this one.

Thoughts on Broncos, Next Week

The Broncos looked both relaxed and focused at the same time going into this one, and it was at that point I realized Denver might just pull the upset. Great game by the defense! Fans finally saw that same defense that was such a huge part of the Broncos winning streak. Tim Tebow had a fantastic game. For someone that had been criticized for not being able to throw the ball, he did great, against the No. 1 pass defense in the entire league.

Denver travels to New England next week. These teams met earlier this season with New England taking it. It’s so hard to pick Denver in this one. They are playing Tom Brady, who is still the best QB in the NFL. Some of you may be saying Rodgers is the best QB in the league right now. Look at the tools around him—Nelson, Jennings, Finley, Driver, Jones and Cobb. Not too hard to find success with that group, now is it? Matt Flynn did fine.

Brady is still the class of the league and has proven that he makes the receivers around him better rather than the other way around. Need proof? Randy Moss.

It’ll be a tough matchup for Denver. You have one of two choices, try to slow down the game by running the ball, or get ready to slug it out in an aerial assault. If Tebow can drop 316 yards on Pittsburgh, I think he can be successful against the Patriots' atrocious secondary. However, I still like New England in this one.

Whether it’s a blowout by the Pats, or a close one in the fourth, there’s no QB I’d rather have behind center than the two-minute drill champion, Tom Brady. I would like both QBs to step it up in this one, but look for New England to win. Something like 38-31 for the Patriots sounds about right. The heart says Broncos, the mind says Patriots.



No. 3 New Orleans Saints vs. No. 6 Detroit Lions

Recap and Short Analysis: This game was pretty close until  the fourth quarter. In the fourth, Saints took over and outscored the Lions 21-7 to win the game, 45 to 28. Drew Brees had a spectacular game of 466 passing yards and three passing touchdowns. Saints won the game and they did it pretty convincingly when they had to.

This game was expected to be a high-scoring game and it was. The problem for Detroit is it was much more high-scoring for New Orleans. The league’s No. 1 offense once again showed that while defense might win championships, offense does a big part too. Not to discredit their defense that picked off Matthew Stafford twice.

Saints are looking good and are off to San Fransisco next week to battle the 49ers.

Thoughts on Saints, Next Week

Saints' prolific offense goes up against the Niners' tough defense next week. The 49ers have as good a defense as you can find, but it’s so hard to stop Drew Brees and that offense.

Initially, all the hype was around Green Bay and their offense when they were undefeated, but once they lost their first game the league took their attention away from them. When they did, they looked at the Saints and realized, damn, they might be harder to defend than the Packers are and I do believe that is the case.

When New Orleans plays San Fransisco, I believe the Niners' defense will NOT contain the Saints, which will force them to play punch-for-punch. Alex Smith punch-for-punch with Drew Brees? 49ers fans across the United States are shaking in fear, for good reason.

Saints will get the win, booking themselves a ticket to the NFC Championship. Frank Gore will try to slow down the game with some good running, but Drew Brees’ offense will be too much to overcome. Saints roll 31-17.


No. 4 New York Giants vs. No. 5 Atlanta Falcons

Recap and Short Analysis: This one got ugly in the second half. What looked like it was going to be a good game turned all Giants once the third quarter started. 24-2, Giants crushed them. The only two points they allowed were from a safety by the Falcons in the second.

All of a sudden, the Giants are looking like a really dangerous team. Great games for Manning and Jacobs, really powering their team to the victory line. Giants didn’t hold back at all with the lead and now appear to be ready to battle Green Bay.

Thoughts on Giants, Next Week

In what could be a much closer game than some people will expect, the Giants travel to Green Bay to take on the Packers. After beating the Jets, followed by the Cowboys, and now the Atlanta Falcons, the Giants have shown us they are focused and could be the team nobody sees coming.

If you ask me, the Giants offense can hang in there with Green Bay. Manning is no Rodgers, but he’s a fantastic QB. Nicks, Manningham, and the explosive Victor Cruz are going to be very tough to defend, especially with the 32 ranked pass defense in the NFL. There’s only so much Charles Woodson to go around. However, that works both ways. The Giants will have a hard time containing all the weapons the Packers have on offense.

This one could be a great matchup.

An x-factor for the Giants might be their better defense. A main point for them will be that pass rush. If they can get that going and pressure Rodgers as he throws, then this game gets interesting. Rodgers will be key for Green Bay, as expected. Arguably the best QB in the league (not in my books, but in many of yours), Rodgers will be expected to trade blows with Eli Manning until he gets the win if it comes down to that.

I’m really liking the Giants, but I’m not ready to call upset yet. 34-31, Packers win.


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