Wild Card Round
(6) Detroit Lions @ (3) New Orleans Saints
If tonight's game is any indication, this one will be exciting. But it'll also be another home win for the Saints, as New Orleans ends Detroit's return the playoffs in a hurry.
(5) Atlanta Falcons @ (4) New York Giants
Matt Ryan outdoors in New York in January? Hard to pick the Giants to win a playoff game after four straight losses, but in this scenario, that's the right thing to do.
(6) New York Jets @ (3) Houston Texans
The Texans are proving against all odds that their defense really is the best in the biz. That might be enough to get to the playoffs, but the absences of Matt Schaub and possibly Andre Johnson will prove to be too much once they're there.
(5) Pittsburgh Steelers @ (4) Denver Broncos
No one else seems to agree, but if this game ends up happening in Denver, I'm betting on the Broncos. Their defense can hold the Steelers, and then there's this Tebow guy on offense...
(3) New Orleans Saints @ (2) San Francisco 49ers
The Saints would be underdogs on the road, and in a poor-weather setting, that might prove to be an astute assessment. However, the Niners are more vulnerable than they've looked, and Brees is on fire.
(4) New York Giants @ (1) Green Bay Packers
How great would it be to see a rematch of that Week 13 game? Of course, in Green Bay in the second round of the playoffs, it might not come down to the final snap.
(3) New York Jets @ (2) New England Patriots
The Jets made it this far, and this is the step where they usually laugh their way past the Pats, but not this year. New England finally wins another playoff game, getting their third 2011 win over the Jets.
(4) Denver Broncos @ (1) Baltimore Ravens
It had to end sometime. After finishing 10-6 and winning a playoff game, the ride stops in Baltimore where Denver can't dig themselves out of an early hole. Ray Rice closes it out with 150 yards.
NFC Championship Game
(3) New Orleans Saints @ (1) Green Bay Packers
The Saints get another shot at the Packers, and as improbable as it sounds, the game is even better this time. Still, Green Bay comes out on top, finding a way to win late in the fourth quarter.
AFC Championship Game
(2) New England Patriots @ (1) Baltimore Ravens
Luck again runs out for the Patriots, who take an early lead before packing it in and forgetting to cover any of Baltimore's receivers. Tom Brady is sacked on consecutive plays to end the game.
Super Bowl XLVI
Green Bay Packers vs. Baltimore Ravens
It's billed as offense vs. defense, but the Packers are once again lighting it up with postseason sacks and turnovers, and Joe Flacco is guiding an offense that's scored 30-plus in two straight games.
It comes down to the wire, like all hypothetical games do, and Green Bay repeats as champions when Torrey Smith is caught at the nine-yard line by Charles Woodson.