NFL 2011 Divisional Playoff Round
Is this the real life, or is this just fantasy?
Bengals 10 - Texans 31: The Phillips family reunion on the field was really a side bar to Houston's coming out party. First playoff game and win in franchise history (and no, the Oilers don't count anymore for the city). Now imagine how much more lopsided the score would have been if the team was healthy.
Lions 28 - Saints 45: The sequel to the regular season was pretty much the same as the original. Detroit's made strides this year, but they had the misfortune of running into New Orleans' offensive juggernaut. Drew Brees has more weapons than the 3rd Marine Division.
Falcons 2 - Giants 24: The knock against Matt Ryan and Atlanta was that they hadn't done anything in the playoffs. The knock continues. As for New York, Tom Coughlin's still safe. It's like he can't be killed or something.
Steelers 23 - Tebows 29: It's as if this is an AFC remake of last year's game between New Orleans and Seattle in the same postseason round. One team coming off a Super Bowl appearance, riddled with injuries and lack-luster play for the season. The other team being the division winner with the worst record in both conferences hosting a game they on paper shouldn't have a chance of winning. Throw in a shocking big play (though Marshawn Lynch had to break a few more tackles) and you have a shocking upset. I'll hold off on speaking about Denver until later, but as for Pittsburgh, the door's closing on them and closing fast. With Baltimore still on top and Cincinnati being an up-and-coming team, having the Steelers in the playoffs may not be a given anymore and the next time they are dominant, it could be a completely different team.
Divisional Round Pick 'Em: Hmmmmmm, you think one particular game may have thrown a monkey wrench into your picks? Let's see...
My record: 2-2
Secret Asian Man: 3-1
* = These guys were the only ones with the cojones to pick the Broncos. Sadly, they got greedy in picking upsets.
+ = Unfortunately, I did say during the regular season that once you make your picks you're stuck with them. So, TheGameguru was stuck with the Bengals and garion333 with the Steelers. Sorry guys, but rules are rules.
Now, for the next round:
Saints vs. 49ers (Saturday, 4:30 ET, FOX): San Francisco has the advantage of the bye, the home field, and the defense. Did I merely say defense? I probably should have said Pro Bowl and All-Pro defense, plus special teams to boot. Throw out any talk about the weather; it feels more like summer during the afternoon around here than winter. Niners.
Broncos vs. Patriots (Saturday, 8:00 ET, CBS): I'm definitely harping on defense, of which New England has about zero which is a recipe for disaster when faced with one Timothy R. Tebow late in a game. Oh yeah, and Denver does have a defense however they did slack off and let Pittsbugh back into the game. But, the Patriots' offense is essentially the touchdown machine of the AFC that the Saints are in the NFC. Pats.
Texans vs. Ravens (Sunday, 1:00 ET, CBS): I'll quote but one stat here: 8-0. That's Baltimore's home record. Ravens.
Giants vs. Packers (Sunday, 4:30 ET, FOX): Same stat for Green Bay and while New York pushed the Packers to the brink, that was at their home. Go, Pack, go.
Enjoy the week, folks.