NFL Wild Card Picks

Posted: January 5, 2012 by vindanton in Pro Sports

Picks and analysis by our writers!

(6)Cincinnati Bengals vs. (3)Houston Texans: Saturday 4:30 NBC

Vin D’Anton: For the first time in NFL History, we see two rookie quarterback face off in a playoff game. Andy Dalton and…TJ YATES?!?! Well, as of now T.J. Yates, with his shoulder and two playoff quarterbacks (Jake Delhomme and Jeff Garica) behind him, who the heck knows what will happen with that. Both defenses are very good with both being in the Top 10. Defense does win championships, but they need a quarterback to score. T.J. Yates is not the answer. Andy Dalton is ready to win this game as he has actually played on national TV already. Pick: Bengals

Shaun Smith: In many ways this is the most difficult game to pick this weekend. Both teams backed into the playoffs with little-to-no momentum. Both teams boast a good defensive attack with the slight edge going to the returning Wade Phillips for Houston. As much better Dalton is than Yates, I feel Houston’s defense and Foster’s legs can carry Houston. Pick: Texans

Brandon Tuzio: I like Andy Dalton in this one. Houston will certainly be fired up about their first playoff game, but I smell an upset brewing. Dalton wasn’t exactly himself in Week 17 against Baltimore, but I feel he will prevail against a team with recurring QB issues. Pick: Bengals

Preston Kennedy: In this first match up I feel Cincy might have an edge. The Texans are first timers in the playoffs and it’s great to see but with no Schaub and even no Leinart the Texans are in trouble. It’s a shame to see that team make it to this level finally and not even really have a chance to be honest. The Bengals have an outstanding rookie pair in Andy Dalton and A.J Green, along with a defense lead by Coordinator Mike Zimmer. I don’t think that T.J Yates and his 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions can lead the Texans to their first playoff win. Pick: Bengals

Nick Scerbo: The Bengals have a rookie quarterback.  The Texans don’t really have one at all because of injuries. That’s a big thing, although maybe it’s a little bit overblown.  Perhaps more importantly, the Bengals are seasoned by one of the toughest divisions in football and the Texans got fat on what may have been the weakest two games against the lowly Colts and unimpressive Jaguars.  Besides, Andy Dalton is a good rookie quarterback and Marvin Lewis is a good coach who has been with the Bengals a long time. The Texans might be the least interesting team in the playoffs.  Pick: Bengals


(6)Detroit Lions vs. (3)New Orleans Saints: Saturday 8:00 NBC

Vin: That first game they played was much closer than people think and Ndamukong Suh didn’t play. Matthew Stafford is going to be a great quarterback and Drew Brees already is. The Saints defense is overrated and the Lions D looked pathetic against Matt Flynn and the Packers last week. Something is telling me that Detroit has a better shot people think, but the Saints are just too good at home. It’ll be shootout till the end. Pick: Saints

Shaun: This might be the best matchup of the first round. Stafford and Megatron should have a field day with NO’s non-defense while Drew Brees surely will pull a Drew Brees. The big question is whether or not Suh and Fairley can get to Brees, not to mention Detroit’s ability to pass the ball without a running game. Ultimately New Orleans at home is just too much for the Lions to overcome. Pick: Saints

Brandon: In week 13, New Orleans beat Detroit 31-17, and that was at least closer to the time where we believed Detroit was a threat. But wasn’t it just last year when the Saints lost the first round where they were supposed to trounce the Seahawks? No, can’t happen again, it just can’t… Pick: Saints

Preston: In my heart I want to pick the Lions all the way but I would be rational with that one. The Saints went into Seattle last year and got shocked by that Seahawks team and also that crowd. This year it won’t be a problem hosting the Lions. The Lions offense has been amazing this season without even a running game since Jahvid Best went down mid-season with a concussion. With this game it comes down to defense and which bad defense is better. In the end the Saints offense is just way too much for that Lions defense to handle. Pick: Saints

Nick: Boy, I’d really like to pick the Lions in this one.  They have the sentimental factor going, they really seem to believe in each other, and they have maybe the most dominant defensive lineman I’ve ever seen in Ndamukong Suh.  Drew Brees has such a quick release and reads the field so well that he’ll nullify that Lions pass rush. That said, I’ll hedge my bets a little bit by noting that the Saints did drop the ball against a Seattle team they should have beaten handily…I don’t think that will happen this year, though. Pick: Saints


(5)Atlanta Falcons vs. New York Giants: Sunday 1:00 FOX

Vin: These teams are sort of have the same in a way. They are good but just seem to be missing the “it” factor. Atlanta seems to have a better offensive roster, but the Giants are more explosive. The Falcons have had a better defense all year, but the Giants pass rush has come alive. Michael Turner will be a key factor in this game. A first will happen in this game; Matty Ice and Mike Smith win their first playoff game, or Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin win their first home playoff game. Pick: Giants

Shaun: This game will either be a back-and-forth slugfest or a complete blow-out on either end. Both Atlanta and NY are coming into the playoffs hot with the Atlanta’s offense in-synch and NY rolling over their fellow New Jersey counterpart and a pathetic Dallas team. The X-Factor here is the Giant’s D. Eli can put up points but if Tuck and JP2 don’t supply the pressure, the G-Men may be done. NY seems to be more of a complete team and I feel they have an advantage over Atlanta come Sunday. Pick: Giants

Brandon: The game is in New York, and people believe in them. History tells us these are bad things, but the future tells me to bELIeve (ßcredit to Vin for that) in JPP and Victor Cruz! I really do feel the Giants front four will make Matt Ryan’s day longer than he wants, and that will be all that’s needed to secure a victory. Pick: Giants

Preston:  Last year the Falcons had won the NFC South and hosted the future Super Bowl Champion Packers. The Falcons didn’t have a chance in that one and this year will be a little different but not by much. The Giants and Eli Manning have the offense that most Giant fans aren’t used to seeing. The pass offense for the giants this year has been unreal and even just to get 50 or 75 yards from Bradshaw will be enough especially with the way the defense has been playing. The Giants 3 headed monster in Tuck, Osi, and JPP will be too much for the Falcons O-Line to handle. Pick: Giants

Nick: This is probably the toughest of either game to pick, because I can see two entirely plausible and entirely different ways for this game to play out.  I’ll start with my nightmare-the Giants come out like they did against Washington a few weeks ago, and as an initially excited Meadowlands crowd falls silent in growing horror. Honestly, though, I don’t think that will happen.  I think the Giants are starting to find some good footing, they have a defensive line that will harass Matt Ryan, and an offense that, while it lacks a running game, seems capable of coming up with the big plays when they have to have them. Pick: Giants


(5)Pittsburgh Steelers vs. (4)Denver Broncos: Sunday 4:30 CBS

Vin: You know Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is licking his chops for a chance at Tim Tebow and that non-professional offense, but I’m sure Tebow is extra motivated. Ben should have rested the past few weeks, he is banged up bad. Sure, they don’t need Ryan Clark because Tebow doesn’t throw, but something is telling me that he has one more dose of magic left in him…we haven’t seen it in a while. He is long overdue. We end Wild Card weekend with an upset. Pick: Broncos

Shaun: I don’t think there’s a more banged up team going into the playoffs than the Steelers. Without a running back, Clark, and a quarterback on one leg, Pittsburgh couldn’t possibly win, right? Wrong! Even without Clark, Pittsburgh’s defense might be the worst match-up for Tebow (he’s going to wish he went 6 for 22). I can’t see how Pittsburgh doesn’t find some way to pull this out. Pick: Steelers  

Brandon: I don’t feel that missing Mendenhall will have a huge impact and hopefully playing Roethlisberger in Week 17 won’t come back to haunt them. But if all goes well I won’t need to frantically turn the game on in the fourth quarter after seeing a score alert on my phone that just says TEEEEBBOOOWWWW!!!!! Pick: Steelers

Preston: Really? This is a game? Yes the Steelers are missing Mendenhall but I think that is the last of the worry. Big Ben will show why he has two Super Bowl rings and that Steelers defense will show Tim Tebow why he shouldn’t be a starting QB in the NFL. The Broncos defense holds up in the first half but in the end with no offensive support they can’t do it all themselves. Pick: Steelers

Nick: On the surface, this one resembles last year’s Saints-Seahawks game; a highly regarded wild card team against the champions of a weak division. Unlike the Saints, the Steelers are a defense-first team and they’re going up against a Broncos team that was only able to put up three points against Kansas City when the Chiefs were just trying to see out the end of the year.  The Broncos do have home field advantage, but the Steelers are a bad weather team themselves, and they’re very experienced on the road and in the cold. Picks: Steelers






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