Need some quick picks for this weekend’s games? Jobu’s got the hookup.
Today I realized i hadn’t yet told you guys who to bet for in this weekend’s playoff games. How are you supposed to benefit from my knowledge if I don’t share it? With my humblest apologies, here’s a brief look at who I think will go over in this weekend’s matchups!
Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans, Saturday, 4:30 pm
This game is being played in Houston, where the Texans went 5-3 this season, so they have that going for them. The Texans also boast one of the more talented running backs in the league in Arian Foster, and a very powerful defense. The Texans QB situation, however, is an absolute mess. They Lost Matt Schaub in week 10, Matt Leinart was next to be out for the year, and rookie T. J. Yates got hurt in week 17. As of press time, it looks like Yates will be ready to go, but if he can’t, the Texans will have to win with Jake Delhomme. I know he got to a Super Bowl once, but I don’t think he’s gonna cut it. The Texans also finished the regular season with a three game losing streak to three teams that didn’t make the playoffs (Panthers, Colts, Titans). The momentum is not on their side at all.
The Bengals went 5-3 on the road this year. While that’s far from “Road Warrior” status, it’s better than they performed at home (4-4) and shows that they’ll be comfortable going to Houston to take on the Texans. Cincy will also feature a rookie starting QB in Andy Dalton, who has done a great job since taking over for Carson Palmer (the baby bitch) this season. Cedric Benson is pretty talented as well, and the defense is definitely serviceable. The Bengals don’t have any major injuries in key positions, which gives them another leg up on the Texans. They lost to Baltimore to end the season, but had won the two previous weeks, so they still probably feel pretty good about themselves going into this game.
In the end, the lack of momentum, and T. J. Yates will be the Texans’ undoing. They will, unfortunately be going home after the game. It’s really too bad because i feel this team could have made a lengthy run in the playoffs if they still had Matt Schaub at the helm. The future is still bright in Houston, but Cincy’s gonna win tomorrow.
Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints, Saturday 8:00 pm
This has been an amazing year for the Detroit Lions. They have used youth and great drafts to completely turn around the franchise. Things haven’t been this fun in Detroit since Barry Sanders was running around and the Pontiac Silverdome. They have suddenly developed three of the most talented and potentially marketable young stars in the league in QB Matthew Stafford (5,038 yards, 41 TDs), WR Calvin Johnson (96 catches, 1681 yards, 16 TDs) and crazy old Ndamukong Suh (he’s crazy).
Unfortunately for the Lions, this game is being played in New Orleans, where the Saints went 8-0 this year. Drew Brees doesn’t lose in NOLA, and that’s that. I could go into why the Saints are so good, but everyone knows why. Offense, offense, offense. Bet the house on the Saints in this one.
Atlanta Falcons @ New York Giants, Sunday 1:00 pm
Let’s start with the Falcons. Matt “Matty Ice” Ryan, the Boston College grad (go eagles), has developed into one of the best young QBs in the business. He’s coming off his best season yet (4,177 yards, 29 TDs), and he has plenty of weapons to throw to in the ageless Tony Gonzalez, Roddy White and Julio Jones. The Falcons running game is also solid, with Michael Turner shouldering most of the load (301 carries, 1340 yards, 11 TDs). The Falcons can put up a lot of points, and don’t give up too many either.
Ah the Giants. My first, my last… my everything. Obviously Jobu’s rooting for the G-Men on sunday, but can they win it? The thing with the Giants is that they could get blown out on Sunday, or win the Super Bowl, and I wouldn’t be surprised either way. One advantage is that the game is at Giants Stadium (yes I’m calling it that). The Giants running game hasn’t been top notch this year, but the patchwork O-line seems to have been finally meshing the last few weeks, and things improved in victories against the Jets and the Cowboys to close the season. Eli spent the off-season championing himself as an elite NFL quarterback, and he performed like one this year (4,933 yards 29 TDs). The Giants defense front is healthy, which is going to be dangerous for Matt Ryan and the Falcons. When Tuck, Osi, JPP and Kiwi are coming at you, you better get that pass off.
I really think the Giants can and will win this football game. The Giants D-line will simply overwhelm the Falcons offensive line (even if they use dirty tactics), and force Matt Ryan to make mistakes. If Eli can keep the offense on the field, there’s no reason to think the giants won’t score some points. It will be interesting to see if this game is close in the fourth quarter. “Matty Ice” earned that nickname at Boston College because of his ability to put it down in the 2-minute drill, and he’s kept it in the NFL. That being said, Eli Manning has really become one of the best 4th quarter, and two minute drill quarterbacks in the league. He even broke his brother’s record for fourth quarter TD passes this year with 15. If it’s close at the end, who will pull it out? I think Eli. Giants win.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos, Sunday 8:00pm
The fact that the Denver Broncos made the playoffs with Tim Tebow at the helm is a bit of a joke, but boy was he fun to watch in the fourth quarter from weeks 9-14. The kid seemed to have some kind of supernatural force behind him as he pulled of ridiculous fourth quarter comeback after ridiculous fourth quarter comeback. That being said, he’s awful, and it really showed the last three weeks of the season. The Broncos lost the last three games of the season, including the week 17 game where they managed 3 points. 3! They finished at 8-8 and only made the playoffs because the Chargers play with dresses on. Tim Tebow’s magic is fading, and fading fast.
The Steelers boast one of the better big game quarterbacks in the league in Ben Roethlisberger. There’s no doubt that he has what it takes to carry this team past the Broncos easily this weekend. Wait… what? He’s got an injured ankle? He’s somehow going to try to tough it out and play? Hmm… well at least the Steelers still have Rashard Mendenhall, one of the grittier running backs in the league. He’ll lead them to victory if Big Ben can’t. What’s that you say? Out for the year? oh… uh… ah hell.
Listen up, people. The Steeler’s defense is going to destroy Tim Tebow, and there’s nothing funny about that. I don’t care if they have to ask Terry Bradshaw and Franco Harris to come out of retirement to fill the QB and RB slots this weekend, you can’t lose a game you pitch a shutout in. Break out those towels, Steelers win.
Dalton image courtesy of: AP Photo/Al Behrman
Superdome image courtesy of: http://www.offbeat.com/
Giants image courtesy of: The Associated Press
Roethlisberger image courtesy of: AP Photo/ Gene J. Puksar
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