Let me preface this NFL Weekend Wild Card preview by stating that I am way more excited about the BCS National Championship on Monday, but as a formality I will begrudgingly discuss the NFL playoffs. I will talk about the games, both who I think will win, and who I would put my money on if I was betting with the current spreads given by USA Today. So without further ado, here goes the Lez-Be-Honest Wild Card Weekend predictions…
Cincinnati @ Houston -2.5
This is a pretty interesting game between a very young team and another which is very banged up at the moment. Cincinnati’s secondary is very young, and do not appear to be able to cover any body against a competent offensive passing game. However, in steps T.J. Yates, the starter for the Texans out of UNC, and here’s an interesting fact for you to chew on: Yates is the first quarterback to ever start an NFL football game coming out of North Carolina. However, I think Houston can overcome their inexperience at quarterback if a hobbled Andre Johnson, stud tight end Ben Tate, and Arian Foster can get their mojo working. Down the road, I do believe that the Bengals could win this game, but as of now they may be too young to win this meaningful of a game. I would not count out Cincinnati, but if I was betting on this game I would take the Texans and the points.
Detroit @ New Orleans -11.5
New Orleans will have trouble running against Detroit’s front seven, meaning that the Saints will have to rely largely on Drew Brees and the passing game (as usual). Yet, Brees and New Orleans will be tough for Detroit to beat, especially down in the Super Dome, their only chance is to control the ball and not turn it over. Lions running back Kevin Smith will prove pivotal in this game, and as long as Stafford does not turn the ball over, the Lions really do have a chance. The Saints, along with every body else in the league do not have any answer for Megatron, and the matchup on both sides really does favor the Lions. However, they are a heavily penalized team, and like the Bengals, may be a bit too young for this type of stage. I’m going to pick the Saints to win the game, but it is going to be closer than people will expect, I’ll take the Lions to cover at +11.5.
Atlanta @ Giants -3
The Giants have been the hardest team in the league to figure out this year. They arguably have the best defensive line in the league, alongside a scary offense, which at times looks stagnant. The Giants do not have any excuse to lose this game, but the question remains, which Giants team are we going to get? New York gets a good matchup playing against the Falcons in their opening playoff game. The Falcons have an offensive line which should be dominated by the Giants, and Matt Ryan is yet to win a big game for his team, let alone a game on the road. I’m going to take the Giants to win and cover this game, and watch out, they are definitely a sleeper to knock off the 49ers or the Packers if they feel like it.
Pittsburgh @ Denver +8.5
In my opinion, this is the game I’m looking forward to the most during this upcoming weekend. Pittsburgh is banged up with their center and star running back ruled out for the game. Also, Big Ben will be almost completely immobile, but in all likelihood will be able to play. Defensively, Woodley and Harrison will be in the game together for the first time it seems all year; playing against a Broncos offense lead by Jesus Christ himself. This game has upset written all over it to me, I think the Steelers could win, but nowhere close to what the spread indicates at 8.5. I think I’ll take Pittsburgh to win, but I’ll take Denver and the points. Be advised: if Tebow has the ball down by less than a touchdown with two minutes left, the Broncos will win.
Enjoy Wild Card Weekend Everybody, Can’t Wait for LSU and Bama on Monday night, happy betting.