Playoffs 2012

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So my Giants didn’t make the playoffs. Sad, but true because despite them having a letdown season, I really think they could have made another run. The good news is the schedule should treat them better next year and hopefully they can improve on defense.

Of course, there is always a bright side to every story and with the Giants out of the playoff picture, I get to make my playoff predictions. The last time I did this I was pretty dead on with all my picks and successfully picked the Super Bowl teams and winner from the start. Let’s see if I can do it again.

First, lets start with the fact that the field is wide open this year. I would be hard pressed to say there is an out right favorite, although there are certainly teams I feel I would put the money on over others. Even last year, despite being the last team in, many had that feeling the Giants were going to be that surprise team again. I am not getting that feeling this year with anyone in particular, although if I had to peg one, I would say the Seattle or the Ravens have the best chance to be that “surprise”.

As I did the last time around, I will look at each matchup for this week in detail, make my picks and then at the end explain how I see the rest of the weeks play out. I won’t go into much detail on the upcoming weeks, as I will save that for when we actually know who is playing who in the upcoming weeks.

So here we go…Wild Card Weekend:

Minnesota at Green Bay – let’s face it, Green Bay is not as good as they come off to be at times. They lost to Minnesota this past weekend and they have certainly had their ups and downs throughout the year. Here’s the thing though, they haven’t necessarily been firing on all cylinders either. They lost Nelson for most of the year, lost Cobb last week and had some weeks without Clay Matthews. Well, Nelson is back, Cobb should be back and the team should be more whole than they have been in weeks. This combined with a home game rematch in the first round against the team that forced their hand to play this week equals a fired up contender. I think GB comes out firing, taking an early lead and forcing Minnesota to go to the air, which is not their strength. Minnesota might put some points on the board, but I expect Green Bay to repay the favor of having to play this week in this rematch.

Green Bay 34, Minnesota 17

Cincinnati at Houston – boy, Houston has really slowed down since looking like the team to beat in the AFC earlier this year. In this rematch of last year’s wild card matchup, I expect a hotter Cincinnati team to put up a pretty good fight. Cincinnati has the weapons on offense and a much better looking defense of late. Houston on the other hand has been susceptible to the pass and has been struggling to put up points. Even so, I expect them to squeak by Cincinnati, making the difference maker here their home field advantage.

Houston 24, Cincinnati 20

Indianapolis at Baltimore – here is an interesting game. The Colts, led by Andrew Luck have in one year, went from the first draft pick to securing the #5 seed in the AFC. This game is an enigma, simply because the Ravens are also an enigma. I could make a case that the Ravens don’t even belong in the playoffs. They squeaked by bad teams all year, allowing them to secure the AFC North. I could also argue this is the X Factor team to look out for this year. Why? Because they have had everything go their way when they needed it. Because no one expects them to do much. Because they are healthier than ever this year and lastly because Ray Lewis has announced his retirement at a strategically perfect time to rally the troops. Home field advantage is also a huge factor here because simply put, the Ravens are a whole different team when playing at home. The Colts on the other hand have little to lose. Heck, they won 2 games last year – 2 game! Now they are in the playoffs. If the Colts stay in this game, then they have a good chance to pull off the upset.

Luck will not be on the Ravens side this upcoming weekend, but a better defense, a pumped up atmosphere and more experience will overwhelm the rookie QB…I see this one getting out of hand…quickly.

Baltimore 45 Indianapolis 10

Seattle at Washington – so my first impression was Washington could beat Seattle, go to Atlanta and upset the Falcons. After thinking about it though and looking things over, I realized…are the Redskins this good or are they a product of a soft schedule? Now you could make the argument that they had to play most of their division games in the last 2 months, during their winning streak, but it’s not like the division was all that great. Dallas, well…Tony Romo. Eagles…nuff said. And the Giants didn’t exactly look great towards the end…not to mention they only lost by one in that MNF game. I am not taking anything away from Washington; they have come a long way in one year, but I think Seattle is a better team. They have a better defense and matchup pretty evenly on offense. RGIII to Wilson and Morris (who is just as much of that offense as RGIII) to Lynch. The receiving core on both teams are nothing to write home about, but in the end this comes down to who has the better defense and I think Seattle clearly takes the cake.

Seattle 24, Washington 17

So how does it play out next week…here is a glimpse, assuming the above is correct:

Houston @ NE – Look for the Sith Lords to overtake the stumbling Texans in a battle that will come down to Brady throwing for 5 TDs, Arian Foster running for over 150 and Andre Johnson having a career day. As long as Belichick can wear his hoodie, no one outside of the Jedi’s are going to be able to stop him. If the over/under is 75, take the over.

Baltimore @ Denver – As a way to offset Lewis’ publicity stunt, Manning will announce his retirement at the end of the season. Denver will start out slow, giving the Ravens some hope, but the Ravens offense will thin out like the air at Mile High, as the Denver D heats up. Meanwhile Peyton will get into the groove, throw for a few TDs, rescind his retirement at halftime and whisper in Ray Lewis’ ear at the end of the game, I’ll see you on the other side buddy.

Seattle @ Atlanta – Upset of the week. Atlanta realizes they aren’t really that good and having home field advantage means nothing to them in January. Cause of death will be determined as the Bye Week Blues.

Green Bay @ SF – honestly, I could go either way here. First I thought GB, but I am going to go with the team that has the better D and the home field advantage. I see this one being close, but SF will find a way to pull it out.

Awards of the Year thus far:

X Factor Team – Seattle
Most Overhyped/Rated – Washington
Upset Central – Atlanta
Team that will look and say, what happened? – Texans
The Hoodie that Couldie – Mr. B
Best Strategic Publicity Stunt since promoting the Blair Witch movie as a true story – Ray Lewis

To be continued…

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