This year’s NFL Playoffs have already been full of enough excitement to fill an entire NFL postseason. We’ve seen an underdog pull off one of the biggest upsets of the 2011 season. We’ve also seen a top-seeded team roll past lesser teams.
This postseason I’ve been glued to my TV for every down of football that has been played. Wild card weekend saw all the higher seeds win except for the ultra-upset that Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos were able to pull off.
The Giants of New York came into their wild card match-up talking big, bold and brash. A few New York players such as Jason Pierre-Paul and Victor Cruz flat out said they guaranteed a victory of the Atlanta Falcons. The Giants came out and backed up their smack-talk with a 24-2 shellacking of the Falcons. The Giants scored 24 unanswered points behind three touchdowns from the ultra-hot Eli Manning.
The New Orleans Saints continued the ways of their high fire offense with a 45-28 victory over the Detroit Lions. The Saints scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to put the Lions away for good. The Houston Texans, with their third-string quarterback, easily handled the Cincinnati Bengals 31-10.
Tim Tebow showed that he actually does have a throwing arm as he threw for 316 yards against the No. 1-passing defense in the NFL. The Broncos were led in victory by Tim Tebow, who had two passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. The highlight of the game was Tebow’s 80-yard touchdown to receiver Demaryius Thomas that ended the game 11 seconds into the overtime period.
Tebow Time soon ended the very next week against the New England Patriots. The Patriots had an amazing game from Tom Brady, who tied the NFL record for touchdowns in a postseason game with six. Tebow struggled in every aspect of the game, only finishing nine of 26 passes in a 45-10 loss.
The New York Giants continued its hot streak as it defeated the Super Bowl favorite Green Bay Packers. The Giants earned three touchdowns from Eli Manning in a 37-20 victory. The Packers’ defense once again showed why they were the worst passing defense in the history of the NFL. Packer receivers dropped so many balls that it looked like they were trying out for a Butterfinger commercial.
The last two games of the Divisional round showed proof of the old motto “defense wins championships.” The San Francisco 49ers were able to slow down the high-powered Saints in a 36-32 win. The Niners allowed Drew Brees to throw for 462 yards and four touchdowns, but he also threw two interceptions. Alex Smith showed that he was not a bust or a “coach killer.” Smith ran and threw for a touchdown in the final three minutes of the game to beat the Saints.
The Houston Texans moved on to play the Baltimore Ravens in what was the least memorable game of the divisional round. The Ravens’ defense forced quarterback TJ Yates into three interceptions in a 20-13 victory.
Conference championship week is shaped up to be a great one for football fans. The Patriots’ offense will face off against the Ravens’ defense, while the Niners’ defense will attempt to shut down the hot play of Eli Manning and the Giants.
My prediction for the Patriots-Ravens game is a 35-24 victory by the Patriots. I think the “pick your poison” offense of Brady, Welker, Gronkowski and Hernandez will be too much for the Ravens’ defense to handle. In the NFC game I see the Giants beating the 49ers 24-18 in a tight defensive game. Eli Manning will be able to spread the ball out to his trio of receivers to beat the Niners’ defense.