NFL Playoffs: 2012 Wild Card Predictions
It’s that time of year again, NFL playoffs. Metta Chronicles got some experts (Colin Kennedy, Rohan Bhatia, Animesh Basu, Akash Pandey) together from Cal Berkeley, and they were kind enough to share some predictions. Let’s dive in…
Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans
Colin Kennedy: Hou 20-17. The Ginger vs Texas’ superbowl hopes. The loss of Schaub drastically alters this Texan team as their hopes rest on the young shoulders of TJ Yates. The Texans have dropped their last three, but they’re still at home. I predict a big game for the RBs of Houston, and I don’t expect there to be much receiver play as AJ Green has been hampered by a shoulder injury and Andre Johnson is still getting over his hamstrings.
Rohan Bhatia: Don’t think Houston’s offense can move ball effectively enough with Yates, although he has shown signs of competency. Bengals D is stingy and will hold up. Texans D will keep this game close, but Bengals end up prevailing 13-10.
Animesh Basu: Defenses have been keying in on the Andy Dalton to A.J. Green connection lately, and Houston will continue to do more of the same. Wade Phillips has done a good job keeping Houston’s defense intact in the absence of Mario Williams. But at the end of the day, the running back tandem of Foster and Tate will be too much for Cincy to handle…and if you get a cut as fresh as this, you know you’re coming to play. Texans 20 – Bengals 14
: Yeah yeah 3 straight losses, TJ Yates, la di fucking da. Let’s not forget that this is the first playoff game in Texans history and three weeks ago they were in the running for the AFC’s 1 seed. They’ve handled tough injuries all year (Arian, Andre, Mario, etc.) while the Bengals limped into the playoffs with a home loss to the Texans, two close wins to the Rams and Cards and a home loss to the Ravens. Wade Phillips will have his pass D ready and Arian will get the offense’s wheels turning just enough to get it done. Texans 20-13.
Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints
Colin: New Orleans
Rohan: New Orleans
Animesh: New Orleans
Akash: New Orleans
Colin Kennedy: There will be absolutely no defense played. Two dome teams go at it, both QBs surpassed 5,000 yards this season, neither team had a RB with over 700 rushing. The saints have a stronger D and are the vets here. While the Lions can rush the pasher, they don’t consistently play o-lines (and especially two All-Pro guards) like the Saints. I expect this one to be a shootout. NO 45 DET 35
Rohan Bhatia: Shootout all the way. NO’s experience and homefield advantage will help them prevail in the end, pulling away late. Stafford’s inexperience will show as well; I sense a few overthrows that end up in the hands of Saints’ defensive backs. Predicting a final score of 35-21.
Animesh Basu: The Lions are playing in their first playoff game in I don’t even know how long…maybe next year they can win their first playoff game in I don’t know how long because it aint happening this year. The Saints are simply too potent on offense for the Lions D to keep up, or any D for that matter. With the addition of Sproles and the emergence of Jimmy Graham, the Saints are looking to recreate the magic they showed us two years ago. Saints 35 – Lions 24
Akash Pandey: If Matt Flynn can put up 6 TDs and 500+ yards vs. the Lions in the snow, what is Drew Brees gonna do in the Superdome? At home, the Saints are 8-0: seven of those wins have had a margin of victory over 10 points. There is no way the Lions win this game. For entertainment value, I hope they compete, but I just can’t see it. The Saints are a much smarter team with a Super-Bowl-or-Bust attitude. The Lions are a flag-hungry, inexperienced squad that followed up their playoff-clinching victory by making Matt Flynn look like Steve Young in the ’95 Super Bowl (Niners bias alert). C’mon Man. Saints 45-24.
Atlanta Falcons @ New York Giants
Colin Kennedy: Have the Falcons beat anyone good this season? Congrats on beating up on a shitty teams Mike Smith and the massively overated Matt Ryan! Eli has been performing out of his mind, and to think that the Falcons who only lose playoff games can come into dirty Jersey and beat the Giants is ridiculous. Expect great Giants D, and plenty of sacks of the aforementioned Ryan. NYG 21 ATL 17
Rohan Bhatia: Eli gets it done, the way he has been doing all season. The Giants’ D with a replenished front line will be hurrying Ryan all night, flustering the young QB. The game is at MetLife, so advantage Giants there as well. G-men win this ’bout 24-14.
Animesh Basu: This should prove to be the most competitive game of the weekend in my mind. The Falcons are always a threat with their talented receivers, but with the Giants rejuvenated D line, Matty Ice might not get the time he needs to find them down the field. As for the Giants, it will be quite interesting to see which Eli Manning shows up come gametime, and whether or not Victor Cruz can break one of his spectacular big plays. Giants 20 – Falcons 17
Akash Pandey: Don’t believe the hype. These are not the 2007 Giants. They beat an overrated Jets team and an ailing Cowboys team and now they have the momentum to possibly push past the Packers? I’m not buying it. The Falcons aren’t much better, but they are definitely coming into the postseason looking for a win to justify all the offensive moves they made in the last two years. Julio Jones is tearing up triple coverages and the Giants secondary won’t be able to keep up with the Jones/White/Tony G aerial attack unless they get to Matty Ice every other play. I can see the game going both ways, but in the end I think Matty Ice gets his first playoff win in a shootout. Falcons 30-24
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos
Colin Kennedy: Pittsburgh
Rohan Bhatia: Pittsburgh
Animesh Basu: Pittsburgh
Akash Pandey: Pittsburgh
Colin Kennedy: This whole Tebow thing has really collapsed in Denver’s face. This is what happens when a gimmick runs out of steam and you don’t have a QB who can go 65/90 (completion percentage/qb rating). Although Pitt is hampered with Injuries, their D will shut down Denver’s O. I expect one or two huge plays from Pitt’s WRs but not much else from their Offense. Prater kicks 3 long-ass field goals in the 2nd half to make it seem respectable, but c’mon this is not a close or interesting game at heart. PIT 17 Den 12
Rohan Bhatia: Don’t even want to watch this. +/- on Tebow picks is set at 3, and that’s being generous. Brian Dawkins is out too, and Champ isn’t guarding Mike Wallace or Antonio Brown. Blowout in the mile high city, 38-7.
Animesh Basu: The defensive battle of the weekend. The Steelers vs. The Tebows. Evil vs. Good. Unfortunately for Tebow nation, the Steelers are gonna take this one. It’s gonna be an ugly, brutal slug fest. The Denver Tebows have absolutely no momentum coming into the playoffs having lost their last three games of the regular season. The playoffs are all about which team is hot, and with defenses figuring out how to contain Tebow, the Broncos have lost much of their mid season sizzle. Pittsburgh takes this one and moves on to the divisional round. Steelers 23 – Broncos 13
Akash Pandey: With all these close BCS bowl games, let’s just hope Big Ben and Ol’ Charlie suffer early injuries and Dennis Dixon battles Tebow for the more ineffective read-option. I hate the Steelers, but their defense is too damn good to let Tebow embarrass them. Their outside linebackers and secondary is too strong and Dick LeBeau will have his crew ready for action. Just like in their narrow road victories against the first team, all-effete QB club of Colt McCoy, Tyler Palko, and Curtis Painter, the Steelers won’t put up many points, but they definitely will handle business. Steelers 16-6
You can follow our experts on Twitter:
Colin Kennedy: @Zephyrs_Bacardi
Rohan Bhatia: @R_Bhatia
Animesh Basu: @ABasu23
Akash Pandey: @Akash112