The Year of the Pass

In this, the Year of the Pass, can any AFC team score with New England. Pitt may have had a chance to at least generate some long drives, but now they are down to a backup RB and an injured Big Ben. Baltimore certainly could eat clock with Ray Rice, but can Flacco can go head to head with Brady? Perhaps, if the Ravens’ D can apply enough pressure on Brady.

And Denver? That ship has sailed. Denver’s defense may come to play, but they’re not going to score enough.

So look for Baltimore at New England, I think NE just scores too much.

The NFC is wide open in the sense that any of the playoff teams could go on a run. But the NFL world would be surprised if neither Green Bay nor New Orleans goes to the Super Bowl.

New Orleans hasn’t played an outdoor game up north since the first week, when the Saints lost at Green Bay.  That may tamp down New Orleans’ offense enough for QB Aaron Rodgers to win without a running game. If Rodgers can sustain drives long enough to keep Brees and Co. off the field, they should beat New Orleans….if NO can get past SF. If Eli holds up, Giants should win a home game v. Atlanta, but can JPP disrupt GB enough at Green Bay? Perhaps. but since neither the Giants nor GB can run, Rodgers gets the edge at home. GB-NO for all the NFC marbles…..Green Bay’s at home and if it’s bad weather, they’d get the big edge, unless New Orleans can sustain a running game. Think a NO or GB  vs. NE Super Bowl would be high scoring?

Detroit at New Orleans

It’s looking like virtually every NFC playoff game this year is going to be a high-scoring game.  It certainly should start that way, as Detroit has the league’s best WR (Calvin Johnson) and New Orleans has the league’s most prolific offense.   The Saints’ biggest problem is that if they play Green Bay, it will be at Green Bay, and it appears that the Saints have not had an outdoor game up north since they lost at Green Bay in week one.  None of which matters against Detroit, which stands ready to give New Orleans a battle.

Sure, Brees set the NFL yardage record with 5,476, and added 46 TDs, but Stafford wasn’t far behind with 5,038 and 41 TDs.  That passing prowess may well keep Detroit in the game, but the team’s inability to run will put a lot of pressure on Stafford to play mistake free football.   Because the Saints have a great O-line and can run better, with the 3-headed-monster of Sproles-Ingram-Ivory, they have  the better chance to sustain long drives, keeping Stafford-to-Johnson off the field.  Plus, Johnson is recovering from an injury and would need to have a huge game to keep Detroit running with the Saints.

Detroit’s a  young team and should be title contenders next year, but for now the veterans can win the day if they can withstand a Detroit second-half run.

Saints 41, Detroit 31

Bengals at Texans

Cincinnati at Houston:  I assume someone will score in this game eventually (has there ever been a 7-0 playoff game?), and that’s likely to be Houston, because they can run the ball and WR stud Andre Johnson is supposed to be healthy for this one.   Actually, it’s amazing that Cincinnati even made the playoffs, because they haven’t beaten anyone and the average non-fantasy-playing, casual sports fan cannot name anyone on the team.  Here’s one: Andy Dalton, one of whose high school teammates is also in the NFL.  How many of YOUR high school friends are in the NFL?

Of Cincy’s 9 wins, 5 came against last place teams, 2 came against next-to-last teams, and 2 came against 2nd place teams.  But in their defense, all of their losses were to playoff teams.   Another thing they have going for them is that Wade Phillips coaches for Houston. Then again, Wade’s always been a good D coach.   Houston 24, Cincy 17

Cincinnati at Houston:  I assume someone will score in this game eventually (has there ever been a 7-0 playoff game?), and that’s likely to be Houston, because they can run the ball and WR stud Andre Johnson is supposed to be healthy for this one.   Actually, it’s amazing that Cincinnati even made the playoffs, because they haven’t beaten anyone and the average fan cannot name anyone on the team.  Here’s one: Andy Dalton, one of whose high school teammates is also in the NFL.

Of Cincy’s 9 wins, 5 came against last place teams, 2 came against next-to-last teams, and 2 came against 2nd place teams.  But in their defense, all of their losses were to playoff teams.   The other thing they have going for them is that Wade Phillips coaches for Houston. Then again, Wade’s always been a good D coach.   Houston 24, Cincy 17

Page 2 of 2«12