The PUP List’s 2011-2012 NFL Playoff Predictions
This year’s Super Bowl will be a rematch of Super Bowl XLII and the Giants will win, again. Eli’s been clutch this year, and I believe that New York has both the offensive, and defensive weapons to take home the Lombardi trophy. New York will beat Atlanta at home this weekend. The Saints are hot, and Drew Brees is firing on every cylinder possible. However, I believe that Eli, Victor, and Hakeem can go blow for blow with New Orleans. Then, the Giants will proceed to beat Green Bay, and New England, sounds easy enough, right? But let’s not jump the gun, here’s how the playoffs will unfold, game by game.
WILD CARD WEEKEND
The Bengals will redeem themselves and beat the Texans in Houston. Andy Dalton is more poised than TJ Yates and it will show in the playoffs. Cincinnati’s main concern will be Arian Foster, and the Bengals’ top ten run defense will prevail in that matchup. AJ Green will need to come up big against former Bengal Jonathan Joseph in order for Cincy to win, and I think that he will. Bengals win 24-17.
I would love for the Denver Tebows to beat Pittsburgh, but I just can’t fathom it happening. The Steelers are missing Marquis Pouncey, Pittsburgh’s reliable starting center, and that will cause problems, but not enough problems to cause Big Ben and the gang to lose. Ryan Clark will also miss the game for Pittsburgh, but I don’t think that will hurt the Steelers too bad, because Tebow is not a big passing threat. Rashard Mendenhall will miss the game for Pittsburgh as well, but they seem to have a running back carousel in place over there. Also, Brian Dawkins is out for Denver, that’s a big loss for the Broncos as he is a seasoned veteran and leader on the defense. Steelers win 21-10.
The Lions just dumped a truckload of points on the Packers, but the Saints dump truckloads of points on everyone, so I’m not worried about Detroit pulling an upset here, in New Orleans nonetheless. Brees and Stafford combined for over 10,000 passing yards during the regular season, yes, those are passing yard numbers, not a Temple Run score. It will be a battle of the QBs, and I’m nowhere near ready to take Stafford over Brees at this point. Saints win 42-35.
The G-Men are my pick to win it all, so I obviously have New York over Atlanta. Eli has been carrying around some big marbles this year, if you know what I’m saying. Victor Cruz has emerged as a top NFL receiver, it’s hard to say who’s even NY’s number one receiver at this point, is it Cruz or Hakeem Nicks? The Falcons are good, when you have Tony Gonzalez, Julio Jones, and Roddy White, you’re always a contender. But, I don’t think Atlanta will be able to beat the Giants at the MetLife Stadium, something about the Falcons being a dome team makes me think they are going to lose. Giants win 30-24.
The Patriots on two weeks of rest and preparation are going to be hard to beat for anyone, let alone a rookie lead Cincinnati team. Andy Dalton and his offense have been impressive this year, but they won’t be able to hang with Brady’s bunch. Even with New England’s defensive woes, I can’t see them losing to the Bengals. Brady has so many weapons with Welker, Gronkowski, and Hernandez are possessing the ability to rip one off and score at will. I actually see the Pats D stepping up in the playoffs and redeeming themselves. Cincinnati has been getting torn up by tight ends lately, and the Patriots have two of the best in the league. Patriots win, 27-20.
It’s hard to beat a team twice in one season, but to beat a team three times? It seems quite hard to do. Both the Steelers and the Ravens are formidable teams, and honestly, I just can’t see Pittsburgh losing to Baltimore three times in one season. Joe Flacco is not an elite quarterback, Big Ben is, it boils down to that. Both teams have great defenses and it’s going to come down to who’s QB can make more plays. Steelers win, 20-17.
The 49ers are a good team. But, the Saints are better. San Francisco’s defense is extremely good, they didn’t allow a rushing touchdown until the very end of the season. The question is though, who’s better? The 49ers D or Drew Brees? The answer is Brees. If Brees has to go blow for blow with Alex Smith, I’m pretty sure he’ll be willing to answer the call. Also, I look for Chris Ivory to have a solid run in the playoffs, he’s been churnin’ and burnin’ as of late. Saints win 27-23.
The Packers are most people’s favorites to repeat and win it all this year. The Giants lost to the packers 38-35 at Metlife Stadium this year, that’s a close game my friends. This time the game will be in Lambeau, but I don’t see that playing that big of a factor, in fact it may be a crutch. Here’s why, Green Bay does not have a reliable running game, the Giants do. We saw what happened when it was cold in Kansas City, the Packers’ receivers were dropping balls left and right and they couldn’t get much going on the ground. Last year when the Packers made their run, every playoff game they played was in a dome. That’s an advantage for a pass happy offense like Green Bay’s. Aaron Rodgers is better than Eli, but Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs are that much better than Ryan Grant and James Starks. Also, Green Bay’s D is just as bad as New England’s, Eli and his friends should be able to poke some holes in that Swiss Cheese defense of Green Bay’s. Giants win 31-27.
AFC AND NFC CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND
The Patriots against the Steelers. It just sounds right. The Steelers are banged up, and who knows if they will heal by the time this game rolls around. But, it won’t matter, because I think Brady feels a little disrespected this year. Everybody is making noise about Tebow, Brees, and Rodgers; Brady fell by the way side. He wants to let people know that he’s still out there, doing what he usually does. Pittsburgh does have potential to annihilate New England’s defensive secondary with their ultra-fast receivers, but even if they do, I think Brady will answer every point, and then some. Plus, New England will be at home, and we all know what happens for New England at home in the AFC Championship game…rules get invented and Brady wins. Patriots win 31-28.
The Saints against the Giants will be a doozy. Many points will be thrown upon the scoreboard. This game would be in New Orleans, so the Saints would have home field advantage. But if you compare the teams, New York has just as many, if not more, offensive weapons as New Orleans does. And, the Giants D-Line is yoked. Jason Pierre-Paul has been defiling quarterbacks all season. There is something about this New York team that I love. Eli seems to have finally developed into a full-grown man, albeit an extremely awkward one. Brees is a great quarterback, but Eli will outperform him in this game. Look for Cruz and Nicks to dominate, even more than the Saints’ Jimmy Graham will. Giants win 38-35.
THE SUPER BOWL
In a rematch of Super Bowl XLII, the Giants will prove to the Patriots that New York’s previous Super Bowl win was no fluke. Back then, New England was undefeated and most analysts chose them to win. However, Eli “put da team on his back doe,” and with a little help from David Tyree, lead them to victory. This year, both the Pats and the Giants have offensive weapons all over the field. Victor Cruz has been a breakout star for New York, and Rob Gronkowski has more than out-spiked his expectations for New England. This game would be awesome if it happens. The game would come down to the Giants’ defense out playing the Patriots defense. The Giants have all the weapons, on both sides of the ball, to win it all. New England only has those weapons on one side of the ball. Both Coughlin and Belichick are proven winners, and Coughlin will come out of this matchup victorious, yet again. Giants win 28-24.