EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 01: Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants gestures against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on January 1, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Last Week: 11-5
Season Record: 170-86
The word on the BBV streets is that there is a crystal ball that sees all. Before I joined the crew here, I had a popular picks piece going myself. Since we're basically in a new season, Ed decided to pit Mike and I against each other, in a no-holds barred steel cage match. Being a native New Yorker, how could I say no? Seriously, Mike has done a great job with his picks all year and I am happy to be adding mine to the site. You've read Mike's earlier today. Now, here are mine.
Cincinnati at Houston: No one could have predicted the success that these two organizations have had this year. The Bengals were at the bottom of the barrel in their division last season (4-12). The Texans were tied for last (6-10). This year, they find themselves in the playoffs. Give credit where credit is due, to be where they are after where they were is no small task. This game is going to come down to two things, run defense and the twelfth man, with more emphasis on the former. last week Ray Rice ran circles around the Bengals, almost 200 yards of them. While Arian Foster is out of the picture, Ben Tate is more than capable of making Cincy's defensive line look like Swiss cheese. These two met earlier this season, in what was a very tight game. This was a hard one to pick. But the edge goes to Houston. Texans 24, Bengals 17.
Detroit at New Orleans: Drew Brees. Any questions? They blew them out earlier in the year. They'll do it again. I gahrahntee! Saints 42, Lions 20
Atlanta at New York: The Falcons took advantage of the mismatches on their schedule this year and there were plenty of them. Had their schedule been more difficult, they might not be where they are today. That is not to say that they are not a talented team. They have a three-receiver set that is top notch, a Pro-Bowl caliber quarterback and one of the best running backs in the game. However, the bulk of their losses come from teams who finished above .500. The Giants have had their ups and downs this season. But they are heating up and coming together as a unit at the right time. The Falcons will look to establish their running game early and take the Giants pass rush, which has been ferocious over the last few weeks, out of the equation. Both teams secondaries will be put to the test. The Giants will need to shut down the run and keep the lanes closed. This will be a high-scoring, aerial type game. Ultimately, the more experienced quarterback with the home-field advantage will make the difference -- and don't forget those awesome, little rally towels. Giants 35, Falcons 27
Pittsburgh at Denver: I would love to see "Tebow Time" infect this game. But there are a few key things that will not see that come into fruition. First off, the Broncos have been been pretty bad at home this season. They are currently on a three-game losing streak, which if they were playing any other team, at any other time, might work in their favor. However, they are going up against Ben Roethlisberger, a Super Bowl winning quarterback who knows how to win a playoff game. True, he is suffering with an ankle injury. But you can bet your last dollar that he will be ready come game time. Even though Tebow is a mile high closer to God than most other quarterbacks in the league, I don't see his prayers being answered this week. Steelers 45, Denver 13
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.