by Ryan Meehan
NFL Wild Card Weekend is here, and I’ve decided to do something a little different. Ever since Thanksgiving Dubsism has put all these theme ideas in my head, and since a lot of people are confused what to think about some of these Wild Card matchups I’m going to break each game down into three categories: What each matchup tells us, what will really happen, and what the final score will be. From a local angle there is almost no interest in the games this week, and even though I’m a Giants fan as you’ll soon see I’m also very nervous about being one. We start on Saturday in Houston and work our way to Dumerville, Tebowrado all in about 27 hours or less.
Cincinnati Bengals (9-7) at Houston Texans (10-6) 3:30 PM CST
This game is going to tell you a lot about: How much of a true football fan you really are
In all likelihood, when this weekend is over you could almost guarantee that this will end up being the least watched game out of all the matchups. And if you’re a diehard football man you’ll watch every minute of this one. But then when halftime comes, you’ll be bored with it, and waiting for the next game. There’s just not a lot of electricity that surrounds these two teams having to play each other.
Andy Dalton had a better than average year where so many quarterbacks had great ones. The kid’s really got a good look to him when he’s on it, and keep in mind the Bengals are 9-3 against teams other than the Steelers and the Ravens. (5-1 on the road) But it’s those same teams that had made him so tough in his first year. Jay Cutler probably wishes he got hit half the times Dalton has, and he’s been out for over a month. Let’s face it, the Texans sort of stumbled into the playoffs and they will be using a makeshift offense at best on a short week. What I’m really saying is the Bengals have a much greater chance at winning this game than the Texans do. Even though I have the Bengals winning by four points in a close game, there’s probably about an 84% chance the Bengals win this game. Another reason I don’t believe the Texans will be able to cash in on what they’ve achieved is the fact that Reliant Stadium holds virtually no history of tough to deal with playoff games. It’s basically a neutral site.
Prediction: Bengals 24, Texans 20
Detroit Lions (10-6 and about to be 10-7) at New Orleans Saints (13-3) 7PM CST
Although I can’t believe I’m saying this, I actually think that it’s not a good idea to drink and watch the Saints. They just make everything look so fun and if you have a problem with the way you manage alcohol you will probably get yourself into a lot of trouble if you’re a New Orleans Saints fan. You don’t think there’s a reason they’re putting this one on Saturday night? Get the fuck out of here.
You do have a drinking problem. But no seriously, is anybody picking the Lions that isn’t just trying to be a wanker? Of course there isn’t. Admit it, you want the Lions to lose. Bad. And they should, they’re playing in the Superdome which is a recipe for trouble. However on the Lions side, I will say this – if Matthew Stafford threw for 520 yards outside last week, you have to figure he can have a pretty good day in a climate controlled environment. And yes, the Saints did blow it in the first round last year to a team that I think we can all agree wasn’t as good as the team that beat them. Think about how much people have turned on the Lions in just this one year span: They went from being this 0-16 team just a few years back to being known as this vile, nasty bunch of pricks that cheats and tries to take cheap shots when they think the refs aren’t looking. I suppose if it was 1954 this technique would prove to be very successful because there wasn’t a video camera every fifteen feet back then. And if this is a popularity contest (much like the NFL hopes it will be) the Saints are going to be the belle of the ball. No casual football fan is going to be rooting for the Lions to win. Let’s see…city that was ravished by hurricane only to win the Super Bowl less than five years later, or team that steps on Cheeseheads? Casual fan is at least going to have a cousin who’s a Packer fan so he’s going to take the Saints and give his liver the over on a half liter of Yukon Jack. You don’t have to be well educated on sports to know these things. As for the game itself, it’s going to be a lot of what you’re used to seeing from the Saints: High scoring and limited defense. In the end, more high scoring for New Orleans, and the party goes well into Sunday morning.
Prediction: Saints 41, Lions 26
Mid-article Bonus Comment:
As I’m writing this, it’s about three in the morning and I just saw a commercial that featured Joe Theismann and in the upper right hand corner it says “Do you have prostate issues?”. The sound is all the way down, but I can pretty much fill in the blanks with regards to what it’s about. Even though it is something that I will develop issues with somewhere down the line, you have a hole in your soul if you can’t laugh at the fact that pretty much nothing below the nipples is functioning in Joe Thiesmann’s world. That’s really funny, and it’s such a stock cause for an aging male sports figure to get behind. Hell, I probably have an enlarged prostate at this very moment but I’m not walking into the emergency room anytime soon and throwing a major fit. Some things you just have to learn to live with. Now, let’s see what will happen on Sunday:
Atlanta Falcons (10-6) at New York Giants (9-7) 12PM CST
Are you ready for some sloppy ass football? If not, get pumped because that’s what’s coming.
The Giants have probably already been penalized a dozen times, half of those for infractions that occurred after the play that hasn’t even started yet ended. This game could be very close and it could go either way if it’s tight. If it’s a blowout, it’s not going to be the Giants winning, it’s just not going to swing in that direction. When New York falls apart they fall apart hard and fast, and imagining the Giants losing this game by 24 points is not a hard thing to do. Does Tom Coughlin stand on his head for an hour before every game? Because that’s what it looks like; all of the blood seems to rush there. Every time the Giants get flagged for something stupid, there’s this awkward Charlie Brown like moment where Coughlin’s face just has this “C’mon guys no fair!!!” look to it. Like he’s Charlie and his offensive line is Lucy and she just yanks the ball away from him like clockwork. Look…As much as I hate Cris Collinsworth from NBC, he made a great point Sunday Night when he said that it’s very obvious when Eli yells “Omaha”, they’re changing the snap count. Everybody knows that…everybody except the Giants. His brother did it, his Dad probably did it too, but since both of them were out for the season not a lot of people seem to be mentioning it. The point here is, Big Blue is undisciplined. They exhibit numerous similarities to teams like the Raiders who don’t even bother to listen for the whistle and yell things like “You Want Some? Is that what you want homie?” when they’re down 20 with three minutes left. Lot of posturing, not a lot of brains. I do believe that it won’t be a blowout and it’ll be very close but the Falcons will come out on top.
Prediction: Falcons 32, Giants 29
Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4 and clearly more deserving to host this game) at Denver Broncos (8-8 and receiving an unfair advantage when it comes to altitude and being used to the cloud of incinerator smoke that hovers over the whole city) 3:30 PM CST
This game is going to tell you a lot about: How good Ben Roethlisberger really is right now
Listen, if there’s no Rashard Mendenhall for the Steelers it should make little difference to a guy that’s won the goddamned Super Bowl with a passer rating of less than 30. If he’s that special he shouldn’t need any help from any sort of a running game: That’s the definition of what it means to be a great quarterback in the NFL. And plus, even if he can’t really get things going, you have to figure against the Broncos he shouldn’t need more than 9 points anyway right? I’m suspect about Denver at home anyway – only 3-5 in the stadium in the league with the most significant home field advantage.
The Steelers are going to be fine. Now when they DO win, it’s going to cause some problems for them. They’re either going to be stuck playing the Ravens again IN Baltimore, or be IN Massachusetts playing the Patriots. Both ways they’re screwed so I’m sure that’s going to be in the back of their minds so I can’t pick them to score more than 23. They will hold the Broncos and if Denver plans to run that option play all day Roethlisberger might not need to get it done at all, the defense might do it for him. Whether you’re Pro-Tebow or anti-Tebow, let’s be honest – The Broncos’ strength is not in scoring. Their strength is in playing hearty defense, running the football, and killing clock. That’s THE ONLY way they know how to win games in the NFL. The Steelers can win in many different ways as long as the power doesn’t keep going out on them.
Prediction: Steelers 23, Broncos 9
If all of this follows through, the matchups for divisional weekend will look like this: (wild card winners’ records projected)
Cincinnati Bengals (10-7) at New England Patriots (13-3)
Pittsburgh Steelers (13-4) at Baltimore Ravens (13-3)
Atlanta Falcons (11-6) at Green Bay Packers (15-1)
New Orleans Saints (14-3) at San Francisco 49ers (13-3)
That being said, I did go 0 for 4 last year in my Wild Card weekend picks, so what the hell do I know? Maybe Tim Tebow is punishing me for writing about all of these natural disasters. If all of it does happen, that Saints/Niners game could be incredible and that Bengals/Patriots game WILL be horrid. That’s a guarantee, and unless I’m wrong you can mark my words.
Once again thanks for visiting First Order Historians and enjoying more of the internet’s finest in user generated content.