WCG Picks the NFL Playoffs: Wildcard Round

Things might get a little feisty in this playoff game.

The NFL's Wildcard weekend will get started this Saturday afternoon, and even though our beloved Bears didn't make the post season, many of us are still fans of the NFL and will be hunkered down in front of out TV's taking in the playoff action. We have a couple NFC North teams in the running to root against, some of us have built up a solid dislike for all things Tim Tebow and the Broncos, and then it's always fun to wish for a New York loss. After the jump we'll get into our picks, and be sure to play along and give us your picks as well.

Cincinnati Bengals (9-7) at Houston Texans (10-6) Saturday 3:30pm Central
This game is a rematch from week 14 in which the visiting Texans won 20-19. This is the first ever playoff game for the Texans and the third playoff game for the Bengals since 1990. Both teams have stumbled to the finish going 2-3 in their last 5, an dboth will be starting rookie QBs. The difference is the Bengals Andy Dalton will be making his 17th start on the season and Houston's T.J. Yates his 6th. These are evenly matched teams, but I see the Bengals avenging their earlier loss and advancing in the playoffs.

Detroit Lions at (10-6) New Orleans Saints (13-3) Saturday 7:00pm Central
This is another pairing of teams that met in the regular season, in week 13 the Saints won in N.O. 31-17. I don't think this game will even be that close. Both teams feature high powered offenses, but the Saints do a better job of protecting their QB. The vaunted Lions pass rush will have a tough time getting to Drew Brees. They got to him twice in the week 13 game, but I expect the Saint o-line to be up to the challenge. I think the Lions may lose their composure, and the Saints will win big.

Atlanta Falcons (10-6) at New York Giants (9-7) Sunday Noon Central
The Giants had to win their last game to get in the post season and they've won 3 of their last 4 games. The Falcons are also on a 3 of 4 run, and they just tuned up by dropping 45 on the Buccaneers. This might be the best game of the weekend with two evenly matched teams, but I think the Giants will shut down Michael Turner and the Falcon ground game, and find a way to pull out the W.

Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) at Denver Broncos (8-8) Sunday 3:30pm Central
The NFL wanted this as the Sunday afternoon game? Yuck. I predict a lot of pain for Tim Tebow. The Steelers defense has the speed to contain Tebow, and the scheme to make it a long afternoon for the Denver offense. The only way the Broncos make it close is if their defense has a monster game.

And for those of you that follow the point spread, fellow WCG writer Steve Ronkowski had this to say about the game, "Nice run for the Tebows, but he's shown in the last couple of weeks he can't get it done against real competition. Don't be surprised if the Broncos cover the 9-point spread, though."

Here's how we at Windy City Gridiron see the games this weekend;

WCG "Expert" CIN @ HOU DET @ N.O. ATL @ N.Y. PIT @ DEN
Lester Bengals Saints Giants Steelers
Dane Texans Saints Falcons Steelers
Kev Bengals Saints Giants Steelers
Steven S. Texans Saints Giants Steelers
T.J. Texans Saints Falcons Steelers
Sam Bengals Saints Giants Steelers
Pete Texans Saints Giants Steelers
Steve R. Bengals Saints Giants Steelers
David Bengals Saints Giants Broncos
Ashley* Bengals Lions Falcons Steelers

*Editor's Note: We asked Ashley to use the time-honored tradition of picking mascots based on cuteness. Kitty cats ruled the day.

And a special thanks to Kev for pimping out the table...

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