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Fan Analysis of the Four 2012 NFL Wild Card Games
The 2012 NFL playoffs are set. All 12 seeds have been filled, four of which happened on the final day of the season. The postseason starts with games on Jan. 7 and Jan. 8 as four wild card matchups are played. Here's my look at the four games and eight teams playing in the first week of the playoffs.
The Cincinnati Bengals travel to south Texas to take on the Houston Texans in the first wild card game Jan. 7. This game is pretty much a toss up of teams that got here in different ways. The Texans excelled in a crummy division and fought off injuries all year long in key positions. The Bengals came in third in the toughest division in the NFL and are battle tested.
The Texans lost their last three games of the season after a miraculous seven-game winning streak that got them to the postseason in the first place. The Bengals started out great before faltering mid-season and had trouble beating better teams. The Bengals may pull this one out in a low-scoring and sloppy playoff game.
The Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints battle in the Superdome. The Lions started the season strong before losing later in the season. The Saints were in control of the NFC South all year long. This game will be an offensive feast for the fans as both the Saints and Lions scored over 40 points in their season finales. This game may well come down to the quarterback who has the ball for the final time with under two minutes to play in the fourth quarter. Both clubs play indoors and are motivated to win.
The Atlanta Falcons travel to East Rutherford, N.J., on Jan. 8 to take on the New York Giants. The Falcons may be one of the most underrated playoff teams in the bunch as Matt Ryan has been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL season. The last time he threw an interception was back on Dec. 4. Eli Manning will call the plays for the Giants as he tries to lead his team back to glory. The Falcons will give the inconsistent Giants all they can handle and may actually win on the road as a wild card team.
The game Jan. 8 between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos will likely be the most one-sided in the wild card round. Pittsburgh comes in as the stingiest defense in terms of yardage and points given up. Meanwhile, the Broncos are in the bottom third of the NFL of offensive production. If Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has a great game, the Broncos will have little chance to win. Pittsburgh has a 12-4 record, winning four more regular season games than Denver.
William Browning is a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs after latching on to the team during the lean years of St. Louis football. Born in the gateway city, he is also a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan. He currently resides in Branson, Mo .
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