Playoff picks – Wild Card Weekend, Sunday games

First two Wild Card games are in the books, here are my picks for Sunday Wild Card games.

Atlanta Falcons (10-6) @ New York Giants (9-7), Sunday 1:00 PM (ET)

     

Stats That Matter

Scoring Offense: Falcons (7th) over Giants (9th)
Scoring Defense: Falcons (18th) over Giants (25th)
Scoreability Index: Falcons (10th) over Giants (18th)
Bendability Index: Falcons (18th) over Giants (21st)
Passer Rating Diff.: Falcons (11th) over Giants (12th)
Rusher Rating Diff.: Falcons (12th) over Giants (13th)

Prediction 

New York Giants finished regular season with two solid performances in a must win situations against Jets and Cowboys. Now they are favorites to win against Atlanta Falcons and Matt Ryan who is 0-2 in the playoffs. Seems like 2007 season all over again for the Giants who finally found their pass-rush abilities. The difference to their last Super Bowl season? Almost non-existent running game, Giants rank dead last in yards per carry with 3.5 average. This gives Falcons a chance to focus on pass defense and try to disturb Eli Manning and his wide receivers. Atlanta is more balanced team on offense and if Giants will get to Ryan then Falcons can still turn to their ground attack in order to slow down Gaints’ pass rushers. I think Falcons will get a win but it will be close game decided in the last minutes of the game.

Moneyline: Falcons 27-23
Against The Spread: Falcons (+3.5)
Over/Under: Over 46.5




Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) @ Denver Broncos (8-8), Sunday 4:30 PM (ET)

     

Stats That Matter

Scoring Offense: Steelers (21st) over Broncos (25th)
Scoring Defense: Steelers (1st) over Broncos (24th)
Scoreability Index: Broncos (21st) over Steelers (27th)
Bendability Index: Steelers (3rd) over Broncos (24th)
Passer Rating Diff.: Steelers (5th) over Broncos (28th)
Rusher Rating Diff.: Steelers (10th) over Broncos (18th)

Prediction 

Just like the Falcons, Steelers (12-4) have to play on the road, despite of better regular season record, and travel to Denver Broncos (8-8) who will host their first playoff game @ Mile High since 2005 season. Broncos won AFC West division and as a reward they get a home-field advantage in a Wild Card playoff game. That pretty much will be the only advantage the Broncos will have against a Pittsburgh team. Even dough Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger isn’t 100% health wise, he and the rest of the offense should have plenty of success against Denver’s pass defense. In the last few weeks in regular season it was evident that teams have cracked the code of Tebow Magic. Tebow will be running for his life on Sunday when he’ll face one of the best defenses in the NFL.

Moneyline: Steelers 20-9
Against The Spread: Steelers (-8.5)
Over/Under: Under 34.5

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