NFL playoffs: New kids on the block
BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor
Everyone knows a lot of headlines surround the infamous NFL playoffs.
It’s up to us fans to sort through them to come up with which one is the most intriguing. Now, it would be easy to go with Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos or the matchup between the Houston Texans and the Cincinnati Bengals, which features to rookie quarterback going head-to-head. Those are simple, good topics, heading into wildcard weekend. And I like simple. I like easy. So I’ll be breaking down what I believe to be the most intriguing headline for the wild card round: The new faces in the playoffs. It’s the Houston Texans and the Detroit Lions, which oddly enough both play on Saturday. Looks like I had better get started:
• Opponent: They’re at New Orleans to clash with the Saints at 8 p.m. EST
• Chances: Although the Detroit Lions have made the postseason before (15 times), the squad hasn’t played when it matters most since 1999. One could argue that the lack of experience will hurt Detroit when the Lions suit up for the Saints. But this Detroit team is different from those in the past. There is just a whole new swagger to the squad. I’m not going ot get fancy with the statistics here, but the Lions are what NFL teams are currently aspring to be. With young, athletic talent like Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, DeAndre Levy and Titus Young there’s no telling what this team could do in the future. And Detroit may just start making its name for the years to come this weekend. A lot of people expect the Lions’ matchup with the Saints to be an offensive battle and it should be nothing short of that. I don’t see Detroit coming out on top, though, because New Orleans is my Super Bowl pick, but it should be the most exciting game Saturday. The Lions could sneak by, however, because of the Saints aging secondary players and because the Seattle Seahawks took down New Orleans last year in the first round.
• Opponent: Believe it or not, Houston will host its first playoff game since the Oilers were in town at 4:30 p.m. EST on Saturday against the Cincinnatti Bengals.
• Chances: Houston hasn’t made the playoffs ever. Since the team entered the NFL in 2002, Houston has been close maybe twice. This season, they’re in. But are the relevant? One would have to believe so because of their opponent: the Cincinnati Bengals. It should be a battle between two rookie quarterback, facing stellar defense. So who will step up? Will it be Andy Dalton or T.J. Yates (I knew I could sneak this headline in)? Either way, opposing defenses will make trouble for both young passers, trying to move the ball down the field. That’s why I think this one ultimately comes down to who has the better running game and that’s undoubtedly the Texans. Arian Foster is more than just a one-year wonder and a scary threat in the passing game. If he even sniffs 100 yards on the ground or through the air, Houston wins.
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