POORE'S PICKS: Wildcard Round

Jim Poore is back with his Playoff picks against the spread. Take a look at Jim's picks and let him know what you think.

   Yes, the NFL playoffs are finally here. Even though the regular season was fantastic as always, there is nothing in sports like the NFL playoffs. Every team in the post season deserves to be there. Sort of. Denver ended up being a very mediocre 8-8 but due to winning their awful division they get an invitation to the playoffs. Even though their record isn't very good, winning the division is an accomplishment so I guess their place is deserved. The Tennesee Titans ended up with a better record but they did not win the division. It doesn't seem fair but those are the rules, and these rules are likely never going to get changed. The Patriots, Ravens, Packers and 49ers all have a bye this week due to their spectacular regular season. It is going to be a great playoffs, and I can't wait for them to begin.

   I ended up nearly .500 on the season, as my final record against the spread was 122-125-9. It doesn't look all that fantastic on paper, but with the way the NFL works I am pretty happy with my performance. My final record straight up was a sparkling 162-94. I will take that any day of the week. Of course I have no choice.

   Let's get to the very important playoff picks.
 
As always, home team in CAPS.
 
Houston  3 1/2  Cincinnati
A lot of people don't like the Texans, and several are picking the Bengals in an upset. I like Houston, and I am having trouble understanding why many think tat Cincinnati will pull the upset. All opinion of course, and mine is that the Texans will win. The Bengals only beat one team with a winning record this year, though they were close in others. They are starting a rookie quarterback, and many forget that Houston has a very good defense. The Texans will start T.J Yates under center, which I don't agree with, but with their powerful running game and home fans rabid for the Texans' first playoff game, I think Houston will win in a pretty low scoring game.
Texans  20-13
 

New Orleans  10 1/2  Detroit

What a matchup for Saturday night. The Saints are arguably the hottest team in the NFL right now, and the Lions can score with anyone. I think the Lions might have gone pretty far except for their unfortunate first round opponent. I don't see much defense being played here, so anything short of a shoot out would be very surprising to me. Both teams play in a dome which is why I think the point spread is very high. I like the Saints to win but I think the Lions have enough fire power to keep it fairly close.
Saints  43-36
 

Pittsburgh  8 1/2  DENVER

There is a reason why the Broncos are a pretty big underdog at home. They aren't that good. They do have a pretty good defense but their offense is stagnant, and Tim Tebow is really struggling lately. The Steelers will be without Rashard Mendenhall, but I don't think it is going to make much of a difference here. I think the only thing that might save Denver is Pittsburgh possibly looking ahead to a likely New England matchup next week. But this being the playoffs, I think that is highly unlikely.
Steelers  23-10
 

New York Giants  3 1/2  Atlanta

I still have a feeling that the Giants could do some damage in the playoffs. Eli Manning had a fantastic year, and their defense is coming together at the right time. The Falcons really haven't impressed me this year, but may be because most of the focus in the NFC was on some other teams. I think New York is better than their record, but they better come ready to play. I like the Giants here.
Giants  27-21
 
Final Record for 2011 Season: 122-125-9
Final Record Without Spread: 162-94
Game of Week Final Record: 10-6-1
Stinker of Week Final Record: 5-12

Jim Poore has been a long time contributor to Patriots Insider with his weekly picks column. Let him know what you think. Email him here:


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