By Wesley Kaminsky
The 2012 NFL playoffs are among us, and during Wild-Card Weekend, things started off with a bang. In case you missed it, here’s a quick recap of each game.
Game 1: Houston Texans 31, Cincinnati Bengals 10. If you had told me in the beginning of the season that rookie T.J. Yates would be hosting a playoff game against fellow rookie, Andy Dalton, I would have called you crazy. However, led by their strong defenses, both teams were able to find a way into the playoffs, with the Texans winning their first playoff game in franchise history. Arian Foster led the way for the Texans, rushing for 153 yards on 24 carries.
Game 2: Saints 45, Lions 28. After a first half in which the Lions led 14-10 over the Saints, it was only a matter of time before Drew Brees and company got in a groove, and that is exactly what they did. The Saints scored a touchdown on every possession in the second half, as Drew Brees threw for 466 yards. Once the Superdome gets rocking, it sure seems impossible to beat these Saints. The Lions have nothing to hang their heads about though in that the future is bright. Now, if only they could get a secondary next season.
Game 3: Giants 24, Falcons 2. In a game that many expected to be decided in the fourth quarter, nothing of that matter happened, as the Giants dominated the Falcons from start to finish. With the loss, both Matt Ryan and Mike Smith fall to 0-3 in the postseason, as the Falcons once again morphed into a different team (for the worse) just in time for the playoffs. After winning their last two games to sneak into the playoffs, the Giants didn’t miss a beat on Sunday and are a legitimate threat to beat the Packers on Sunday.
And then of course, there was Tim Tebow.
Game 4: Broncos 29, Steelers 23. Having lost their last three games and backing into the playoffs, all eyes were on Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos. Playing against the number one ranked passing defense in the NFL, Tebow threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for a touchdown as well. The game winner occurred during the first play of extra time, via an 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas. If you still have any doubts about Tebow’s success in the NFL, then I advise you to put those to rest. The guy knows how to win games and improved to 4-0 in overtime on the season.
How do the remaining eight teams left rank? Well, since you asked, here you go.
1. Green Bay Packers: The defending champions get a big test on Sunday, playing a Giants team showing glimpses of that ’07 Super Bowl team.
2. New Orleans Saints: Can any team in the NFL shut down the lethal Saints offense? The 49ers get their crack at it on Saturday.
3. New England Patriots: Tom Brady looks for his first playoff win in four years when the Broncos come to town Saturday night.
4. San Francisco 49ers: It’s time for the 49ers to prove that they belong with the NFL’s elite. Their defense better be ready to play.
5. Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens are well rested and get a Texans team who is playing with confidence.
6. New York Giants: The Giants were oh so close to taking down the Packers in Week 13 and now get a chance to exact revenge at Lambeau Field.
7. Houston Texans: T.J. Yates managed his first playoff game beautifully and now gets the pleasure of facing Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed and co.
8. Denver Broncos: Tim Tebow should find success against the Patriots secondary, but can the defense shut down Tom Brady?
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.