Eli Manning #10 and David Diehl #66 of the New York Giants celebrate after a passing touchdown in the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium on Jan. 1, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Copyright Getty Images
Which teams were the big winners in 2011? Obviously the 12 teams that made the playoffs, and the Colts for only winning 2 games and clinching the Andrew Luck sweepstakes as the number one pick. Still wondering though what the Colts will do since they just fired the GM and his assistant. Detroit in the playoffs for the first time in a long time, San Francisco completing turning the season around with the coaching change to Harbaugh.
And here is a headline I am sure Dallas Cowboys wanted to see: "Jerry Jones will keep himself GM." Ooch.
Since our season picks deal is done, I thought we would go the extra mile and make selections for the playoffs. Not that tough of a chore...
Since the playoffs unofficially started last week with the play-in game with the Cowboys and Giants, and since I picked the Giants, let us count it, what do you say? Not buying, are you? I didn't think so.
Still one has to wonder what is the future in Big D. As long as Jerry is fine with the work of the General Manager (himself) I don't see too many things changing. Let's see now... eight different head coaches in the last 16 years, one playoff victory. Common denominator - Jerry Jones.
I do not think the problem is Romo, although he is overrated to a certain degree, but Dallas should be able to win with him. Part of the problem is the WR's Please. When you need a GPS to guide these guys to run the right routes, and finish routes when Romo scrambles, there is a problem.
Defenses have finally solved the Romo safety net in T.E. Witten. They can cover him now, knowing the other pass catchers are sub-par.
Dez Bryant... Big time disappointment, I don't care how much talent he has. He evaporates when you need him most. Miles Austin is your experienced go to guy. He is average at best, being paid a top WR salary. And the defense completely collapsed in the final seven games.
Cowboys had a great chance to take advantage of the Giants mid-season tough schedule which turned a 6-2 record into 6-6, and yet Dallas still could not overcome... losing to Philly and New York twice.
Atlanta at New York - Giants winning the last two weeks got them the NFC East and a home game against Atlanta. ATL's a tough team to figure. Ryan's a good QB, and they have talent, but they can't win on the road. Frozen temps may give the Falcons fits. New York defense is about as healthy as it is going to be, and it comes at the right time of the year.
Giants by three... 31-28.
Pittsburgh at Denver - Has the Tebow Train derailed? Maybe. He was great for five or six games, but now coming back down to earth... Just three points last week at home against KC. Pickers are already claiming Chiefs to win division next year. How is that for looking ahead... Does Denver rely on Tebow for next season?
As for the game... Steelers about as banged up as a team can get, and still a seven-point favorite to win on the road. Running game still mending and Big Ben hobbled. If Pittsburgh can pull this one off, Tomlin will have earned his paycheck.
Detroit at New Orleans - Another home game for the Saints. I now it really isn't true, but is it just me, or have the Saints played the entire 201 season in the Superdome? They never seem to leave. Detroit comes calling, after getting hammered by the same team just a few weeks ago. That was without the suspended Suh. Tough task for the inexperienced playoff Lions...
Close for 3 quarters but Saints pull away in 4th... 44-27.
Cincinnati at Houston - Is losing 3 games to end the season anyway to go into the playoffs? That is what the Texans need to overcome, and watch out for Cincy. I am telling you, they are not that bad, and deserve a playoff shot. Dalton a big shot in the arm, and if Houston doesn't watch out, they can get ousted in a hurry. I convinced myself to pick the upset.
Cincy 27, Houston 24.
Green Bay and San Fran with the NFC byes..New England and Baltimore with the AFC byes.
Early bird picks:
The best part of the NFL football season is with us... Enjoy.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Blake Bell threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Saunders with 19 seconds remaining to help No. 18 Oklahoma spoil rival Oklahoma State's Big 12 championship and BCS bowl game hopes with a 33-24 win.
Big Al and Cayden are with the fans and players in Stillwater as the Sooners and Cowboys gear up for Bedlam.
The United States will play Ghana, Portugal and Germany in a tough first-round group at next year's World Cup.