Playoff Thoughts & Observations
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If you are gearing up to make a strong fantasy run during the playoffs, you should consider using lots of Steelers and Saints this weekend. Many fantasy contests limit the number of lineup changes you can make, and New Orleans and Pittsburgh look like the surest bets to advance. The Greatest American Hero, Tim Tebow, isn’t living up to his moniker and won’t against the Steelers. Detroit has the potential to give New Orleans fits, but in the end the Saints are awfully tough to beat in the Superdome. And the Lions are bound to have some jitters in their first playoff appearance since Bill Clinton was in the White House.
Plus Pittsburgh and New Orleans have the potential to make it all the way to the conference finals. If Houston beats Cincinnati, the Steelers will go to New England. If Ben Roethlisberger is operating at close to his normal capacity, they have the passing game to take out the Patriots. If the Bengals down the Texans, the Steelers will go to Baltimore for another rough battle with the Ravens. Baltimore beat Pittsburgh twice during the regular season, but those teams know each other so well. It’s not hard to see the Steelers scoring an upset.
As for the Saints, a win over the Lions would send them to San Francisco. The 49ers have proven all season they are capable of playing good defense and kicking field goals. That’s fine if you are playing the Seattle Seahawks. But San Francisco’s defense isn’t going to completely shut down the Saints, and settling for field goals against New Orleans would be disastrous. It’s been a nice comeback year for San Francisco, but a premature ending wouldn’t be a surprise.
And the showdown between the Falcons and Giants looks even closer. I give a very slight nod to Atlanta because the Falcons had an easy time of it in week 16, while the Giants were in a winner-take-all showdown. Yes, the Giants won relatively easily, but they were still going all out in the fourth quarter. Ironically, if New York gets past the Falcons, I would give them a better chance of pulling off an upset in later rounds than the Falcons.
In the end, if I had to pick two teams to make it all the way, I would go with Baltimore and Green Bay. But there are very few sure things in today’s NFL!