Bengals at Texans: Neither team comes in exactly lighting it up, but the Texans remind me of season 4 Buffy the Vampire Slayer. For those few fools who weren’t fans (what’s wrong with you, btw?), the basic plot was that an evil government entity was trying to put together a race of half human/half demon warriors, a la Dr. Frankenstein. One of the creatures begins running amuck, as these sorts of creatures often do, and plots to lure Buffy into the demon containment facility that’s guarded by soldiers. His plan is to incite a riot while she’s there and for her to kill enough demons (her destined calling) to even the human/demon body count (thus providing plenty of construction materials) until she’s too weak to continue. That’s pretty much where the Texans are at this point. Also, in their last matchup in week 14, the Texans won (their last win, for what it’s worth). And it’s hard to beat a team twice in a row. Bengals. Which they should savor, since it will be their last playoff win this year.
Steelers at Broncos: Of course, by that logic, I should pick the Broncos, because the Steelers are one beaten down mess at this point. But I just can’t see the Broncos pulling this off. The Steelers are too smart – and too good on D. And Tim Tebow’s 15 minutes seems almost up. Steelers.
Falcons at Giants: I’m really tempted to take the Falcons here, and they do have a marginally better record. But even with the other problems the Giants have these days, and they are many, Eli Manning has a hot hand going into the playoffs, and Victor Cruz can turn a 5 yard dump off pass into a 90+ yard TD at any moment, and to me, that says that the Falcons, even though they have a well-ranked D, are in trouble. Also, they are not so good on the road. Giants.
Lions at Saints: Oh Lions. Lions Lions Lions. I hate to say “I told you so” but I told you to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to hang onto the 5th seed. Did you listen to me? Noooooo. Will you regret it? Yeeeeeessss. About the time you realize that not only can’t you hear each other in the huddle, but the Superdome is rocking so hard you can’t even use hand signals. The Saints don’t lose at home, baby. Saints.