NFL Playoff Preview. A Wild Weekend is in the Cards

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The Packers will face the Giants, Falcons or Lions on Jan. 15 in a divisional round playoff game at Lambeau Field. All three teams gave the Packers everything they could handle in regular season games, and lost.

Looking ahead to the divisional round, I expect one of these three teams to again give the Packers a helluva game…and lose.

All three teams present unique challenges for the Packers, but none have enough talent in the secondary to keep the Packers out of the end zone often enough to win.

But before we can focus in on who the Packers will face next week, the wild card round needs to be played. Here is a closer look at those matchups:

Saturday, January 7

AFC: 3:30 PM

Cincinnati at Houston (NBC)

Breakdown: Those of you that are sickened by the lack of defense in modern football should watch this game. Bengals QB Andy Dalton struggled in the second half of the season while the Texans were forced to turn things over to third-string QB T.J. Yates. Yates got the best of Dalton in an earlier matchup, but I think Dalton gets revenge this time around. The Bengals will win and snap the NFL’s longest stretch without a playoff victory (1990, wild-card round).

NFC: 7 PM

Detroit at New Orleans (NBC)

Breakdown: If the Lions couldn’t beat the Packers reserves, how are they going to beat the Saints in a road playoff game? They probably won’t, but when you can score like the Lions can, you’re never out of it. Detroit fell behind 17-0 in the second quarter when these two teams met earlier. The Lions have a knack for winning after falling behind, but you can’t screw around against a team like the Saints. If the Lions don’t come out swinging right away, they’ll get knocked down for good. The Saints win this one.

Sunday, January 8

NFC: Noon

Atlanta at Giants (FOX)

Breakdown: Here’s how the Giants fared after the bye week: Miami (W), at New England (W), at San Francisco (L), Philadelphia (L), at New Orleans (L), Green Bay (L), at Dallas (W), Washington (W), Jets (W), Cowboys (W). That’s a brutal stretch and the Giants survived to make the playoffs. The Falcons have won six of their final nine games, but only one win came against a team with a winning record.

The Giants have the pass rush, quarterback and WRs to make some noise in the playoffs. They’ll start by beating the Falcons in Round 1.

AFC: 3:30 PM

Pittsburgh at Denver (CBS)

Breakdown: The Broncos offense sputters as soon as Tim Tebow’s first read is taken away from him. If the Steelers for some reason aren’t able to take away Tebow’s first read, I’m sure their complex blitzes and other defensive schemes will eventually do the trick.

The Bronco’s only shot is to get Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller chasing around a gimply Ben Roethlisberger. But even then, we’ve seen a gimpy Ben Roethlisberger shrug off people trying to chase him down and lead his team to playoff wins anyway. Steelers by a couple TDs.

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam\\\'s writing on the Packers here.

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  • Zach Kruse

    Adam, I’d make the same 4 picks. That probably means that at least two of them are wrong, however.

  • Normthe1

    I think the Steelers are a bit more than susceptible with a one legged Ben making plays. I have no religious affiliation myself, but I foresee a bit of divine intervention getting the Tebows over the line…

  • Dan

    If all falls this way, and even the odds makers say it will, The Pack will be playing the NYG. This will be a tough game but the Pack should win at home.

    Saints at SF, any predictions? I’m thinking Saints, although their not quite the same team out of the dome.

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