The first weekend of the 2012 NFL Playoffs has come to a close and all four home teams won. We had three favorites win and the underdog Denver Broncos stun the Pittsburgh Steelers on the first play of overtime. After three games of pretty blah football, the Steelers-Broncos wrapped up the weekend with some highly entertaining football. We had the first use of the new playoff overtime rules, but they didn't matter as Tim Tebow and Demaryius Thomas connected on an 80-yard strike to win it.
The close of the weekend means it is now time to get down to business. The 49ers will host the New Orleans Saints next Saturday at 1:30pm PT at Candlestick Park in the first 49ers playoff game in nine years. The 49ers opened as three points underdogs and the line increased a half point since yesterday. I don't expect it to change much more, but the Saints are the team most folks will be picking as we approach the weekend.
The rest of the playoff picture features some intriguing matchups. The other NFC divisional game will see the New York Giants travel to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers in a rematch of their wild Week 13 contest at the Meadowlands. The Packers are already approaching double digit favorite status.
The AFC features a pair of matchups that I think could end up being stinkers. The Denver Broncos will travel to Foxboro to face the New England Patriots, while the Houston Texans go on the road to face the Baltimore Ravens. My initial gut has the two AFC favorites winning and I actually would be surprised if the games were all that close. The Baltimore-Houston game could be closer simply due to the pair of solid defenses.
After picking the Broncos this weekend, I'm already leaning towards taking the Patriots next week. The Patriots defense is virtually non-existent, but that offense can be pretty filthy. They lit up the Broncos last month in Denver and for now I'm leaning towards seeing the Patriots handle their business. There is a lot of analysis to be done, but that's my initial thought.
Site decorum will remain off for this post-game thread (meaning, yes you can swear).