(6) Detroit Lions vs. (3) New Orleans Saints
I for one cannot wait for this game, as it has the making to be one of the most explosive playoff games we’ve seen in a long time. To me this game boils down to who can make the most defensive plays.
Each team can score almost at will. New Orleans has a more potent offensive attack with the single season passing yards holder Drew Brees under center. Brees will have to continue his stellar play. The Detroit Lions combo of quarterback Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson will have to connect often in order for Detroit to win.
When these two teams met in December the Saints capitalized on a lot of Detroit mistakes and mental lapses. The Lions say they have learned from that game, but I’m not sure that is true. In the end I feel that the veteran Saints defense led by Jonathan Vilma will make more plays than the Lions young defense and squeak out a 34-31 victory.
(5) Atlanta Falcons vs. (4) New York Giants
In probably the toughest game to forecast, the Atlanta Falcons travel to the Meadowlands to take on the New York Giants. I know much of the emphasis in the post season is placed on the defense but I feel this game will come down to the quarterbacks.
Eli Manning has been down this road before and has a Super Bowl ring to show for it. Eli has also had the best statistical year of his career thanks in large part to breakout rookie receiver Victor Cruz. Eli has also become one of the most clutch quarterbacks in the game. On the other side Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is 0-3 in playoff games. There is a ton of pressure on Matt Ryan to win this game so I’m sure he is going to come out focused and ready to attack. Ryan will have to utilize Roddy White and Julio Jones early to loosen up the Giants defense so that they can get Michael Turner going.
At the end of the day I’m going with Eli Manning and the Giants. I like his experience and calmness down the stretch of games. I have the Giants winning 24-20.