Yesterday’s playoff victory for the New York Giants was much more significant than the opportunity it gives New York next weekend to knock off the defending champs in Green Bay.
It finally quieted the Tom Coughlin detractors who always bring up that he has never won a playoff game as the Giants coach besides the Super Bowl season of 2007. The win over the Falcons also allowed Eli Manning to win a playoff game for the first time in front of his home fans. Even with a Super Bowl title and MVP on his resume Manning has never been fully accepted by the Giant faithful. I think a big part of that is due to the fact that he has crapped out in his previous two home playoff games with no TD’s and 5 INT’s combined against the Panthers in January 2006 and Eagles in January 2009.
Well today he put on a vintage performance with 277 yards passing and 3 TD’s. He also jumpstarted a dormant offense in the second quarter with his legs, gaining a first down on a 3rd and 2 midway through the second quarter with a 14 yard scramble. However this season ends, yesterday will end up being almost as important to cementing Coughlin and Manning’s Giant legacy as their shocking win in the desert nearly four years ago.
The story for Atlanta couldn’t be more different. A second consecutive year that ends with an embarrassing playoff loss means many questions for a young team that can’t seem to get over the hump. I think all of them should be directed to the head coach, Mike Smith. Mike, why didn’t you use your big time running back Michael Turner on either of the 4th and 1’s that you didn’t convert? Why did your defense inexplicably lose its edge after looking so good on the Giants first four offensive drives? And finally why the hell didn’t you try to at least set your team up for a field goal at the end of the first half when you had a 2nd and 7 from your own 33 with all three timeouts left and 31 seconds remaining? Smith should be playing for his job next season and deserves to be on the unemployment line if the Falcons disappoint once again.
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The Lions once again cost themselves a legitimate chance at a victory in the hardest place to win in the NFL because they couldn’t execute the fundamentals of football. This time, however, they added a new wrinkle. Not only did they drop interceptions like they did in their first meeting in New Orleans on Dec. 4 they also couldn’t tackle. Out of Pierre Thomas’ 121 total yards I think 700 of them came after initial contact.
With Andre Johnson showing he can be a factor in the playoffs for the Texans don’t count them out against anyone left in the AFC. Their running game/defense combination is second to none and with their big play threat a part of the offense again they have back the missing ingredient that every successful team needs in today’s NFL; the ability to score quickly.
Before you jump on the bandwagon of idiots heaping praise on Tim Tebow for his performance yesterday remember a couple of things. Even though he had over 300 yards passing and 2 TD’s against the Steelers he still didn’t even manage to complete half his passes. The passes he did complete were the product of a horrible defensive game plan by Dick LeBeau and shoddy safety play by Troy Polamalu. Tebow didn’t take a step forward in his “progress” yesterday; the Steelers defense took a step back.
My picks for the Divisional Round
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San Francisco 49ers +3.5 – Outdoors, a good 49ers running game and the Saint faithful more than 2,000 miles away. That is enough for me to predict that the team who no one is paying attention to in this year’s playoffs makes it to the NFC Championship game.
49ers 24 – Saints 20
Houston Texans +7.5 – The Ravens aren’t good enough to beat a solid Texans team by more than a touchdown even though they are playing at home where they went undefeated this year.
Ravens 20 – Texans 13
New York Giants +8.5 – The way the Giants are playing they shouldn’t be getting 8.5 points to anyone. They already showed they could hang with the Packers at home, this time they will do the same at Lambeau Field.
Packers 27 – Giants 24
New England Patriots -13.5 – The Broncos have absolutely no chance of keeping this game close.
Patriots 42 – Broncos 10
A Staff Writer for RotoExperts, Tamer Chamma is a two time top 50 Finalist in the WFAN Fantasy Phenom contest as well as a weekly guest on the SiriusXM "RotoExperts" morning show. Tamer is also a fill-in co-host for the show. You may contact Tamer @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @RotoExperts_TC