*We are breaking down each wildcard game by conference
Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints
From the outside this may seem like one of the most lopsided games, however if you take a closer look that may not be the case. Sure New Orleans beat Detroit head to head, but the Lions were missing their best player on defense. Also you can’t say Detroit has no chance, because last year everyone thought Seattle had no chance. Until Marshawn Lynch was running like O.J. Simpson in the Rose Bowl (kill and run style). So this game could go either way.
The Detroit Lions have the advantage on defense. At time New Orleans can be very opportunistic, but the Lions are far more reliable. The Lions front should be able to pressure New Orleans like a college girl during last call. Now that can be neutralized somewhat by Brees’ ability to get rid of the ball quickly, and check downs to Jimmy Graham.
Offensively these offenses these teams are exactly the same. Now Drew Brees is a better quarterback, but Matt Stafford is nothing to sneeze at (why are we sneezing at Matt Stafford?). In addition if you look at the pieces around each quarterback. You would have to give Detroit the nod (Lets not argue about this point. Please just concede it so we can move on to something that matters).
I usually side with the team that has either an advantage in one of the 3 facets of the game, or the team with the best players. Since things are so close here. I think it comes down to coaching. Sean Payton will run laps around Jim Schwartz (Usain Bolt syle). The Saints schemes will be almost unstoppable. I expect the Saints to win by at least 10 points.
New Orleans wins, 28 – 16
Atlanta Falcons vs. New York Giants
Now in the interest of full discloser there is nothing that I would love more than to see the Giants wet the bed at home. Why, because I live in New York City, and there is no better feeling than see a delusional fan base suffer.
The Giants have two advantages in the game, defensive line and big plays. The Giants d-line will show up. That’s just what they do. So expect Matt Ryan to get hit early and often. However, the Falcons can easy combat this with Michael Turner and Tony Gonzalez. These are two offensive outlets that could not only neutralize the defensive line, but render it irrelevant. Now you may think, “Oh the Giants will be able to play coverage.” However, if you take a look at their defensive numbers you will see they are putrid. Also their offense doesn’t help the defense because they can’t run the ball. So the Giants have an uphill battle.
The Falcons have an advantage at every offensive skill position outside of the quarterback position. Defensively they are challenged, but they have enough to get the job done on the road. Their problem is they’re the Atlanta Falcons.
I would love to pick the Falcons because they are the better team (and I love the look of a sad New York fan), but did I mention that their Falcons.
New York wins, 24 – 17
Kortney Shane Williams
Editor of Comedic Prose