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By Mike Ivcic, UltimateCapper Contributing Writer
Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans
Sun, 4:30pm, NBC
Line: Texans by 4
T.J. Yates! Andy Dalton! Itâs the NFL on NBC! Iâm sure the peacock network will love the ratings for this game, where I see the only legitimate upset of the first round. I still canât believe the Bengals managed to make the playoffs without winning a single game against Baltimore or Pittsburgh, but theyâll get a crack at Tom Brady and the Pats next week in Foxboro.
Pick: Cincinnati 21, Houston 17
Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints
Sun, 8:00pm, NBC
Line: Saints by 11
Get ready for an offensive explosion in primetime, as two QBâs that have thrown for 5,000 yards this season meet up for the second time this year. The Saints jumped out early and then hung on in the first game, and now get a team playing their first playoff game in more than a decade. But 11 points is just too high for my liking in a game where both teams can score in two minute spurts. I have New Orleans as my Super Bowl winner, but they get a game in the opening round.
Pick: New Orleans 38, Detroit 34
Atlanta Falcons @ New York Giants
Sun, 1:00pm, FOX
Line: Giants by 3
Matt Ryan doesnât play well on the road. The Giants are peaking at the right time once again, and Eli Manning continues to fly under the radar as one of the best big-game QBâs in the entire NFL. Atlanta has weapons on offense, but I just donât think their defense will be able to do enough to stop Victor Cruz and the Giants passing attack.
Pick: New York 27, Atlanta 21
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos
Sun, 4:30pm, CBS
Line: Steelers by 9
Iâm going against my regular season stance here, because I think the Steelers actually have a defense with Troy Polamalu, Lamarr Woodley, and James Harrison that can contain Tim Tebow, who has struggled mightily in the last three games. With Roethlisberger limited and Mendenhall injured, the Steelers offense wonât be much to brag about either, but theyâll be good enough to pull out a close win in the Mile High City.
Pick: Pittsburgh 17, Denver 10
Straight Up: 170-86
Against Spread: 126-117-13
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