If I could compare Tim Tebow to someone, it would be Hulk Hogan. Why Hulk Hogan? Well, if you were a kid in the mid-80s, you probably remember Hogan’s creed. You train, say your prayers, and eat your vitamins. Hogan’s vitamins were a little more potent than yours and mine, but is there a better comparison? The Hulkster was the Real American. He’d be losing every match against bigger and badder foes. But the crowd would start to roar. He’d wag his finger at his opponent and the fans knew it meant he was ready to hit the big boot and drop the leg. Tim Tebow hit the big boot on the Pittsburgh Steelers and then dropped the leg in overtime for the 1-2-3 and the Denver Tebows, I mean Denver Broncos won their first playoff game with Tebow at the helm.
I’m not sure Hogan would like the comparison if you remember the promo he cut on young Timothy earlier this season.
I was horrendous at picking the first round of the playoffs, but I generally am. I usually overrate certain things, such as Atlanta’s consistency and Pittsburgh veteran leadership, and that’s how you go 1-3 in the first round.
1. I completely underrated Houston’s ability to use their running game to control their first round victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. I admit that I was searching for that one big upset in the first round and I just chose the wrong team. Cincinnati got by all season long by winning games against the average or bad teams and losing to the good ones. The Texans are better then average, even with rookie TJ Yates at quarterback. Yates didn’t commit a turnover while the more highly touted Andy Dalton threw three interceptions. Arian Foster ran for over 150-yards for the Texans who face the Baltimore Ravens in round two. Over to the right, that’s Foster honoring Hakeem Olajuwon with the Dream Shake, or at least, what he thinks is the Dream Shake.
2. The New Orleans Saints ran away from the Detroit Lions in the only game I predicted correctly. The Lions had the early lead, but couldn’t keep the Saints’ offense off the field. The defense tired in the second half and Drew Brees went for blood. The Saints scored 35 points in the second half and Brees threw for 466 yards in the game and turned it into a 45-28 rout. Poor Jim Scwartz. The butt-kicking couldn’t have happened to a better person.
3. The New York Giants liquidated Matty Ice. The Giants blew open a close game in the third quarter, scoring 17 points in the second half, only allowing the Atlanta Falcons to score two points in the entire game with a safety in the first quarter. Eli Manning is an even better quarterback than when he led the Giants to a Super Bowl victory in 2007 and the Giants look to be back on track. The Falcons looked overmatched at every level. Can the Giants upset the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field?
4. What more can you say about Tim Tebow? I’m actually quite tired of people giving all the credit to their running game and defense. Of course they deserve credit. As should be the case with most teams. But a quarterback is the offensive leader. It might not be all what he does with his passes, but maybe what he says in the huddle, his confidence when he gets out there that becomes the team identity. He deserves a ton of credit for helping right the ship and getting the Denver Broncos into the playoffs and past last year’s AFC champion.
5. Oh yeah, the game. It was a Tebow masterpiece. The Broncos scored twenty points in the second quarter to take a big lead and had to hold on as Big Ben and company chipped away at it and tied the game with just under four minutes left. Pittsburgh opted for the hail mary try rather than the 67-yard field goal at the end of regulation. And you knew Denver would win the coin toss in overtime right? Of course you did. Tebow hit Demaryius Thomas for an 80-yard touchdown pass on the first play of overtime to win the game.
6. The divisional playoff round goes like this: the New Orleans Saints head to San Francisco on Saturday to take on the 49ers, the Broncos head to New England for the Saturday night game, the Texans are in Baltimore for the Sunday morning game, the Giants go to Green Bay in the last playoff game of the weekend.
7. NFC Divisional match-up: Even though the Saints are going to San Francisco, most peg the Saints as the favorite. It makes a lot of sense if you watch how explosive they are offensively. When the Saints played on turf this year, they were 10-1. But when they played on grass, they were just 3-2. And while you don’t slow them down very much on grass, you still slow them down. Including playoffs, there were six games in which Green Bay went over 500 total yards on offense. They only did it once while playing on grass. On the 49ers side, they turn games ugly. While their schedule wasn’t heavy on explosive teams, the most points they gave up all season long was 27 and they did that twice. I reckon to their Monday Night Football game last year where the 49ers out-gained the Saints 417-287 and played with them for the entire game until Drew Brees led the Saints to a late field goal for the win. I think the 49ers slow it down enough to upend the Saints and beat them in San Francisco. 49ers 27, Saints 21.
8. AFC Divisional match-up: We already saw what happened when the Denver Tebows played New England this season. Tom Brady seemed a little bit more fired up than usual. He seemed to make it his personal desire to kill the Denver momentum. Part of the reason why the Broncos will have trouble with New England is simply because they won’t be able to keep up. The Pats, much like the Saints and Green Bay as well, simply put too much pressure on other teams’ offenses to score. If Tebow has to keep up with Brady score for score, he’s losing that battle every time. If the Broncos have to pass the ball more than they want, that’s when Tebow’s passes start floating into the arms of the other team’s defensive backs. Am I really going to pick against Tebow again? Yep. Patriots 33, Broncos 17.
9. AFC Divisional match-up: I think this game sits entirely on the shoulders of Joe Flacco. If he can complete the passes he’s supposed to complete, Baltimore should win a tough game. But if is all over the place and inconsistent, the Texans have a chance to sneak up on them because of their ability to run the ball and make it a long game. I’m going to side with Flacco playing well enough to pull out a game the Ravens should win. This game features two of the best running backs in the game and two of the top five defenses in football. Can the Texans be the first team to beat the Ravens at home this year? I say no. Ravens 27, Texans 21.
10. NFC Divisional match-up: This one’s a doozy. With the week off, Green Bay should be at near full strength. They have weapons of mass destruction and are one of the most explosive teams in recent memory, in an era of explosive offenses. But there’s something about this Giants team. While their running game is more middling than explosive, they showed against the Saints how good it can be if Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw play up to their capability. And Eli Manning looks better than he’s ever looked. The Giants are the ultimate jeckyll and hyde team. When they’re going good, they’re a top team. And when they’re going badly, they’re awful as in losing to the Redskins awful. I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m going with the upset. While Aaron Rodgers isn’t going to lose this game by turning the football over, I think the Giants will hang around and take over late in the 4th quarter. Giants 31, Packers 30.