2011 NFL Playoff Bracket

January 2, 2012 by staff 

2011 NFL Playoff Bracket2011 NFL Playoff Bracket, With the last Sunday of the 2011 National Football League regular season winding down, the focus now shifts to the playoffs, as 12 teams begin the march towards Indianapolis and the opportunity to be crowned Super Bowl XLVI champions.

Though one participant (New York Giants) in the postseason tournament was late to the party, we know enough about who will be locking horns in next week’s wild-card round to offer up a set of predictions about how those games should break down.

No. 6 Detroit Lions at No. 3 New Orleans Saints
The Detroit Lions’ reward for falling to the JV Green Bay Packers, 45-41, Sunday is a trip to meet the New Orleans Saints next week, who performed another Superdome slicejob in Week 17, carving up the Carolina Panthers, 45-17.

These two teams met in New Orleans in Week 13, with the Saints prevailing 31-17 despite 408 passing yards from Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, and given how Saints signal-caller, Drew Brees, is carving up defenses right now, it’s hard to see the outcome being any different here.

Prediction: New Orleans 38, Detroit 20

No. 6 Cincinnati Bengals at No. 3 Houston Texans
This game features two teams headed in the wrong direction as the playoffs begin, with the Houston Texans riding a three-game losing streak while the Cincinnati Bengals needed an Oakland Raiders loss to back into the postseason.

The Texans prevailed 20-19 when these two teams met in Week 14 in what was Houston quarterback T.J. Yates’ coming out party, but with Yates backsliding, the Bengals will be able to do just enough to prevail in the first “upset” of the postseason.

Prediction: Cincinnati 20, Houston 13

No. 5 Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 4 Denver Broncos
Although the Denver Broncos advanced to the postseason for the first time since 2005, the bloom may have come off the rose for second year quarterback Tim Tebow, who was a pathetic 6-of-22 for 70 yards with an interception in a Week 17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The rose is going to be torn to shreds and set on fire next week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, as the last time Tebow and the Broncos played a defense anywhere near as good as Pittsburgh’s, they were annihilated by the Detroit Lions.

Prediction: Pittsburgh 31, Denver 6

No. 5 Atlanta Falcons at No. 4 New York Giants
The Atlanta Falcons capitalized on the Detroit Lions loss by defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to slide into the fifth seed in the NFC, where they appear to be headed towards a matchup with the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium.

Given how good the erratic Giants have looked so far in Sunday night’s winner-take-all game with the Dallas Cowboys, they’ll probably look somewhere between average and lousy next week, opening the door for a balanced Atlanta squad to eke out a close victory and advance.

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