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NFL Picks: Matt Flynn, the BCS title game and the NFL playoffs

Published 9:02pm Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Before I got start looking at the playoffs, how about Matt Flynn?

Green Bay’s backup quarterback put Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers and Bart Starr in his shadow when he put up Packer single game records of 480 yards and six touchdowns in a win over the Lions, who actually had to win that game to avoid playing at New Orleans in the first round.

I couldn’t have put up those numbers with Flynn, or even Rodgers, in a video game.

Flynn is probably going to get a starting job somewhere after that performance. I just hope it was enough to motivate Rodgers to play even better in the postseason than he did in the regular season — when he set an NFL record for passer rating.

I must also acknowledge that the BCS did get things right this year. I earlier blogged that the LSU-Alabama game was the national championship game because the loser would get left out of the mix.

Thank goodness the system put the two best teams on the field back together for a rematch.

It’ll sure be better than it would’ve been watching the Tigers blowing out some wannabe contender.

But just because the BCS got it right this year, doesn’t mean I’m buying into it. This was a rare season where you had two clear top teams (in my mind anyway).

Usually there’s at least three or four teams that have that ‘top team’ look.

Here are the picks:

Cincinnati at Houston

I really liked the Texans this season. Then Matt Schaub got hurt, and then they lost their last three games to non-playoff teams.

Still, they have a solid defense and can run the ball. That should be enough to get past a Bengals team that relies heavily on rookies Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. Those two may be a little star-struck as they get their first taste of the NFL playoffs.

TEXANS 23, BENGALS 20

Detroit at New Orleans

The Lions offense did all it could to beat the Packers in Lambeau last week. The trouble is that the defense made Matt Flynn look the best quarterback in Packer history.

I believe Drew Brees might be a little better quarterback than Flynn.

SAINTS 44, LIONS 34

Atlanta at New York Giants

I couldn’t help but shake my head when I heard NBC’s announcers praise how good the Giants looked when they knocked out the Cowboys on Sunday night. They even started comparing them to the 2007 Giants team that won the Super Bowl.

Maybe the Giants do get hot and make a run, but a win over the lifeless Cowboys isn’t going to get me that excited.

The Falcons have put up over 30 points in three of their last four games, and they may very well do it again. But I can’t pick a dome team playing outdoors in January, I just can’t do it.

GIANTS 35, FALCONS 31

Pittsburgh at Denver

This game looks a lot like the Saints at Seahawks in last year’s playoffs. You have a team that was just in the Super Bowl with a superior record (12-4) having to play a division winner with a mediocre record (8-8) on the road.

Denver also happens to have a little extra homefield advantage as the high altitude is keeping Steelers safety Ryan Clark out of the game with a blood condition and Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhal is also out with a torn ACL.

Throw in Ben Roethlisberger’s ankle injury, and this looks like a possible upset in the making.

However, Denver will have to move the ball against a Steeler defense that has held its last six opponents to less than 10 points.

I don’t think an offense led by the passing challenged Tim Tebow can do that. Unless, we see another miracle performance out of No. 15.

STEELERS 14, BRONCOS 10

Last week: 13-3; overall: 161-93

 


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