The Wild Card Weekend is now complete, and as it turns out all four Wild Cards have been knocked out as homefield advantage proved to be too much to overcome. This sets up an interesting set of matchups next week: can the Giants avenge their loss to the Packers? Are the 49ers legit? Can Houston carry T.J. Yates through the playoffs? Finally, can the Patriots stop Tim Tebow? But first let's go through this week's games!
Houston Texans 31 defeated Cincinnati Bengals 10 Seeking their first ever playoff victory, the Texans fell behind early in the first quarter when Cedric Benson scored the first touchdown of the 2012 postseason. In response the Texans turned to their run game and Arian Foster was rewarded with his first of two touchdowns on the day. The Bengals briefly led in the second quarter following a Mike Nugent field goal, but the Texans ran away with it as they piled on 24 straight points. The Texans must now travel to Baltimore where the rested Ravens will be ready.
New Orleans Saints 45 defeated Detroit Lions 28 Playing their first home playoff game since they won the Superbowl in 2010, the Saints prepared for a shootout with the Lions who were playing in their first playoff game in over 10 years. The Lions looked up for the fight in the first half and took a lead into the main break as WR Calvin Johnson caught anything and everything sent roughly in his direction in the first half. However New Orleans came out aggressively in the second half and scored five touchdowns to the Lions' two. QB Drew Brees threw for 466 yards with 3 touchdowns. Detroit battled hard, Johnson finished with 211 receving yards and two touchdowns, but the Saints simply had to many weapons as they set up a showdown with the No. 2 seed 49ers next week.
New York Giants 24 defeated Atlanta Falcons 2 After sneaking into the playoffs last week with a win over the Dallas Cowboys the New York Giants set about prolonging their stay in this season's playoffs with a home win over Atlanta. After a scoreless first quarter, the Falcons were the first to put points on the board when their defense recorded a safety, sacking Giants' QB Eli Manning. That was as good as it got for the Falcons as Manning threw three touchdowns following that safety on the way to 24 unanswered Giants' points. The Giants also got great performances out of RBs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw who combined for over 150 ground yards. This sets up an interesting rematch with the Green Bay Packers who beat the Giants on a last-second field goal earlier in the season.
Denver Broncos 29 defeated Pittsburgh Steelers 23 Tim Tebow. What more can you say? The Steelers were expected to easily overcome the Broncos through their playoff experience in spite of QB Ben Roethlisberger's dodgy ankle. Pittsburgh dominated the first quarter, but only had 6 points to show for it. Then, Tebow and the Broncos blitzed the second quarter with 20 straight points as Tebow completed big pass after big pass and rushed in a touchdown from the red zone for good measure. The Steelers fought back to tie the game at the end of regulation which forced the first overtime game of the playoffs. Denver received the ball from the kickoff and on the first play of overtime, Tebow connected with Demaryius Thomas for an 80 yard touchdown. Denver now travels to Foxborough to face the AFC's top-seeded Patriots.