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Repicking the Playoffs

Nov. 05, 2012
Nov. 05, 2012

Table of Contents
Nov. 5, 2012

THE MAIL
LEADING OFF
NFL MIDSEASON REPORT
WORLD SERIES
COLLEGE FOOTBALL
MMA
RORY MCILROY
  • NOW THAT HE HAS ASCENDED TO THE TOP OF THE GOLF WORLD—IN THE RANKINGS AND OUTSIDE THE ROPES—GLOBE-TROTTING RORY MCILROY IS QUICKLY LEARNING WHAT LIFE'S LIKE AS THE GAME'S MOST MARKETABLE PLAYER

Departments

Repicking the Playoffs

SI's new field, drawing from eight weeks of games

AFC

This is an article from the Nov. 5, 2012 issue

1 TEXANS The most balanced team in the conference got its first taste of the playoffs last season, which makes Houston a much tougher outfit.

2 BRONCOS Six of their first eight games will have been against 2011 playoff teams. In their final eight that can be said of only one foe.

3 PATRIOTS A nice blend of youth and experience. Bill Belichick will have them playing their best late in the year.

4 STEELERS As Mike Tomlin says, the standard is the standard. Despite injuries and some QB-coordinator friction, Pittsburgh thrives.

5 COLTS Winners of three of their last four games, Indy faces clubs with losing records in six of its next nine.

6 RAVENS A tough schedule and tough injuries to overcome, but they ride their good start to the final berth in a weak conference.

WILD-CARD ROUND Patriots over Ravens; Steelers over Colts

DIVISIONAL ROUND Texans over Steelers; Broncos over Patriots

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME Texans over Broncos

SUPER BOWL

Whom do you trust late with the game on the line? Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning or Matt Schaub, who has never started in the postseason? Giants 24, Texans 20

NFC

1 FALCONS The only unbeatens are on a mission to get the first playoff win (and more) of the five-year Mike Smith--Thomas Dimitroff era.

2 49ERS Only one stinker (a 26--3 Week 6 loss to the Giants) in Jim Harbaugh's two seasons as coach. The D and running game are elite.

3 GIANTS Eli Manning has won eight of his last nine postseason starts. Be wary, NFC. Be very wary.

4 BEARS The offense is erratic; the defense is rock solid. Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings are arguably the league's best CB tandem.

5 PACKERS With Aaron Rodgers they can contend, but injuries and the lack of a ground game will make a playoff run difficult.

6 SEAHAWKS Five of their final eight are at home, where they have upset the Cowboys, Packers and Patriots.

WILD-CARD ROUND Giants over Seahawks; Bears over Packers

DIVISIONAL ROUND Falcons over Bears; Giants over 49ers

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME Giants over Falcons