- Michael Fabiano NFL.com
Not now, maybe later
The fact that defenses are rewarded for points allowed (on the low end) in the NFL Playoff Challenge, not to mention a five-point bonus for a team win, made me go with the Steelers over the Packers and Patriots. Those two defenses are on byes so I can't get the win bonus, plus I think the Steelers are the safest choice when it comes to the wild-card matchups. The stat about the Packers and Patriots forcing tons of turnovers makes them interesting in future rounds, but those two units also allow a ton of points. I'll stick with the Steelers, as long as they're alive.
- Dave Dameshek NFL.com
Back the Pack
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I advise using the players and defense of the teams you believe are headed to the Super Bowl. With that in mind, I think the Packers D is a good play. The Niners and Steelers might put up superior numbers in their games, but they might only respectively play 60 minutes this postseason. The Pack, on the other hand, are my pick to get to Indy, so you'll get three games' worth of picks, sacks and Randall Cobb kick returns.
- Adam Rank NFL.com
Take the Steelers and the points
I do like the Packers defense because they always seem to get that big play when they need it the most. And you have to like the double points in the second round. But, I will take the first-round points for the Steelers defense, which should feast on some Tim Tebow turnovers. I don't know if you caught it this week, but Tebow said that he was going to take John Elway's advice to 'http://www.nfl.com/goto?id=pull the trigger.' What Tebow didn't get was Elway was kidding. So I take the Steelers.
- Jason Smith NFL.com
This was actually my toughest call. Even though I think New England is going to the Super Bowl, its defense has been abysmal. I think the Packers are more likely for a pick six in theory, but they'll be playing terrific teams to get there. New England is facing far inferior opposition. I'd much rather take a chance on the potential QBs that the Patriots could face, which will come from a pool of T.J. Yates, Tim Tebow, Andy Dalton, Joe Flacco and Ben Roethlisberger (whom New England owns). I think I'm going to get a surprising lift from them this postseason.
- Matt "Money" Smith NFL.com
Play the matchups
This is the toughest selection when it comes to the playoff picks. Think about quadruple points from a defense if you pick one that goes all the way to the Super Bowl versus simply playing the matchups. This one comes down to real football versus fantasy. If you believe a team is destined to play in the Super Bowl, be it the Packers, 49ers, Ravens or even the lowly Bengals, then you must take that defense. There is no clear-cut favorite. Because of that I'm going with the matchup. I'll take the Steelers in the wild-card round and likely shift to the Packers the following week because there will be no defense left that overwhelmingly stands out, thereby leaning on the favorite to make the Super Bowl and at least get triple points for the effort.
- NFL Staff NFL.com
Tebow makes Steelers hard to pass up
We did think twice upon learning how many turnovers the Packers and Patriots have forced this year. But the fact remains that you're penalized in the Playoff Challenge if your defense gives up a lot of points. And those two defenses give up a lot of points. What's even worse is that you won't get the win bonus for the first week since both Green Bay and New England have byes. Meanwhile, the Steelers have been consistent all season and have a tantalizing matchup with a struggling Tim Tebow -- who even at his best wasn't lighting up the scoreboard. That makes it hard to push the Steel Curtain aside this week.