When your team sucks and you know you’ll have three solid months of focusing on the NFL Draft, well, you want to at least temporarily delay that study and focus on the teams that are actually vying to play in New Orleans come February for the Super Bowl. So let’s take a look at the NFL Wild Card Weekend matchups and offer our initial picks and predictions.
Saturday, January 5th:
Bengals at Texans:
The Texans enter their postseason rematch of a year ago with the Bengals looking very vulnerable. With a chance to lock up the top-seed in the AFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs against the Colts on Sunday afternoon, Houston was beaten in all phases of the game by an inspired Colts team. Something is a bit off with the Houston offense and that something is quarterback Matt Schaub.
The Texans signal caller completed over 66 percent of his passes on Sunday, but failed to throw a touchdown while tossing two interceptions while the defense continued to look ordinary. Still, this is a talented bunch that for much of the year was considered to be the best team in football. It’s hard to imagine a solid, but unimpressive Cincinnati team heading into Reliant Stadium and handing Houston a first round playoff exit. We’ll take the Texans, 27-17.
Vikings at Packers:
As expected, Adrian Peterson was a machine on Sunday, leading the way for a Vikings 37-34 win that sets up a Week 17 rematch with the Packers in Green Bay on Saturday night. Christian Ponder made the plays when it mattered most in leading his team to a postseason birth after a dismal 3-13 2011 campaign. While the Vikings defense and running game will present a challenge for the Packers, it’s almost nearly impossible to imagine that Aaron Rodgers will let a dynamic and talented offense sputter to another early-round playoff exit for the second straight year. It won’t be easy for the Packers, but the Packers’ potent pass offense should be enough to get by Minnesota in the opening around and set up one heck of a date with 49ers in San Francisco. Packers 30, Minnesota 17.