Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans
Saturday, January 5th 4:30 PM EST
This game will feature the same two teams that met last year in the playoffs with the Texans walking away with a resounding victory. There is reason to think this time might be different. QB Red Dalton leads the Bengals into a 2nd playoff appearance in the sophomore’s short career. With his sidekick WR AJ Green and free agent pickup RB Benjarvus Green-Ellis, the Bengals have shown resiliency to battle in a tough division. The Bengals defense leads the league in sacks and gives them a great chance to win every week. The Texans will limp into the playoffs on a nasty slide. Losing in Indianapolis and at home 2 weeks ago to the Vikings really hurt a team thinking about the #1 seed in the AFC and home field throughout the playoffs. DL JJ Watt has done his part. Racking up sack after sack, Watt has powered the Texans all season. RB Arian Foster has fallen off in recent weeks and the Texans will hope he can get back on track before its too late. WR Andre Johnson was one of the best over the course of this season.
Cincinnati Bengals 27 Houston Texans 24
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Saturday, January 5th 8 PM EST
RB Adrian Peterson came within 9 yards of setting a new yardage record in the NFL. That game was the Vikings playoffs. They need to win to get in and they did. They got Peterson to within earshot of an incredible record but came up just short. I think the Vikings will be gassed going into Lambeau. There is no way Vikes QB Christian Ponder will be able to make those throws in the cold outdoors on the most hallowed field in the NFL. The Vikings and Peterson have been a fantastic story but the sobering reality will smack them in the face like the freezing temperatures. The Packers don’t lose many games at home and they are getting healthier each week. WR Greg Jennings was welcomed back into the mix and WR Jordy Nelson looks as good as last year. The Pack could be warming up to make another long run in January.
Minnesota Vikings 17 Green Bay Packers 34
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, January 6th 1 PM EST
The Chuck Pagano story lives on. Having beaten leukaemia, Pagano now looks to beat a former employer during his Colts improbable run to the playoffs. Colts rookie QB Andrew Luck is impressive. He looks like a 10 year veteran the way he commands the huddle. WR Reggie Wayne looks 10 years younger and posted the best season of his Hall of Fame career. The emotional charge provided to the Colts during this season can’t be underestimated on a team that doesn’t know it should be here. The Ravens look like a shell of their former self. That defense looks old and is beat up big time. My guess is every guy on D is playing with some kind of serious injury. These guys are true warriors but that may not be enough. QB Joe Flacco must perform better than the form he has shown this season. Inconsistency killed the ravens this season. The saving grace for this team in their home field advantage which should provide the difference come sunday.
Indianapolis Colts 23 Baltimore Ravens 28
Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins
Sunday, January 6th 4:30 PM EST
RG3 and the Redskins won the play in game for the NFC East vs. the Cowboys and punched their ticket to the playoffs. The bad news is they get a date with the Steamrollin’ Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks had put up 150 points in a 3 game stretch before a sobering game vs. the Rams in the last week of the season. I think this game really helps the Seahawks with their preparation and focus going forward. Much has been made of the Seahawks undefeated record at home this season but the Seahawks also won some huge games on the road, espescially in the last half of the season. The Seahawks can win in some many different ways. They are incredibly well coached, they have exceptional special teams and defense and they cna score points at will with a pounding running game that opens up the play action pass. The Redskins are a young team on the rise like the Seahawks. I don’t see home field advantage as being a difference maker.
Seattle Seahawks 31 Washington Redskins 27