Previewing NFL Wild Card Weekend

A podcast was previously scheduled for Friday night, but due to logistic difficulties, we had to postpone until at least Saturday night. So, since the recording of the podcast will likely be done after/during the first round of games, I’ll give you my preview of the NFL Wild Card weekend.

AFC

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans
Saturday, 3:30 ABC

This matchup has all the makings of a low scoring nail biter. Both had top 5 scoring defenses, and both have an outstanding front seven that can rush the passer. The Chiefs have a pretty good running game, a part of the game where Houston has struggled ever since Arian Foster went down. So the matchup that’s going to be the key is the QB matchup, Alex Smith vs. Brian Hoyer. In this game, or actually just in general, I don’t think Alex Smith will take many shots down field, he’s going to be too cautious. Whereas Hoyer will take shots because he’s got the biggest weapon on the field, DeAndre Hopkins. This will likely be a close game, but I’m going to take Houston in the upset because they have the two best weapons on either side of the ball in DeAndre Hopkins and JJ Watt.

Prediction: Houston 24, Kansas City 20

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Saturday, 7:15 CBS

We’ve already seen these teams play twice already, because they are heated division rivals. So you know that this is going to be a tough, physical, close game. The Bengals have a great defense ranking 2nd in scoring defense, and they force a lot of turnovers, something Pittsburgh doesn’t do much of. Pittsburgh has the weapons on offense to get past the Bengals 20th ranked pass defense though, which is why I’m taking Pittsburgh. I trust Ben Roethlisberger to make more plays than AJ McCarron, who’s in his first real big moment NFL game. Even if the Steelers are one dimensional, which they’re likely to be with Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan Todman as their main backs.

Prediction: Pittsburgh 31, Cincinnati 21

NFC

Seattle Seahawks vs. Minnesota Vikings
Sunday, 12:00 NBC

When listening to the tv or radio guys this week, this is the matchup every one expects to be a blowout. When it was announced┬áthat Marshawn Lynch didn’t even make the trip to Minnesota, I thought it might be a closer game, but I still don’t think Minnesota has much of a chance. Teddy Bridgewater’s first career playoff game, along with the freezing weather leads me to believe the Vikings are going to rely heavily on Adrian Peterson, which plays right into Seattle’s hands having the best rushing defense in the NFL. Also, Russell Wilson is playing some of the best ball of his career, and I expect him to make a few plays and continue the winning ways of Seattle playoff football this weekend.

Prediction: Seattle 23, Minnesota 7

Green Bay Packers vs. Washington Redskins
Sunday, 3:40 FOX

Yes, Kirk Cousins had a great end of the year. Yes, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have struggled mightily for the last month. But still give me A-Rodge and the Packers in this game. Cousins has been great, but the Skins haven’t beaten a team with a winning record all season long. They also have a huge bend but don’t break defense ranking 28th in yards allowed per game. I’m of the mindset that Rodgers is going to turn it around one of these weeks, and this will be that week. You like that Cousins?

Prediction: Green Bay 35, Washington 24

Article by Thomas Mooney

Twitter: @thomas_mooney1

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