The 2012 NFL regular season came to a close and there are eight teams looking to win the Vince Lombardi trophy for Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans on February 3rd. The first round of playoffs, known as the wild card round will see some teams that played each other in Week 17 and another game will be a rematch of last year’s wild card game. Here is a preview of next weekend’s games.
Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans – 1/5/13 4:30 PM EST
This is a rematch of last year’s wild card playoff game between the Bengals and the Texans. Last year the Texans handled the Bengals winning that game 31-10. This year will be much different. The Texans, who had this year’s number one seed in the AFC seen as a lock fell from grace and now is the number three seed. The Texans lost a first round bye in the playoffs. Houston is limping into the playoffs with recent defeats from the Vikings and Colts. Plus on a Monday night football game against the New England Patriots on December 10th the Texans said it was the biggest game in the history of their franchise. It seemed they were involved with the hype and not the game and lost 42-14. The Bengals on the other hand look to be a team that no one wants to face in the playoffs. They have a strong quarterback in Andy Dalton and a young and talented wide receiver in A.J. Green and a tough defense.
The Texans have a lot of pressure not to lose this game to avoid becoming a team that ran out of gas at the end of the season after having a great start with 10-1 record. Plus many people, including myself had the Texans going to the Super Bowl this year. I feel that the Texans will still win this game, but it will be much closer than last year’s game. I see the Texans winning 28-24.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers – 1/5/13 8 PM EST
If this game is anything like what we saw last weekend, we are definitely in for a treat. The Vikings had to win last weekend to even make the playoffs and did end up with a 37-34 victory. Not only were the playoffs at stake for the Vikings, but their running back, Adrian Peterson missed passing Eric Dickerson’s record of rushing yards in a single season by a total of 9 yards. The game was a classic NFC North hard fought game. Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers kept the team in the game, but the Vikings were able to edge them out.
This playoff game will take place in Green Bay at Lambeau Field and the weather for the night time game says it will be partly cloudy with at temperature of 22 degrees. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some snow. The snow should not hurt the Vikings since their main offensive threat is the running game and the Packers will have to do a better job stopping Peterson if they hope to win. I am leaning to the home team for the victory in this game. Packers coach, Mike McCarthy will make sure he comes up with a game plan to stop Adrian Peterson and put pressure on young Vikings QB Christian Ponder. Packers win 21-17.
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens – 1/6/13 1 PM EST
This game will see Colts coach, Chuck Pagano go against his former team the Baltimore Ravens. The Colts have had a Hollywood story type of season. First after saying goodbye to future Hall of Famer, Peyton Manning as he went to Denver to play, the Colts saw their coach have to take a medical leave to fight leukemia. The team stuck together and rallied around rookie quarterback Andrew Luck to make it into the playoffs after having the worst record in the NFL last year. With the motto “Chuckstrong” as their battle cry as their coach fought leukemia, the Colts kept on winning. This past weekend Pagano came back on the sidelines and the Colts beat the Texans. Needless to say the Colts are on a high right now and this is the type of “magic” a team uses to go far into the playoffs.
The Ravens have a strong running game with Ray Rice, but their quarterback, Joe Flacco doesn’t always bring his “A” game. When Flacco is firing on all cylinders, he is a force to be reckoned with in the NFL. The Ravens defense is historically strong and fierce, but they are getting old and have had some injuries to key players. The game is in Baltimore, but I think the Hollywood magic is still going to be there for the Colts and I see a 24-17 victory for Andrew Luck and his team.
Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins – 1/6/13 4:30 PM EST
I feel the NFL is saving the best game for last this wild card weekend. Two rookie quarterbacks, Robert Griffin, III (Redskins) and Russell Wilson (Seahawks) match up to see who will move on deeper into the playoffs. Both quarterbacks are in the running for rookie of the year and both teams have come out of nowhere and made it into the postseason. The Redskins are following the rookie tandem of Griffin and running back Alfred Morris on a seven game winning streak that allowed them to be able to make it into the playoffs. The defense for the Redskins has kept the games close to allow the offense to win games for them.
The Seahawks have an outstanding defense that does not get enough credit and has a punishing running back in Marshawn Lynch. Seattle recently destroyed the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night football 42-13. If the game was in Seattle I would say that this game is a no brainer and the Seahawks would win. Since the game is in Washington D.C. the game will be much closer, but with Griffin not being 100 percent healthy I see the Seahawks winning 21-20.