Seeing that I’ve been out of the states nearly 4 months and haven’t seen any live football in 2, this could get interesting and will be completely accurate.
Cincinnati vs Houston
Houston 24 Cincinnati 20
I have been pleasantly surprised all season by Cincy. They have surpassed all my expectations and this will not be an easy game for Houston. The Bengals have won more games on the road than at home (6-2 away) so they won’t be afraid to play in Texas. Dalton and Green have combined to be one of the most prolific tandems in the league and should pose a serious threat. However, the Texans have too many weapons on both sides of the ball. Houston is built for the playoffs with an all-pro running back in Arian Foster and an all-time great in Andre Johnson. The defense might give up a few points in this one, but the only real concern for Houston is their own quarterback, Matt Schaub. This will be Schaub’s first postseason start and they haven’t exactly ended the season with a lot of momentum. This should be a really exciting game and should go down to the wire with Houston coming out on top.
Minnesota vs Green Bay
Green Bay 31 Minnesota 17
Adrian Peterson is a monster, we all know it, but unfortunately for the Vikings, that won’t be enough this week. AP was able to give his team the final push last week against the Packers, but this game won’t come down to him. AP has had his way with the Packers defense for years now running for over 175 yards 4 times. All logical wisdom would say Green Bay is in trouble, but they’re not. Of all the games this weekend, I see this one being the closet to a blowout. Green Bay has too much experience and talent to lose this one, and being that the NFL is a passing league it never hurts to have one of the best in the business in Rodgers. On other side of the field stands the reason why the Vikings are in trouble, Christian Ponder. Ponder will have to play the best game of his life to beat the Packers and that still might not be enough. He played great last week, but that wasn’t the playoffs and that wasn’t in the legendary Lambeau Field. The score might not be completely out of hand, but the game will be well in the Packers control.
Indianapolis vs Baltimore
Baltimore 17 Colts 10
The Colts this year have been somewhat of an anomaly. They gut most of their talent from front office to the field, pick up a rookie quarterback to replace a legend, and their head coach falls seriously ill and misses most of the season. And now the team that “sucked for Luck” is in the playoffs. However, I see the fairy tale coming to an abrupt halt. Luck has played years ahead of the curve but still shows signs of being a rookie and the Colts still aren’t good enough to advance yet. There are holes in both experience and talent on all sides of the ball and they play like a different team out of the dome (4-4 away). The Ravens have been another strange team this year. Beginning this season they were seen as one of the favorites to win it all and throughout the season they have dipped in form due to poor play and injuries. However, they are another team that play well at home (6-2 at home) and with Ray Lewis coming back for his final run before he hangs up his pads, the Ravens have their emotional leader back. Baltimore also had the luxury of resting its work horse, Ray Rice, last week so he will be fresh. This will be another close and physical battle, but the Ravens should prevail.
Seattle vs Washington
Washington 13 Seattle 10
Saving the best for last, this is the game that is the most intriguing to me. Two rookie quarterbacks far surpassing expectations with solid teams around them. RGIII and Russell Wilson have been fantastic this year. However, Seattle have really struggled playing on the road this season (3-5 away). They stumble without the support of their fans and struggle with the noise of others. As great as the young QB’s have been, this game will rely on both teams ground game. Marshawn Lynch was as potent as ever gaining nearly 1,600 yards on the ground and another 200 through the air. He will present the biggest problem to the Redskins, just as rookie Alfred Morris should present an equal problem for the Seahawks. This shouldn’t be a high scoring game due to new quarterbacks and stellar defenses. This should be an old-fashioned possession game, but don’t be surprised by a flash of brilliance by one of the rookies. This game will come down to either one critical mistake or some kind of special team play.
There you have it. The home teams should take it this weekend. Those are the predictions from a guy who is currently 10,000 miles away from football. Looks like it’s going to be a late night or an early morning with that 10 hour time zone difference.