January 4, 2013 by stevietz93
Cincinnati Bengals vs Houston Texans
The Texans have the classic look of a one-and-done team. They’ve been reeling lately, losing three of their last four as they back into the playoffs. Only one team in NFL history has won a playoff game after ending on a skid like that, and that was the ’09 New Orleans Saints, who won the Super Bowl. But these Texans aren’t the Saints. Having gone through the majority of the season as the consensus number one team in the NFL, this last month has made them look mediocre at best. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals are riding a high, finally overtaking at least one powerhouse in their division, the Pittsburgh Steelers. They’ve been running the ball effectively, the Dalton-Green connection can be lethal on any given day, and the defense has been one of the best all season. I think this game will go down to the battle between Texans running back Arian Foster and the Cincinnati Defense. Since the Texans pass game has been inept for a month now, I can’t see Foster being able to carry this team on his back during this game. I’m giving the edge to Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins and co., in a game that will be close but not very exciting.
Bengals win 23 – 17
Minnesota Vikings vs Green Bay Packers
Common consensus around football fans is that Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers love playing in the cold. I mean, how could you not when you’re a Packer, right? Wrong. Nobody would choose the play in the cold over a dome or California. And the problem with the cold is that a lot of times it turns the game into a battle of the trenches, dominated by a defensive struggle and the run game, which buys into the Vikings philosophy perfectly. Adrian Peterson will not be stopped, that needs to be understood. If the Packers can hold him to mere 150 yards, consider that a successful day. What the Packers need to do is score early, and score a lot, making Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder a bigger factor in this game than he wants to be. And that’s where the cold comes into effect. Can Ponder, a weak-armed quarterback with a bum elbow and bad decision-making skills, be able to play well enough to keep the Packers honest? I doubt it. Meanwhile, the Packers have their receiving corps healthy for the first time since week one. Jennings, Cobb, Nelson, Jones and Finley are all gonna be on the field, leaving the Vikings to pick their poison, something you hate to do against Rodgers. I think it will be close, but Rodgers will be too much for the Vikings to handle.
Packers win 31 – 20
Indianapolis Colts vs Baltimore Ravens
Flacco has been getting flack
all season his whole career for not being able to take the next step. He hasn’t come close to being elite, probably not even reaching the level of a Tony Romo. However, people seem to forget that he’s made the playoffs in every single one of his seasons, reaching the AFC Championship game twice. He’s a proven winner in the playoffs, and there’s not a lot of quarterbacks that can say that. The Colts are a great story, but not having their crowd behind them and having to go up against a hungry Ravens team that will be getting captain Ray Lewis back is a tough task. The Ravens should be riding a wave of emotions after learning that Lewis will be retiring after the season, and that kick-in-the-ass should be able to give the Ravens the motivation they need to win this game. Will the Ravens blowout the Colts? Highly unlikely. But I do see the Ravens controlling the pace of the game all afternoon, not giving the Colts much of a chance to generate a push. But if the game is incredibly close, never count out Andrew Luck.
Ravens win 27 – 21
Seattle Seahawks vs Washington Redskins
For the second time in NFL history, two rookie quarterbacks will be squaring off in the playoffs. Both Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson have led their teams to impressive seasons culminating in playoff berths, and at least one rookie quarterback will be advancing the the final eight. With the firepower on both sides, Marshawn Lynch, Russell Wilson, RGIII and Alfred Morris, this game has the makings of a shootout. However, for some reason, I see this game being a defensive struggle. The Redskins will do everything in their power to stop beastmode, and keep Russell Wilson in the pocket. The Seahawks will keep Griffin in check with their tenacious defense and ridiculously good defensive backfield. Fans would love to see the Seahawks put up another 50-burger and Griffin run for 100 and throw for 3 TDs. I see this game coming down to the wire, ending on a last-second field goal.
Seahawks win 16 – 14