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NFL Pickem’: Wild Card Weekend Edition

January 4th, 2013 at 12:31 PM
By Chuck Chapman

Twelve teams have achieved their regular season goal of giving themselves a chance to compete for the Lombardi Trophy. By the end of the day Sunday, four of those teams will be making offseason plans after a short stay in the NFL Playoffs.

Steven and I are starting fresh for the playoffs, just like in the NFL. It doesn't matter how many you won in the regular season. Now it's crunch time. Here are our thoughts on this weekend's wild card action.


Cincinnati at Houston- Steven: Bengals – "This is the closest match up of the first weekend of the playoffs and we get to have it kick things off. Cincinnati's defense has been an unheralded surprise this season with how it has developed and held up to this point. Everyone involved in this game will have a year of playoff experience under their belt, except for Matt Schaub. With the mental frustration Houston has been putting up with over the last four weeks, it's a bad combination to avoid an early exit." Chuck: Texans- "I'd love to go with the team I grew up with here, especially as they are appearing in the playoffs for the second straight year for the first time since I was a sophomore in high school. The Bengals' defense is the real deal, but the ugly secret they've been living with during their 7-1 finish to the season is their pass protection. Andy Dalton has been getting hit…a lot. in this game last year, JJ Watt set up shop in the Bengals' backfield and turned the game around with a batted pass that turned into a pick six. That allowed Arian Foster to go to work in the fourth quarter and salt the game away. If the Bengals can neutralize the Texans' pass rush, they can win, but I don't see that happening."
Minnesota at Green Bay- Steven: Packers – "How the Vikings reached the playoffs is also a great way to win when you get there. However, I would like their chances much more had it not been an immediate rematch with Green Bay. I think Adrian Peterson will be pushed to get to 100 yards and Christian Ponder will need the best performance of his career. Even then, overcoming Aaron Rodgers and his attack will be a tall order." Chuck: Packers- "The Vikings are missing a defense that can get opposing teams off the field when needed. Then Adrian Peterson could churn up yards and clock. Without some great corners, you don't beat Aaron Rodgers at home in the playoffs."
Indianapolis at Baltimore- Steven: Colts – "I see Indianapolis as a team that doesn't know any better right now and Baltimore as a shadow of years gone by. Compared to the previous decade, teams have had enormous success through the air this season against the Ravens. The key will be Andrew Luck having the pocket awareness to know when the rush is coming and then get rid of the ball quickly. The youth movement will solidify itself as not being a fluke." Chuck: Colts- "I've gone back and forth on this one all week. The Colts will have to do an awful lot right to win this one: contain Ray Rice, avoid turnovers and run the football effectively. I don't know if they can do that with the heat of the playoffs on them, but if I've learned one thing following this team this season, it's this: never, ever underestimate them."
Seattle at Washington- Steven: Redskins – "Turnovers will be the deciding factor, as Seattle hasn't had to deal with many during its five-game win streak (3) and may find itself frustrated when the Redskins force a few, which will happen. I also don't trust in Seattle's ability to play well away from home against good competition. Besides, the hottest team in the league are the Redskins right now and have come up with big plays in the clutch several times in December. The top two 2012 draft choices both advance." Chuck: Seahawks- "These teams are mirror images except in one key area, defense. The Seahawks bring a lights out defense to D.C. They can limit Alfred Morris and have the speed to run with RG III. Their opportunistic corners will force RG III to be more accurate than he is."
Tags: Football, Indianapolis, Indianapolis Colts, NFL

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