Playoffs? Playoffs. Let's talk about 'em. Wildcard Weekend 2015 starts this Saturday with the Steelers traveling to Cincinnati to face the Bengals and the Chiefs traveling to Houston to face the Texans. On Sunday, the Vikings host the Seahawks and the Redskins host the Packers. There are some great story lines coming up this weekend. Marvin Lewis is 0-6 in the playoffs as a head coach, and with a loss, he will become the only coach in NFL history to be 0-7 in the postseason. The Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks face off in what might be one of the coldest games in NFL history. The Washington Redskins are in the playoffs again, and it's Kirk Cousins, not RGIII, who is under center. The Chiefs and the Texans face each other after both teams lost a Pro Bowl caliber running back for the season due to injury. Seattle has made the last two Superbowls. Can they make it three appearances in a row? Here are some picks.
NFL WILDCARD WEEKEND:
Saturdays Games (AFC Saturday):
Chiefs @ Texans (4:20 PM/ET): This game will be very interesting. Two defenses that love to control the game and two offenses who are run by game managing QB’s who both lost their top 10 RB’s early in the season. Nobody thought the Chiefs had a prayer after starting the season 1-5, including myself, but here they are at 11-5 on a 10 game winning streak. Now the Texans were considered dead before the year even started and here they are the AFC South winners over Andrew Luck’s Colts who many picked to do damage this year. The Texans struggled early but Bill O’Brian figured it out and got them rolling even without Arian Foster. This game comes down too which defense gets the job done better honestly. I know everyone is favoring the Chiefs in this game and some aren’t even considering this really a close one. I am not most people though. To me the X-Factor everyone is forgetting is that DeAndre Hopkins seems uncoverable this season and I think he has an 80 yard 1 TD game. Texans win in an upset 20 – 17 over the Chiefs.
Steelers @ Bengals (8:15 PM/ET): The Rivals collide for the third time this season and the second in Cincy. This game is interesting because the Steelers after their loss to the Ravens don’t belong here but they got a gift from Rex Ryan’s Bills last weekend. AJ McCarron will be starting for the Bengals again and try to get the job done and give Marvin Lewis his first playoff win. Marvin Lewis is 0-6 as a head coach in the NFL in the post season and that just screams trouble. Now he will be facing no easy task in Big Ben and Mike Tomlin’s Steelers. The Steelers are running the charity case RB’s this game as no Le’Veon Bell and no DeAngelo Williams spells bad news for a run game especially against the defense that has the sleeping giant Geno Atkins. I really know that a lot of people are picking the Steelers to win this one especially without Dalton, but again I am not some people. Bengals win 26 – 21 over the Steelers.
Sundays Games (NFC Sunday):
Seahawks @ Vikings (1:05 PM/ET): Alright here we go, I love me some NFC football. The Seahawks are really scary right now with Russell Wilson finally getting the chance to take the reins of this team. I am convinced the Seahawks can win the Super Bowl if they let Russell lead this team and stick with the passing game and use the running game as an alternate to keep the defense loyal. The Seahawks defense has slowly diminished the past two seasons but they are still as good as they get and boy can they fly around the field. This will be a hungry Pete Carroll team this Sunday. Now their opposite is the young man Teddy Bridgewater who took a Vikings team to an 11-5 season and a NFC North title. AP won the rushing title by 83 yards over Doug Martin in a battle for comeback player of the year as well as best RB in the league this season. The Vikings need to give Bridgewater one more good WR and I could see them in the Super Bowl next season. Their defense isn’t just great it is really young and could absolutely become the best in the league over the next two years. I really like this matchup but we saw how it went a few weeks ago and I think it will be a similar story. Seahawks win this one 32 – 20 over the Vikings.
Packers @ Redskins (4:40 PM/ET): Ok so the Packers aren’t who we thought they were. Jordy Nelson apparently meant everything to this team because without him their offense looks like a middle grade offense. Their O-Line is shaken up and not really protecting their legendary QB and it will get them beat if they don’t put it together now. This team has the talent to be a contender and honestly is the better team in this matchup but they aren’t even the favorite due to the way the Packers have looked as of late. Now the Redskins surprised EVERYONE with their play this year and a lot of it is due to Kirk Cousins shocking everyone and throwing for over 4,000 Yards this season and putting up 29TD’s. He threw for 4,166 to be exact and Aaron Rodgers who was pathetic this season threw for only 3,821 really making you scratch your head here. Rodgers did have more TD’s with 31 compared to 29 and less INTS with 8 compared to 11 though. This game will come down to which defense can slow down the other offense enough. If the Packers wake up and play like they are capable of they should dominate this game but because they haven’t done that all season this game will be a close one all the way to the end. I think the Packers edge this one out. Packers win 34 – 31 over the Redskins.
Chiefs @ Texans. These two teams are very similar. Both have a game manager-type quarterback. Both have top tier defensive units. Both teams lost their starting running backs to injury early in the season with the Texans missing Arian Foster and the Chiefs missing Jamaal Charles. While I think the Texans could win this game, I feel like the Chiefs are the hotter team right now, and ride a wave of momentum to a win. Chiefs win. Final score: Chiefs 21, Texans 20.
Steelers @ Bengals. While it's difficult to pick a Marvin Lewis-led Bengals with AJ McCarron under center as starter Andy Dalton recovers from injury, I'm going with Cincy to win this game. If Pittsburgh hopes to win this game, they need to establish the run early and often. That becomes tough with both LeVeon Bell and DeAngelo Williams out due to injury. AJ McCarron leads Cincinnati to their first playoff win since January 6th, 1991, and the Bengals win! Final score: Bengals 24, Steelers 21.
Seahawks @ Vikings. The Vikings have the makings of a very good team under head coach Mike Zimmer. However, they still need one or two more years of experience to really become a postseason threat. While they may have the talent to beat many of the teams in this year's playoff class, they will likely struggle against a Seahawks team who has won in the postseason often in recent years. Seahawks win. Final score: Seahawks 28, Vikings 27.
Packers @ Redskins. This is another game that will come down to postseason experience. The Redskins squeezed into the postseason after winning the NFC East this season, but face a Packers unit that is extremely used to competing in the playoffs. If Green Bay arrives to play this week, Washington could be in trouble. I think this will be a very close game, but I think the Packers squeak one out in the end on a couple of big plays. Final score: Packers 23, Redskins 14.
--Mike B. (152-105).
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