NFL Playoffs – Wildcard Weekend
Houston Texans vs Cincinnati Bengals Live ESPN Sunday
The first wild card game brings a sense of déjà vu in an exact repeat of the first wild card match up from last season. In that one the Texans won comfortably however this may be different. The Texans form has waned in the last two weeks with losses against teams on paper they should have beaten. Although strong on defence, led by potential defensive player of the year JJ Watt, their offence has struggled to get any momentum. The Bengals will be looking to learn from last seasons playoff experience and have the form to do so. Wins against division rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltomore Ravens in their last two games bring in good momentum with unheralded Quarterback Andy Dalton lead the offence. Revenge could be on the Bengals mind here. The winner here goes to New England next week to face the Patriots. Pick – Cincinnati in a close one
Green Bay Packers vs Minnesota Vikings Live ESPN Sunday
This Wilcard game is a repeat of last weekends NFC North divisional clash whereby the Vikings surprisingly came out on top denying Green Bay a seeding for a first round bye. The Packers have not been their consistent self this season and some of this has been due to key injuries on the defensive side. The Vikings have been one of the suprise teams of the season. Predicted to win 3 or 4 games they have made the playoffs mainly based around the form of running back Adrian Peterson. Peterson suffered a serious leg injury at he end of last season and his rehab and return was predicted to be limited however he has flourished and only just missed setting a regular season rushing record last week. This will be played at the Packers home field however their form in playoffs has been patchy over he last few years. They will need to stop Peterson from running all over them like last week however they have had all this week to practice from lessons learnt. Pick – Green Bay to show their class at home
Baltimore Ravens vs Indianapolis Colts Live ESPN Monday
In 1984 the then Baltimore NFL team upped sticks and left town and relocated to Indianappolis reforming as the Colts. It took 12 years for Baltimore to rebuild a franchise in their city so this game always has some feeling. The Ravens knowing they were in the playoffs rested some players last week however paid the price with a loss at the Bengals. Momentum is everything in the NFL and that is something the Colts take into the Ravens home field. Rookie Andrew Luck at Quarterback has been nothing short of outstanding. The Colts have been one of the fairy tale teams this season, from a team that only won two games last season to a play off team, that has also had to deal with a head coach diagnosed with treatable cancer. Legendary Ravens Line Backer Ray Lewis announced this will be his last season this week, and this will be his last home game. This will be emotional. Pick – Indianapolis to carry on the momentum and Lewis to not really be a big factor.
Washington Redskins vs Seattle Seahawks Live ESPN Monday
The Redskins cliched the NFC East title last week with their win against the Dallas Cowboys. Quarterback RG3 and running back Alfred Morris – both first year rookies – have been the inspirations to this team that has struggled in recent seasons. The ability of RG3 to completely change a game with his unpredictability has been a huge factor in their success. The Seahawks are also a surprise package having taken a punt on rookie Russell Wilson at Quarterback at the start of the season, and are now one of the form teams in the NFL. They are allowing the least number of points scored by opponents this season yet they are scoring at will. This will be a battle between two of the hottest quarterbacks in the NFL and may well be an offensive spectacle. Pick – Seattle to go to the Capital and win comfortably due to Wilson and having a healthier team.