NFL Playoffs…Wild Card Weekend

NFL Playoffs…Wild Card Weekend

 NFL Playoffs…Wild Card WeekendWith no real surprises in week 17 of the NFL season, we’re approaching the first week of the playoffs, known as “wild card weekend.”  Three of the four games feature rookie quarterbacks.

Saturday we will see matches between 6th seed in the AFC, Cincinnati at the 3rd ranked Houston Texans, and the 6th seed NFC Minnesota Vikings who will play the 3rd seeded Packers on the “frozen tundra” in Green Bay.

It’s impossible to predict the outcome of either game. Cincinnati is far from a great team featuring a sometimes inferior offense and a sporadic defense. On the other side of the ball, Houston, who would have secured a bye week and home field advantage by defeating the Colts last week, seems to have lost the superior type of play they showed in early season. The Texans can’t even win at home. The edge here should be Wade Phillips. If he can motivate his defense to return to the dominance it showed in earlier performances, with that and having the home field advantage, Houston should win.

Last week the Minnesota Vikings defeated the Green Bay Packers at home. The Vikings were playing for two things:  A win, and they were in the playoffs; a loss, and the Bears backed in. The other interesting part of the game was the possibility of helping Adrian Peterson eclipse one of the most prodigious records in all of football. He needed 208 yards to become the all-time leading rusher. He came up short by nine yards.

Saturday the game is in Green Bay and I see the Packers winning; but, with Minnesota playing at top form on offense and defense, the game should be close.

Sunday’s game in the AFC matches the Colts at the Ravens, and in the NFC, the Seahawks are at the Redskins.

The Colts are led by Andrew Luck who is playing more like a third year player than a rookie. He has already shown that he is the team leader who has the ability to bring his team back from virtual defeat and put an “x” in the win column.

Joe Flacco has still not proven to the Ravens that he is a true leader, or that he can make “all the throws.” The Ravens’ defense is old and beat up.  So what will happen?  If you could see me, you’d see that I’m shaking my head.  If this were any other year, Baltimore, playing at home with their usually dominant defense, would be hands down favorite; but with the Colts’ great young quarterback, an improving defense, and the inspiration of a coach who fought leukemia for the season, I am giving Indianapolis the slightest of edges in this game.

Seattle has been the best and most exciting team in the last five weeks. Undersized rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has proven the adage that “size doesn’t matter.”  A courageous decision by coach Pete Carroll gave the responsibility of running the offense to Wilson at the beginning of the season and he has not disappointed him. Seattle’s defense is among the league’s best.

The bad news is that they travel to Washington to play the Redskins and their great threat, rookie quarterback Robert Griffin, the third in the NFC battle. Washington’s team is well rounded, but its engine is fueled by RGIII.  He has an injured leg, and his running ability might make the difference. If his leg is 80-90 percent healed, they have the edge at home.

I can’t bet against Seattle and how dominant they have been at the end of the season.  A close one:  Seahawks 21, Redskins 17.

Let the “second season” begin! I’m certainly looking forward to it.

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