Wild Card Round Preview
#6 Cincinnati Bengals @ #3 Houston Texans, Saturday, 4:30 PM ET, NBC
Cincinnati Offense vs. Houston Defense
The Bengals have a very young and inexperienced offense. But don’t get me wrong here—they are explosive. Led by QB Andy Dalton and WR AJ Green, this youthful bunch can take on many defenses. The Texans have a stout defense, however. DE JJ Watt is a force in the front seven, and CB Johnathan Joseph is a shut-down corner. With the weapons that Cincy has, they will win this matchup.
Houston Offense vs Cincinnati Defense
The Texans frequently display a well-rounded offensive attack. RB Arian Foster is a dynamic cutback runner with exceptional vision, and WR Andre Johnson and TE Owen Daniels are two fantastic targets for turbulent QB Matt Schaub. The Bengals defense is underrated, though. DT Geno Atkins is a tank in the trenches, and they have a great support system around him. However, it looks like the Texans offense is too much for the opposing unit.
Prediction: The offensive explosion by Cincinnati will edge the slumping Texans. Pick: Bengals, 24, Texans, 16
#6 Minnesota Vikings @ #3 Green Bay Packers, Saturday, 8 PM ET, NBC
Minnesota Offense vs. Green Bay Defense
The success of the Vikings offensive unit hinges on RB Adrian Peterson. Peterson is the best running back of this generation, and normally finds success. If Peterson pounds it out for 60 minutes, the pass game will be opened for QB Christian Ponder and co. The Packers defense needs to swarm Peterson, and seal the backside so a cutback option is eliminated. AP is too much to handle, and that is why the Vikings offense will find success.
Green Bay Offense vs. Minnesota Defense
Let’s face it—Packers signal caller Aaron Rodgers ranks among the “elite three” in regards to quarterback play. Rodgers will feast on the Vikes defense no matter what they do. The Packers have productive targets across the board, and will handily get this done.
Prediction: Rodgers will lead the Pack to a win. Pick: Packers, 27, Vikings, 20
#5 Indianapolis Colts @ #4 Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, 1 PM ET, CBS
Indianapolis Offense vs. Baltimore Defense
The Colts offense can be very strong at times. Rookie QB Andrew Luck has been phenomenal, and WR’s Reggie Wayne and TY Hilton will be crucial for the Colts to find success. The Ravens defense is top-tier, but completely depleted due to injuries. However, Luck will use his veteran-like poise to win this battle.
Baltimore Offense vs. Indianapolis Defense
The Ravens offense features a rugged ground’n’pound style that features RB Ray Rice. QB Joe Flacco can be fantastic, or he can enter slumps. WR Torrey Smith needs to come up big and help his signal caller out by getting open on a constant basis. The Colts defensive core is solid, but the Ravens offense will be on top from kickoff to kneel down.
Prediction: The Ravens offense will propel them past Indy. Pick: Ravens, 34, Colts, 20
#5 Seattle Seahawks @ #4 Washington Redskins
Seattle Offensive vs. Washington Defense
The Seahawks offense is explosive. They have revved up the score to 50 and beyond multiple times in the past few weeks. QB Russell Wilson is playing marvelously meanwhile RB Marshawn Lynch enters his so-called “Beast Mode” more and more as the weeks go by. There is nothing the Redskins can do except switch between zone and man coverage with an occasional blitz package to attempt to disturb the rhythmic Seahawks. Seattle wins this matchup.
Washington Offense vs. Seattle Defense
The Seahawks pass rush is underrated and elite. DE’s Chris Clemsons and Bruce Irvin are powerful rushers and will contain RG3 to a minimal performance. The Seahawks will thwart RB Alfred Morris by negating the pass.
Prediction: Seattle is the most underrated playoff team. Pick: Seahawks, 40, Redskins, 24