The Road to the Super Bowl begins at 4:35pm, Saturday, in Houston. The winners have the pleasure of going on the road and meeting the top two seeds in each conference. Let the fun begin…
Saturday – AFC Wildcard Round
Kansas City @ Houston
Both teams come in hot and on winning streaks. The Chiefs finished second in the AFCW and bring a 10 game winning streak to the table. The Texans won the AFCS by winning their last three games. Offensively the Chiefs average 25.3 points per game vs. the 21.2 of the Texans. Defensively the edge also goes to the team form Missouri, 17.9 vs. 19.6.
My take: Houston benefitted form a Colts team that was playing second and three string QBs. The Chiefs lost their #1 offensive threat and continued to win all year. I think that the Chiefs are better coached and more balanced offensively. In these games running the ball is always imperative, and I’m not sure the Texans will be able to do that effectively. Kansas City wins this one 27-20
Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati
This AFCN game will be the third time this season these two teams meet. Cincinnati won the division, split their games by winning in each other’s building. Offensively the Steelers averaged 26.4 against the 26.2 of the Bengals, very even. Defensively The Bengals had the upper hand, 17.4 vs. 19.9.
My take: On Monday I picked the Steelers to win and move on, upon further review I may not be so sure. The Steelers have played their last 5 regular season games against backup or backup to backup QBs, making this game #6. Pittsburgh is prolific offensively, but against this tough defense they better be able to run. The Bengals will be without Dalton, but still have lots of weapons of their own. This game comes down to which defense can stop the other from running the football, and I think Hill and Bernard will win out against a team without Bell and Williams. Bengals move on 24-21
What happens next?
In my scenarios, with both the Chiefs and Bengals moving on, the Chiefs will play against divisional opponent Denver. While the Bengals after their first playoff win in what appears to be a lifetime, will go on to Foxboro and meet the Patriots.
Sunday – NFC Wildcard Round
Seattle @ Minnesota
The Seahawks had a very up and down season that still netted them 10 mins and second place in the NFCW. The Vikings had a dream season after so many full of disappointments, finishing atop the NFCN with 11 wins, and winners of three straight. Offensively Seattle has had the better year 26.4 vs. 22.8. Defensively, Seattle was the best in the league at 17.3 vs. 18.9.
My take: Seattle has been here a lot lately, and although historically the Seahawks have been better at home, this year they were 5-3 home and away. The Vikings won what we all had believed would be a tough division, especially with the Packers in it. Both teams will attempt to run a lot, however the game will be won by the team that can pass more efficiently. This game will basically be Wilson vs. Bridgewater, and I don’t see the defense bailing out Teddy yet again. Wilson has been among the best, if not the best QB in the second half of the season. Seattle is more seasoned in every aspect, and I do not expect the ride of the Vikings to continue. Seattle 23-13
Green Bay @ Washington
Who would have guessed that the Redskins would be playing a home playoff game against the Packers? Green Bay carries a 2 game losing streak while finishing the season in second place in the NFCN with 10 wins. The Redskins have won 4 straight while winning the NFCE with 9 wins. Offensively one would expect a Rodgers led team to outdo a Cousins team, but not so, Redskins 24.3 to 23. Defensively Green Bay has the edge, 20.2 vs. 23.7.
My take: The fact that the Packers are in the playoffs is not a surprise at all, it is shocking they are playing in the wildcard round, away. Even more shockingly is that the Redskins won the division, but they deserved to. This game I’m afraid will not be close at all. The Packers have been very dysfunctional to say the least, on offense. Their running game is a joke, the WRs can’t catch, and Rodgers is reminiscent of Dan Fouts and Air Coryel, as he is throwing Hail Marys and anything he can to win games. Cousins emerged as a dependable NFL QB. This Redskins team can score with RBs, WRs and now even a TE. I think Mr. Rodgers will be rehearsing his new Discount Double Check Commercials all the way home, as the Redskins win and move on 33-20
What happens next?
In my scenarios, which matches the AFC picks, one away team wins and one home team, both the Seahawks and Redskins will move on. Seattle will have the pleasure to travel to Carolina and face Cam Newton and the Panthers. The Redskins continue their journey to the desert and meet the Cardinals.