Sat. January 5th, 2013
***(6) Cincinnati Bengals at (3) Houston Texans: 4:30 pm ET (NBC)***
The Bengals (10-6) will travel south to Houston where they will face the Texans (12-4). This should make for an extremely interesting game. The Texans offensive strength is undoubtedly their running game, led by Pro-Bowler Arian Foster. Cincinnati’s defense is formidable and boasts the seventh best pass defense and 12th best rush defense, allowing just 107 yards rushing per game. On the flip-side, the Bengals air attack is one of the best in the league, headed by star receiver, A.J. Green. Houston’s pass defense is suspect at times, ranked 16th in the NFL.
Prediction: Look for Cincinnati to play much like their season closer against the Baltimore Ravens. Cincinnati wins 24-21.
***(6) Minnesota Vikings at (3) Green Bay Packers: 8:00 PM ET (NBC)***
The Vikings (10-6) and Packers (11-5) face off Saturday night in what may be the most exciting of the Wild Card Round match-ups for a couple reasons. One, they are heated division rivals. Two, they just played each other last week in a closely fought battle that came down to field goal as time expired. Not only did it seal the playoff spot for Minnesota, but allowed San Francisco to swipe the No. 2 seed and bye from the Packers.
Prediction: The Packers will be playing angry, revenge on their minds. Green Bay wins 31-17.
Sun. January 5th, 2013
***(5) Indianapolis Colts at (4) Baltimore Ravens: 1:00 PM ET (CBS)***
The Colts (11-5) head east to face the Ravens (10-6) in Baltimore. Behind the arm of rookie Andrew Luck, Indianapolis has been this year’s feel-good story in the league. With head coach Chuck Pegano battling and overcoming leukemia this season, the Colts have pulled out some truly inspirational victories under long odds. This week will be no different as Baltimore is favored.
Prediction: Look for Baltimore to establish the run game with Ray Rice and play tight playoff defense. Baltimore wins 31-24.
***(5) Seattle Seahawks at (4) Washington Redskins: 4:30 PM ET (FOX)***
Seattle (11-5) makes its way east to Maryland as well, only they’ll take on the Redskins (10-6), winners of the NFC East Division. If there is one team that no one wants to face, home or away, it’s the Seahawks. Seattle has been as hot as you can get over the last month. With a statement win over their in-division rival, San Francisco, Seattle has all the workings of a team that can make a Super Bowl run. Led by rookie quarterbacks, Seattle and Washington look to have bright futures in Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III, respectively.
Prediction: Seattle is trending up while Washington is in for an emotional hangover after Sunday Night’s win against Dallas. Seattle wins 28-14.