Wildcard Weekend

By: Will Martin Email
By: Will Martin Email

Well, unfortunately my “Joe Namath-esque” guarantee that I would bring my record back to .500 by the end of the season fell a little short. Like the Chicago Bears, I started off hot and had a midseason collapse that left me on the outside looking in come playoff time. But on the bright side, I did go 11-5 last week! Which brings my full season record to 105-113-5 (I took a week off when I was out of town) and gives me some great momentum heading into next season. In the midst of the 7 coaches getting fired after their final game this season, my GM told he had full confidence that we are heading in the right direction and will allow me to continue to pick games next season.

But that’s enough about me – it’s Wildcard Weekend! These next 2 weekends are my favorite of the whole season (especially this weekend) so let’s look at the games, and afterwards I’ll give my round by round playoff prediction so you’ll know exactly who WON’T win.

Bengals (+4.5) at Texans – Oh no. The Texans freefell alllllllllllllllllll the way to the number 3 seed in the AFC and have been playing some awful football. All of the experts I’ve talked to (other college guys that follow the NFL closely) are pegging this game at 50/50 so I’m grabbing the points. And if I was a betting man that looked at point spreads and money lines every week, I’d probably jump on Bengals to win outright at +170, too (just sayin’).

Vikings (+7.5) at Packers – These two teams played just last week and the Vikings won, but the stakes were completely different. The Packers didn’t have much to play for (they would just oscillate between the 3 and 4 seeds regardless of the outcome) but the Vikings on the other hand, knew that they had to win to make the playoffs. And on top of all of that, Adrian Peterson needed 208 rushing yards to break Eric Dickerson’s record. He fell 9 yards short, but showed everyone why he is the best back in the NFL today and one of the greatest of all time. Oh, and all of that on an ACL that was torn a year ago. This time around, the game is at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin and temperatures are expected to be below freezing. Aaron Rogers and the Packers are used to playing in this arctic weather while the Vikings are not (they play indoors) so they have the advantage, but I don’t think that the Packers are a full touchdown better than the Vikings, especially with the receiver injuries. In fact, I don’t think any team with Adrian Peterson in the backfield should be 7-point underdogs to anybody. I think that Packers will win this, but AD AP (All Day Adrian Peterson) singlehandedly keeps it close.

Colts (+7) at Ravens – This is an interesting matchup that I see going one of two ways: 1) The Colts hang around all game, make a couple of big plays, force a couple of turnovers and pull out the win, or…
2) The Ravens make a statement with this game and prove that they are no longer the team that beat the Chiefs 9-6 in week 5, but are rather the team that beat the… well, I can’t really find an impressive win on their resume. They beat the Patriots 31-30 in Baltimore in week 3, so I guess that counts. I’m not really sure why the sporting news networks think so highly of the Ravens, but maybe this is the week that they prove me wrong.

I think that the first option is more likely, especially since the Colts coach, Chuck Pagano, is coaching his second game after battling leukemia this season. This is setting up just like a sports movie for the Colts.

Seahawks (-3) at Redskins – I’m getting wild and taking all of the road teams in this Wildcard Weekend! I absolutely love this Seahawks team, and as you know, I do not feel the same way about Robert Griffin III. I think that the Seahawks defense contains a banged-up Griffin and Russell Wilson marches up and down FedEx Field. It’s been a fun ride for both of these teams, but the Seahawks are a better football team with an actual shot at the Super Bowl. Other than the Texans game (for obvious reasons), this is the one that I’m most looking forward to in the first weekend.

Playoff Prediction:

Round 1
Texans over Bengals
Packers over Vikings
Colts over Ravens
Seahawks over Redskins

Round 2
Broncos over Colts
Patriots over Texans
Seahawks over Falcons
49ers over Packers

Division Championships
Broncos over Patriots
49ers over Seahawks

Super Bowl
49ers over Broncos

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