Here are my picks for NFL wild-card weekend:
Chiefs 20 Texans 17
This is an interesting matchup, as the Chiefs are winners of 10 straight, but never really faced a tough opponent. On the other side, Houston is probably the worst playoff team in 2015, but they benefited from an extremely weak division. So who wins? I’m going with the visiting Chiefs because I don’t think Alex Smith will turn the ball over, mainly because he won’t be forced to make plays down the field. This will be a low scoring game, meaning Smith can do his little check-downs, keeping J.J. Watt and company at bay, and ultimately squeaking out a win. If Brian Hoyer and DeAndre Hopkins get hot and put up a bunch of points, the Texans can win. However I just don’t see that happening.
Steelers 27 Bengals 23
The Bengals will be without Andy Dalton in this game, although I don’t think it will make a huge difference in who wins the ballgame. I have never been a fan of Dalton, and while I do think he is better than AJ McCarron, the gap is not that big. I believe Big Ben and the Steelers win this mainly because of their explosive offense. Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, and Markus Wheaton are easily the best trio of wide receivers in the league, and the Bengals simply don’t have the cornerbacks to match up. Will Pittsburgh put up 50? Absolutely not. But McCarron isn’t good enough to outduel Roethlisberger in this situation.
Seahawks 23 Vikings 16
Extremely cold temperatures will help the Vikings, but Seattle is too hot to lose in Minnesota on Sunday. The Vikings will try to control the clock with Adrian Peterson on the ground, but Russell Wilson has his offense playing too well, and Richard Sherman has the defense firing on all cylinders once again. I am a fan of Teddy Bridgewater, but he doesn’t have enough weapons to put up 24+ points against this Seahawks defense. The Vikes will have to hope for a turnover-riddled day by Wilson, and a monster performance by Peterson to win.
Redskins 24 Packers 20
I can’t believe I’m about to pick the Redskins to win a playoff game, but here we go. It’s not that I so much really trust the Skins, but it’s more about Aaron Rodgers and that Packers team on the road right now. Rodgers and company weren’t that good at home this season, where they were previously unbeatable, and on the road I just don’t trust him to get it done against a solid Washington defense, and a quarterback that played very well to close out the year. The Redskins will run the ball, keep Rodgers off the field, and that Cousins-Reed connection will wreak havoc against an underwhelming Green Bay defense.
(Now watch Rodgers go throw for 5 touchdowns and Cousins gets picked 4 times and the Skins lose by 30…)