The Texans had home field in the palm of their hands, but after losing three of their last four games are now in the Wild Card round. The Texans must avoid the mistake of the last three games or their trip into the playoffs will be a short one. One thing they have to avoid is falling behind early, because their offense has really been out of sync and their secondary has struggled against good passing teams. The Bengals do have a good passing game, but when they met in the postseason last year the Texans had no problem breaking it apart, with J.J. Watt returning an interception. Watt has become the premiere pass rusher in the NFL, leading the league in sacks, while swatting down passes like horseflies. The Texans will win this game, and Watt will be the reason why.
Twice the Packers and Vikings met and twice, the Packers have been unable to stop Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 210 yards and 199 yards in the two regular season meetings. The Packers were able to win the earlier meeting in Lambeau Field and lost in a last second field goal last week in Minnesota as Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has picked apart the Vikings defense scoring over 30 points in each game. This one has all the makings of another offensive showdown, but with the Packers seeing Peterson two weeks in a row, one would think the Packers could make some key adjustments especially with the backing of their home crowd. Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers ability to spread the ball around to several different receivers will be the key as the Packers out gun the Vikings.
The NFL is often a game of emotion, and no team showed that more than the Colts who went on a surprise run after their Coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia. The Colts went 9-3 in his absence, than won the last game as Pagano returned to the sideline. The Ravens will also have emotion on their side as Ray Lewis announced that he will retire after playoffs, ending a 17 year Hall of Fame career. For his entire career Lewis has been the emotional heart and soul for the Ravens and it is hard to imagine they won’t bring forth their best effort, which will be bad news for the Colts are still full of rookies. True Andre Luck has showed the poise of a veteran, but the playoffs are a brand new game, and the Ravens have been here before. This game should be close, but in the end the experience and emotion will be on the side of the Ravens who advance to all Lewis to play another game.
No teams have been hotter in the final weeks than the Seahawks and Redskins. The Seahawks had a three game stretch where they scored 150 points, while, the Redskins ended the season on a seven game winning streak including a big win over the Cowboys with the NFC East on the line. Both teams have a rookie quarterbacks who are candidates for rookie of the year, and among the best rookie class in NFL history. Both teams also have running backs, which will be key to victory as sixth round pick Alfred Morris who rushed for 200 yards last week has been just as important to the Redskins success as Robert Griffin III. The Seahawks rely on Marshawn Lynch who was second in the NFL in rushing, while the Seahawks often struggle on the road, the 4:00 start will help, as will their defense, which should get a boost from the return of Brandon Browner, and this is what will be the difference as the Seahawks win in Washington.