Wild Card Weekend – Hang On
Wild card weekend is my favorite NFL weekend.
Every game is important. Every game’s outcome could have ramifications that reach beyond the final score. Teams that lose this weekend will turn their attentions inward as they review players and staff. For some players and coaches these final games are live auditions for their future teams. All these ingredients increase the already elevated level of anticipation and excitement. Not to mention a little thing called money, every player and coach is hoping to earn playoff bonus money.
The games I am really excited about are being played in the NFC.
Vikings at Packers, round three.
These division rivals have provided football fans with wonderful, action filled contests during the regular season. The Vikings have been a pleasant surpirse while the Packers have had to overcome injuries, a porous defense and replacement officials.
The Packers feature a high scoring offense with arguably one of the league’s best quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. While the Vikings feature a good defense and a running back that is on fire. Adrian Peterson is having a historic season.
Thank you Vikings for your dramatic victory last week to put you in the playoffs and allow the 49ers to rest this week as the second seed. This game is being played in Green Bay on the Frozen Tundra. I have to give the edge to the Packers who know they must “bring it”. There will be cheese!
Seattle at Washington
Pick Washington (Upset)
I think this is the most exciting match-up of the weekend. These rookie quarterbacks are going where rookie quarterbacks usually don’t go, the the playoffs. RGIII and Russell Wilson are doing it with poise and character and winning. The Seahawks are on fire. The road issues they had earlier in the season are a thing of the past. The Seahawks feature a great defense and a beast at running back, Lynch. The quarterback play by Russell Wilson is just the icing on the cake. On the other side the Redskins have perhaps the most electrifying rookie quarterback in all of football, RGIII. The Redskins feature his talents and the great running of rookie Alfred Morris. There is speculation that Robert Griffin III is less than 100% because of his banged up knee. The experts are picking the Seahawks and they could be right. But I think the Redskins, Shanahan and the home field will even the playing field and the Redskins will pull out a close victory.
The AFC wild card match-ups aren’t quite as intriguing.
The Bengals at the Texans
Pick Bengals (Upset)
This really could go either way. The Texans have been favorites since the pre-season. For the first half of the season they looked like the best AFC team and perhaps the best team in the league. But that was then, this is now. The Texans have lost some games they clearly should have won. Matt Schaub hasn’t been played well in December. But, they have a very good defense and JJ Watt is always a threat. I’m looking for an upset in this game caused by the Bengals aggressive defense.
Colts at the Ravens
The Ravens are getting a little grey around the feathers. Emotions will run high on the Ravens sideline as the home crowd acknowledges the end of Ray Lewis’ career.
The Colts are riding their own emotional wave with the return of Pagano from chemo treatment for Leukemia. Flacco will not have a great game but the defense will do just enough to keep them in a close game.