NFL Wildcard Weekend Picks

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Jarrett Bailey, Sports Writer

The first 17 weeks of the NFL season are in the rear view mirror, as we have gone from 32 teams to 12. Here’s how I see the first week of the playoffs going down.

 

(5) Chiefs (11-5) Predicted Winner

(4) Texans (9-7)

The Chiefs are the hottest team in the NFL right now. After starting out 1-5, they won their final 10 games and earned the first wildcard spot, all of which was accomplished without star running back Jamaal Charles who was lost in Week 5 to a torn ACL. The Texans are apart of the worst division in football and won the AFC South with a 9-7 record. They have no steadiness at quarterback and finished the regular season 22nd in total points, the worst among all playoff teams. Yes they have J.J Watt and his 17.5 sacks, but the Chiefs have so much momentum right now and I see them playing their game and really dictating how things go.

 

(6) Steelers (10-6) Predicted Winner

(3) Bengals (12-4)

Unfortunately for the Bengals, who started 8-0 and had their future looking bright, they have hit a few bumps in the road. Unless Andy Dalton makes an unprecedented return, AJ McCarron will be getting the starting nod. Since McCarron took over, the passing game has been all but ineffective, averaging just 113.0 YPG. Oddly enough, McCarron’s debut came against the Steelers when he threw for 280 yards, 2 TDs and 2 picks as his Bengals went down 33-20. The Steelers handled him well that game, and their defense has been clicking recently. If Ben and company can carry their load on offense and play up to expectation, the Steelers should run away with this one.

 

(6) Seahawks Predicted Winner

(3) Vikings

The Vikings did pull out a very impressive win in the final week of the season over Green Bay to cap off an incredible season and win the NFC North, but the last time these two teams met, the Seahawks ran away with a 38-7 win. Plus, the Seahawks came out with an impressive 36-6 rout of the second seeded Cardinals, and are winners of 6 of their last 7. Russell Wilson has been in a groove as of late and I just don’t see the Vikings defense being able to slow down Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham. Give the Vikings credit, though, Adrian Peterson had a great year and they pulled off a season that nobody saw coming. It will be a dog fight, but I see the Seahawks coming out on top.

 

(5) Packers Predicted Winner

(4) Redskins

The Redskins went from being a team who were thought to be done after starting Kirk Cousins over RGIII to a team who benefited from winning the worst division in football. After finishing with a 9-7 record, Jay Gruden and company are looking for their first playoff victory in a decade. Personally, I don’t see it happening. Yes, “Gang Green” have been in a struggle recently, but the high-powered packers offense, and defense should be enough to hold off Washington.

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