If you would of said at the beginning of the season that the Patriots, Broncos, Seahawks, Steelers and Packers would be in the playoffs it would be to no surprise; actually, it is expected. Most experts would have predicted some combination of those playoff teams; those few always heat up when the rest grow cold. That is common football vernacular these days.
However, the talk that the Panthers swept the entire league at 15-1 to get the No. 1 seed in the NFC and the Arizona Cardinals follow closely with the No. 2 seed. I may have contested this preseason prediction. Throw in a pinch of the “You like that?!” Washington spice combined with a dash of the red-hot 10 win streak Chiefs sauce, and the recipe of the NFL playoffs is just as tasty as mom’s homemade spaghetti! Those four teams have proven that they can compete with the dynasty teams from above. All teams are enjoying incredible play at the quarterback position, and others complimented by excellent defensive units.
Playoff football starts today with the Wild Card round and it pays to know who will move on to the next round. To kick it all off could be the most intriguing matchup of all; the division champion Houston Texans hosting the fifth seed Kansas City Chiefs. The Texans defense has been playing solid defense with both pass rush and secondary, and their offense has sufficed going through a carousel of quarterbacks and winding up to start Brandon Weeden this afternoon, uh oh. Yes, I think if Weeden is able to get the ball to DeAndre Hopkins every play to outscore the Chiefs they have a shot, but only if that happens. Chiefs will make sure that is not an easy task, and they can get it done. Alex Smith under Andy Reid’s control can outsmart the Texans in this one. I believe the Chiefs will be walking into Gillette Stadium to duel the incumbent New England Patriots. The only way the Chiefs play there is if the No. 6 seed also moves on. That is right, the Steelers are taking this cake over the Cincinnati Bengals. The primetime game will feature the No. 6 seed Steelers at their division winner and rival Cincinnati Bengals.
Big Ben is big trouble. The Bengals do have home field advantage, and their defense is playing at a high level, but AJ McCarron at quarterback wont cut it and the Bungals always seem to bumble on the big stage. Mike Tomlin’s lead Steelers will assault the Bengals with their offense and Big Ben Roethlisberger will steal the show. Steelers move then to the Denver Broncos surging defense and the waning Peyton Manning.
The NFC will shake out on Sunday when the Seattle Seahawks go into Minnesota and raid Teddy Bridgewater, Adrian Peterson and the Vikings. The Seahawks are on a rampage going 7-1 to end the season crushing the Vikings during this spree 38-7. Don’t take offense Minnesota, the Seahawks have been beating everyone like that lately. Despite AP’s hard run attack and their stud line backing crew they wont be able to stop the big-play ability by Russell Wilson. This Seattle quarterback is making a case for MVP at this point with 4,024 pass yards, 553 rush yards and 35 TDs leading his Seahawks without Beast Mode. Marshawn Lynch will remain out with an abdomen injury; however, Russell will prevail.
On the contrary, the Green Bay Packers are a team that I believe to be burning, in a bad way. Aaron Rodgers is failing behind an offensive line that is composed of a bunch of strangers, and Rodgers is missing his right-hand man Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb would love to have him back to in order to draw away coverage. Ex-Spartan quarterback Kirk Cousins is going berserk in Washington and leading a dark horse candidate Redskin team that has been playing excellent at home. The Packers have a shot, but their defense has to show up and give Rodgers opportunities to strike. I like underdogs, which is why I am going with the Redskins. It sounds backwards, but the Packers have experience and do not disappoint often. Still, Cousins has been to the playoffs before and is unyielding.
Here are my final score predictions.
NFC > Redskins 21 Packers 20 > Seahawks 31 Vikings 13 AFC > Texans 13 Chiefs 28 > Steelers 24 Bengals 17
The Redskins would move to Arizona to face the Cardinals.
The Seahawks would move onto the Carolina Panthers.
The Chiefs would move to New England to play the Patriots.
The Steelers would move onto the Pittsburgh Steelers.