Well, here we are–playoff time!
We begin with the Wild Card round, featuring a number of teams no one expected to make it this far.
Since there will only be four games, I decided to add a little extra at the end, with a discussion of which teams each of the Bye-Round teams does and does not want to see next week.
…and just another reminder–I’m still looking for fans who are willing to sit down with me and discuss your favorite team and what they have to do to get better for 2013. I’ve got fans ready to talk about the Packers, the Cowboys, the Raiders, the Falcons, and the Seahawks (And needless to say, but I don’t need anyone fort he Paper Planes). If you’re a nut for any of the other teams, let me know through either this site or my Facebook page.
So let’s get to it, then!
Bengals vs. Texans (Saturday, 4:30 p.m.)
This is the second year in a row where Cincinnati has faced Houston. If you recall correctly, the Texans beat the stuffings out of Football Spock and his crew, and did so with back-up quarterback T.J. Yates. If anything, the Texans are a better team than they were in 2012. As great as Yates was, Schaub is better. The defense has gotten stouter, and J.J. Watt is even more of an insanely talented tackler and ball hawk. I can’t see this not being a repeat of last year’s tilt, with Houston winning by about two possessions.
Vikings vs. Packers (Saturday 8:00 p.m.)
The only ‘ooops, we’re playing each other a third time?’ game, this features one of four legitimate surprise teams this weekend. Even with the amazing Adrian Peterson–and make no bones about it, Peterson has been going above and beyond in carrying this team on his back–no one expected to see Minnesota in the playoffs. Hell, even without the Bears doing the flame-out that cost Lovie Smith his job, the Vikes deserve to be in Wild Card Weekend.
And if ever there was a time when they could shock the world, it’s now. The Packers have been frustratingly inconsistent all season, losing games they should have won and shaving things way too close. If Minnesota can establish Peterson early on, they should win this game after a long, grueling back-and-forth tug of war by about a possession.
Colts vs. Ravens (Sunday 1 p.m.)
And here’s maybe the single most unlikely of the surprise teams, the Colts. Andrew Luck has been everything Jim Irsay has been saying and more. He may be still raw, but he’s got all the qualities a quarterback needs. And Indianapolis has a good offense and defense built around their Chosen One. This is a team that, as structured, will be a perennial playoff teams for years to come.
And much like the Vikings above, they’ve got the Ravens at the best possible time. The Ravens limped into the playoffs thanks to winning games against teams–like the Steelers–who ended up underperforming due to injuries. But Baltimore’s defense not only lost its most valuable player in Ray Lewis, it’s seen its other big pieces all banged up to Hell. There are holes in there–very small holes–that the Colts can exploit. Plus we’ve got the Marlboro Man’s performance degrading (oddly enough, at about the same time he shaved off that goofy fu-manchu ‘stache…a connection?). That doesn’t mean that the Ravens can’t win; if Ray Rice can get his run on, that’ll stretch the field enough for the Ravens to pass all over the Colts secondary. This game can go either way, but I’ll call it for the Ravens–they’ve been here before, they tend to play tougher in the playoffs, and they can exploit Luck’s inexperience.
Seahawks vs. Native Americans (Sunday 4:30 p.m.)
I admit it–I’m arguably looking forward to this game the most of the four. This is a meet-up between the other two surprise films. I have been rather taken with the Seahawks and their ugly-ass uniforms. Pete Carroll really has put something together here, with a tough secondary (but not as tough as one possessed by a certain group of Paper Planes; sorry, Paul) and an amazing find in Russell Wilson. Wilson is maybe even more of a great find than Luck, a man who managed to keep the team undefeated at home.
And then there’s Washington. After that disastrous season where Shanahan couldn’t decide who was his quarterback, he seems to have found the solution in RG3. As with every Shanahan team, the Native Americans’ run game is strong, and they’re kicking all sorts of ass. However, I have to stick with my contention that a running QB will never win a championship–there’s a certain massive collision in Mr. Griffin’s future if he tries to run for it, and that’ll be the end of it. When all is said and done, I trust Wilson and the Seahawks’ defense more than RG3 and Washington’s offense, resulting in a Seattle win by about a possession and a half.
The Guys Sitting This Week Out
The Sucking Black Hole Of Evil
Who They Don’t Want To See Next Week: The Ravens
If it wasn’t for a few unfortunate mistakes at the last minute, it would be Baltimore hoisting the Lombardi Trophy last year. The Ravens know how to hurry up the Crybaby Quarterback and shatter his confidence. Trust me, they do not want a post-season rubber match with this team.
Who They Do Want To See Next Week: The Colts
The Sucking Black Hole can easily exploit the inexperience of a new configuration of their old foes, resulting in one of those astronomically high scores that will fool everyone into thinking that New England is the Greatest Team EEEEeeeeevah.
Who They Don’t Want To See Next Week: The Texans
If it wasn’t for that last minute slip-up in Week 17, Houston would be where they are…plus Fetus Head will have to stare down a defense that knows how to decimate him utterly, and has had lots of experience dealing with him when he was a Colt.
Who They Do Want To See Next Week: The Bengals
Just as with the Colts above, the Bengals’ relative inexperience can be easily exploited by Fetus Head’s adaptive mind.
Who They Don’t Want To See Next Week: The Seahawks
Seattle knows San Francisco too well, and they have enough of a knowledge of their home field that it might eliminate the one advantage they might have. Add in that muscular secondary, and we’ve got a group that could bust up San Fran’s Super Bowl dreams.
Who They Do Want To See Next Week: The Packers
Precisely because Green Bay is so shaky, I can see Colin Kaepernick going insane on the banged up Pack.
Who They Don’t Want To See Next Week: The Vikings
I think as good as Atlanta is at being a game winner, the idea of facing The Vikes must give them fits, especially given how adaptable their offense seems to have been throughout the season.
Who They Do Want To See Next Week: The Native Americans
The simple fact is that whatever the results of the Seattle/Washington tilt will result in a winner who is messed up. And I can see Matty Ice, Julio Jones and the group exploiting that messed-up-edness with Washington.