In my final NFL Rankings of the year, HERE the top 8 teams are the teams that I believe will be standing after this weekend. In this blog, I tell which four teams I think survive play and which four are looking at ending their seasons.
Let’s start in the AFC where I feel more confident in how things will go down this weekend in the NFL playoffs.
Bengals @ Texans: These two teams met in the playoffs last year with Houston easily taking care of the Bengals 31-10. Lately, the Texans offense has struggled scoring less than 20 points in 3 of their last 4 games.
The Bengals squeezed into the playoffs by beating a Steelers team that has a QB who has been giving the ball away like Romo. But make no mistake, both the Bengals and Texans are for real on the defensive side of the ball.
I like the Texans in this game simply because they are playing at home where I think they will put things together well enough to advance.
Prediction: Texans 24 Bengals 17
Colts @ Ravens: The Ravens are entering the playoffs with very little momentum as they have lost 4 of their last 5 games including a beat down from the Broncos at home. Typically the Ravens are unbeatable at home but have gone 6-2 this season.
The Colts led by rookie QB Andrew Luck have improved tremendously over last season. With Luck, the Colts can definitely go into Baltimore and compete. But still I think the playoff experience of the Ravens will give them an advantage along with playing at home.
To beat the Ravens, the Colts need a rushing game and they just aren’t quite there yet.
Prediction: Ravens 31 Colts 24
Vikings @ Packers: These teams played last Sunday with the Vikings in a must win situation to make the playoffs. Led by the amazing Peterson, the Vikes won the game and an opportunity to go to Green Bay to face the Packers again. When these teams last met in Green Bay, the Packers won 23-14. In that game, Peterson got his yards (210) and Aaron Rodgers got his too.
I look for this playoff game to be similar to their meeting in Green Bay. In order to advance in the playoffs the Vikings will need more productivity from their QB Ponder, which just isn’t quite happening yet. Ponder has a QB rating of 82 while Rodgers is at the top of the NFL with a 108 rating.
The Packers aren’t likely to shut down Peterson but too much Rodgers for the Vikings will end their season.
Prediction: Packers 31 Vikings 21
Seahawks @ Redskins: This is the game to see this weekend in my opinion. And it represents the toughest game to pick too. The Redskins enter the playoffs on a roll winning their last seven games. Of those wins, only one came against a playoff team which was a 3 point win over the Ravens.
The Redskins are led by their sensational rookie….no not RG, Alfred Morris, who rushed for 200 yards against the Cowboys in winning the NFC East last weekend.
A key to the Redskins success is that they have not turned the ball over and have the fewest give aways of any team in the NFL. A running game, solid defense, and no turnovers is a formula for success in the playoffs.
The Seahawks are a team that is also on a roll with five wins in a row and a couple of those were absolute beat downs of their opponents. One of their last five wins was against a playoff team, the 49ers, however I don’t believe that the 49ers were really into that game as they didn’t need to win it, to clinch the division.
On the road the Seahawks are just 3-5 this season however I was impressed with their recent win at Chicago. The Seahawks are a solid defense against the run and rank in the top 10 NFL teams at stopping the run. If any NFC team can match the physical play of the Redskins, it will be the Seahawks.
These teams are even in so many areas with great RBs and solid play from rookie QBs.
I think that overall the Seahawks defensive line will be the difference in this one as they pressure RG3 who is recovering from a knee injury. While the Redskins were 2-3 against playoff teams this season, the Seahawks were 4-1.
Prediction: Seahawks 21 Redskins 20