Wild Card NFL picks: Vikings, Texans, Colts and Redskins will advance
By Doug Halberstadt
Not that I needed any more reasons to dislike the Green Bay Packers, but their inability to beat the Minnesota Vikings last weekend sealed the deal. A win by the Pack would have assured a playoff spot for the Bears. We know that didn’t happen. Instead, the Vikings have the honor of playing Green Bay in the opening round of the playoffs this Saturday (Jan. 5) evening.
Minnesota will have to get by the Pack again this week if they are to advance in the playoffs. The Vikings will have to invade hostile territory to get the job done. The two teams will square off on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.
I’m thinking that might actually play right into the hands of the Vikings. Cold and/or windy conditions could wreak havoc on the passing game. That could help stifle Aaron Rodgers and his air assault. If it does come down to the running game, I give that edge to league-leading rusher Adrian Peterson and his Vikings teammates. I’m predicting a lower-scoring game than the 71-point total the two teams combined for inside the Metrodome. My prediction is Minnesota by a touchdown, 17-10.
The other Saturday game has the Cincinnati Bengals visiting Houston to take on the Texans. Even though Houston lost their last two regular-season games and the Bengals have won their final three, I’m still taking the Texans at home. This game should see at least 35 points scored. I’m predicting Houston will have the vast majority of those, the Texans 31, the Bengals 10 or less.
Sunday’s games include the Baltimore Ravens hosting the Indianapolis Colts, and a little farther down the coast, the Washington Redskins welcome the Seattle Seahawks to our nation’s capital. The Colts and Redskins are led by a pair of rookie quarterbacks. I’m going out on a limb and saying that both Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III will prevail in Sunday’s contests.
The Ravens’ defense is hampered by injuries and wasn’t nearly as formidable this season as they have been in the past. I look for Luck to expose their weakness in the secondary and come away with the victory.
The Redskins and the Seahawks are both riding winning streaks. Washington has won seven in a row and Seattle closed out the regular season with five straight wins. If this game were being played in Seattle, I think the Seahawks would stand a better chance of winning. The Seahawks were a perfect 8-0 at home this year and only 3-5 on the road. I look for RGIII to shine under the national spotlight and prove to football fans everywhere that he deserves this year’s Rookie of the Year Award. If he ends up leading Washington to the Super Bowl, he may even make a case for league MVP.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
Posted Jan. 4, 2013
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