Content Motionmakers 01/04/2013
Man in Dailymotion: NFL Playoffs — Wild Card Weekend 2013
Last week was another .500 record on predictions. I honestly didn’t think Minnesota had it in ‘em and I thought Detroit could pull out a playoff miracle for the G-Men but no dice. The playoffs are all set and there are plenty of notable storylines to go around.
You can probably expect at least one of the teams playing this weekend to appear in the Super Bowl (Seattle?). You can probably expect 2 of the 4 home teams to lose (Redskins, Texans?). You can probably expect the Texans and Ravens to not make it past the Divisional Round. Why? Well, from 1990 – 2011, 26 teams have lost three or more of their last four games of the regular season and made the playoffs (like Houston & Baltimore did), but only one of those teams have won more than one playoff game. Almost half of those teams lost their first playoff game.
But the biggest storyline is probably the rookie QBs. This is the first time in NFL history that the teams making the top two picks in the NFL draft both made the postseason in the same campaign (Colts, ‘Skins). Andrew Luck is the first QB selected first overall in the common draft era (since 1967) to start a playoff game his rookie season. RG3 and Russell Wilson are the first two rookie QBs in NFL history to finish the season with a passer rating of 100.0 or above. See? It’s not so hard, Ryan Leaf, JaMarcus Russell, and every other top 5 QB draft bust.
Excited? You should be. Here’s my breakdown of Wild Card Weekend along with predictions and some ‘visual aid’ of each host city’s tailgate scene thanks to Tailgate 32 (a docu series following 2 brothers as they tour the country in a 42-foot RV on a 25,000-mile nonstop trek). Let’s get WILD!
Saturday, January 5th, 2013
4:30 pm ET – #6 Bengals (10-6) at #3 Texans (12-4) on NBC
CINCINNATI – The Bengals are… interesting. When you look at their league ranks across the board – they’re below the middle of the pack – 22nd in yards, 17th in pass yards, 18th in rushing yards. After going 3-5 in the first half of their season, Cincy reeled off a 7-1 record with their only loss coming by 1 point to Dallas.
The only injury of concern for the black and orange is starting RB Benjarvus Green-Ellis who’s been limited in practice with a bum hammy. Even if he plays, I don’t see him contributing much, which means the workload will rest on Andy Dalton avoiding Houston’s pressure and delivering perfect throws to AJ Green, Jermaine Gresham and Andrew Hawkins.
HOUSTON – Yikes. The Texans have lost three of their last 4 games, getting blown out by New England then losing by double digits to Minnesota and Indianapolis. Could it be fatigue? Losing homefield advantage was huge. Losing a first round bye was huge. All signs point to a heartbreaking defeat on their home turf. Can JJ Watt wreak havoc? Can Arian Foster find a seam or three to take pressure off of Matt Schaub? Will Matt Schaub finally show his playoff worth? You have to be nervous as a Houston fan but that energy should translate into a loud, raucous environment for the Red Rocket and crew to handle.
PREDICTION: HOU – 21, CIN – 17
MINNESOTA – I didn’t think the Vikings had it in ‘em last week, especially with Green Bay shooting for the #2 seed and a first round bye. But AP went off, racking up ~200 yards on the ground and falling just short of Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record. Now, playing under the dome on turf is one story – making cuts on the ice-encrusted grass of Lambeau is another.
GREEN BAY – Stop “Purple Jesus” and you stop the Vikings. It’s really that simple. Christian Ponder isn’t going to beat them. However, here are the issues for Green Bay on offense – no real rushing attack and their top receiver Randall Cobb is banged up and Jordy Nelson isn’t 100% percent. The Pack needs to sack up on D.
PREDICTION: GB – 27, MINN – 20
Sunday January 6th, 2013
1:00 pm ET – #5 Colts (11-5) at #4 Ravens (10-6) on CBS
INDY – Luck has committed 17 turnovers (and notched 13 touchdowns) in eight road games this season while taking 41 sacks. If this game is in Indy, I’d give the Colts the edge, but with Ray Lewis announcing his retirement, Baltimore will be playing out of their minds. Also, Indy ranked 29th in the league in rushing defense.
BALTIMORE – Which Joe Flacco will show up? He’s the first quarterback to lead his team to the playoffs in his first 5 seasons, but his performance down the stretch of the regular season is best characterized as inconsistent. But, Ray Rice will run wild and that will alleviate the pressure on Flacco. Mix in Ray Lewis’ last playoff run and B-more will be a madhouse.
PREDICTION: BAL – 26, INDY – 23
4:30 pm ET – #5 Seahawks (11-5) at #4 Redskins (10-6) on FOX
SEATTLE – Historically, the team is considerably stronger at home, but they’ve looked just as potent on the road this year. Offensively, they got off to a slow start but have put up the most points in the league over the last 5 weeks. Russell Wilson has thrown 16 TD passes against 2 INTs in his past 8 games. Even though they’re ranked 27th in the league in passing offense, the Redskins secondary is suspect allowing 281.9 yards a game. “Beast Mode” and the #3 rushing attack in the league might have some trouble early on in the game since Washington only allows 95.8 rushing yards per game, but he could prove to be the difference in the 4th quarter.
WASHINGTON – In a year that has seen several rookie QBs exceed expectations, Alfred Morris has thrown his hat in the ring for Rookie of the Year with some monster performances to end the season. However, he and RG3 will be going up against one of the best – if not THE best – defenses in the league. FedEx Field should be rockin’ so Russell Wilson will be put to the test. Likewise, how will RG3 respond when his receivers are bottled up by those big Seattle DBs?
PREDICTION: SEA – 24, WASH – 21
AFC WILD CARD
Texans beat Bengals
Ravens beat Colts
Broncos beat Ravens
Patriots beat Texans
Broncos beat Patriots
NFC WILD CARD
Packers beat Vikings
Seahawks beat Redskins
49ers beat Packers
Seahawks beat Falcons
Seahawks beat 49ers
Seahawks beat Broncos
WRITTEN BY: Neal – the Editor & Content Manager for Dailymotion’s Sports Channel.
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