Wild Card Round Preview/Predictions
With the Wild Card round starting in less than an hour, I will give this round’s preview and a prediction for each of the games. On Saturday, the AFC features 4th seed Houston Texans against the red-hot 5th Kansas City Chiefs (11-5). The second AFC game features 3rd seed Cincinnati Bengals (12-4) hosting division rival 6th seed Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6). On Sunday, the 5th seed Green Bay Packers (10-6) travel to the national capital to face the 4th seed Washington Redskins (9-7). The NFC North Champion 3rd seed Minnesota Vikings (11-5) face off the defending NFC Champion 6th seed Seattle Seahawks (10-6). Who will move on to compete in the Division Round next week?
Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) at Houston Texans (9-7)
- Kickoff: Saturday at 3:20 PM CST
- Location: NRG Stadium, Houston
- Odds: KC -3.5
- Over/Under: 39.5
After a 1-5 start, the Chiefs are on a 10-game win streak. While Houston won a weak division of the AFC South, their defense is as good as anyone’s in the NFL.
Prediction: Houston 20, Kansas City 16
Difference of the Game: JJ Watt and the Houston defense
Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (12-4)
- Kickoff: Saturday at 7:15 PM CST
- Location: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati
- Odds: PIT -2.5
- Over/Under: 45.5
After a surprising 8-0 start to the season, the Bengals finished 12-4, mainly due to the loss of quarterback Andy Dalton. While Pittsburgh is without running backs Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams, the offense led by Big Ben and Antonio Brown will be too much for Cincinnati’s defense.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 33, Cincinnati 24
Difference of the Game: Antonio Brown, Antonio Brown, Antonio Brown
Green Bay Packers (10-6) at Washington Redskins (9-7)
- Kickoff: Sunday at 3:40 PM CST
- Location: FedEx Field, Washington
- Odds: WSH -1.0
- Over/Under: 44.5
While the Packers finished the season on a terrible note, losing the division title to the Vikings, have no momentum heading into the post season. Meanwhile, Redskin quarterback Kirk Cousins has played as good as anyone in the league in the final weeks of the season.
Prediction: Washington 22, Green Bay 16
Difference of the Game: Kirk Cousins’ offensive efficiency
Seattle Seahawks (10-6) at Minnesota Vikings (11-5)
- Kickoff: Sunday at 12:05 PM CST
- Location: TCF Bank Stadium, Minnesota
- Odds: SEA -4.0
- Over/Under: 39.5
While the Vikings are coming off a division championship victory over the Packers a week ago and the return of several key defensive players, the Vikings appear to be back on track. Unlucky for them, they get to host the defending NFC champions. Seattle’s Russell Wilson has proved throughout this season he belongs in the Elite category of NFL quarterbacks.
Prediction: Seattle 26, Minnesota 24
Confidence: Very Low
Difference of the Game: Seattle’s playoff experience
Next Week’s Matchups
Pittsburgh at Denver
Houston at New England
Washington at Arizona
Seattle at Carolina