NFL Wild Card Weekend Preview
It’s a new year and a couple of new faces heading into Wild Card Weekend. In recent history, there has been many Super Bowl Champions that were wild card teams (Packers 2011, Giants 2012). Let’s take a look at this weekend’s matchup:
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Houston Texans – This is a rematch from last year wild card playoff game. The Texans won the game with their third string QB and was eliminated from the postseason the following week in Baltimore. Texans fans can feel good this time around by having their starter Matt Schaub in at QB this time. At one time in the season, many thought that the Texans were the best team in the league. With the Texans losing their last three out of four games, you have to worry about the confidence this team will be playing with. The Bengals finally got over the hump of beating one of their division foes in the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 16. Now with an emerging defense and rising stars Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, this Bengals team is looking to reach the next level. This young team has the experience of losing to this same Texans team last year so we will be in for a great game.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers – We don’t have to look too far to see how these two teams will match up against each other. Just last week these two teams played in a great finish as the Vikings won the game to make it to the playoffs and Adrian Peterson became the 7th player in NFL History to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season. Watch for the Packers to commit 8-9 players just to stop A.P. It didn’t work last week but being at home in Lambeau Field could give the Packers some extra incentive to keep momentum by stopping the run. With Peterson playing the way he has, it is up to Aaron Rodgers to strike early and often because the Vikings will most likely control the time of possession.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Baltimore Ravens – Emotions will be at an all-time high at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. The Colts has had to deal with adversity all season long. Coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia during the season. The team rallied around their Coach and won 11 games this year to be in the playoffs. Now with Pagano back, the young Colts team will be fired up with plenty of emotion to not only win for themselves, but for their Coach. Not to mention, Pagano is going back to where he was the Defensive Coordinator for years. With this game being Ray Lewis last home game of his career, the home crowd will be filled with passion and emotion. The leader, the motivator, the man, Ray Lewis has meant so much not only to the Baltimore Ravens but the city of Baltimore. His teammates will do everything in their will to keep winning for Ray Lewis, a first ballot Hall of Famer.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Washington Redskins – Two Rookie QB’s will go head to head in a matchup featuring two of the hottest teams going into the playoffs. Everyone knows the impact that Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III has had on their franchise but it is the teammates of these young men that have helped tremendously. Alfred Morris of the Redskins has been a force to be wrecking with. The triple option and spread offensive the Redskins are working has caught the entire league off guard. Will the Seahawks crack the code? The defense of the Seahawks should get more credit than what they had. Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner are two of the most physical CB’s in the game today. They have intimidated their opponents this year with their size and physical play. This should be a great matchup.