NFL Predictions- Wildcard Round
First lets tie up the loose ends from the season. It was a poor finish to the season as the week 17 blues kind of hit me against the spread where I finished with a 5-11 record. Straight up was 10-6. Anyway from week 4 onward I used my efficiency ratings to predict the scores and finished with a record of 151-91 straight up and 125-117 against the spread. I missed the one week due to the hurricane which is why Im a week short in the records. Last year worked out better with 168 straight up wins and 148 wins ATS, though I fared a bit better this year than in 2010. Anyway I donít think anyone cared much about that so lets get to the wildcard games.
Bengals(+4.5) over TEXANS- Two months ago the Texans would have been favored by 8 points, now they donít deserve to be favored by anything. Houston has simply trended down for weeks now while the Bengals have played much better football. The Bengals have the biggest playmaker on the field in AJ Green and if the Bengals offensive line keeps Andy Dalton clean they will pick that secondary apart. The problem with Houston is that the offense is so bland with Matt Schaub at QB and the running game can only get them so far. It should be a close game that the Bengals have a good chance to win outright. Bengals 23 Texans 21
Vikings(+7.5) over PACKERS- If your team is not going to be in the playoffs there are few things as fun as watching prime time football in January coming from Green Bay. The one thing that scares me about taking Minnesota here with the points is the fact that they spent themselves last week to win a game at home and there may be nothing left in the tank. Aaron Rodgers, who was the best QB in the NFL this season, vs Christian Ponder is a mismatch of epic proportions. For as great as Adrian Peterson was last week and has been this season the playoffs are usually a different animal especially in the cold. Minnesota has to get Rodgers onto the ground early to avoid this becoming a shootout because that is a game that the Vikings simply can not win. Packers with the win but they wont cover. Packers 26 Vikings 21
RAVENS(-7.5) over Colts- I think everyone knows my feelings on Indianapolis. They donít have quality wins. They often get blown out, especially on the road, by anyone with a pulse. I donít even think its fair to compare RGIII and Andrew Luck. I think Griffin is on another planet. The Colts are a byproduct of an easy schedule and a QB that has been able to buck the odds late in games and redeem what have been pretty mediocre overall games, which I guess is not that different from Eli Manning early in his career with the Giants. Joe Flacco will have a lot of pressure on him to perform for Baltimore but I tend to think that this will be Ray Riceís game to simply take over early. When you factor in the crowd and the Ray Lewis retirement this has the potential to be a 40 point win in my mind. At the least Id be surprised if Baltimore is ever in danger regardless of what the final score ends up reading. Ravens 28 Colts 19
Seahawks(-3.5) over REDSKINS- Iíll be pulling for the Redskins, but I donít think this will even be a game. The Seahawks are scary good right now. They remind of a more confident version of the 2009 Jets with the terrific defense, only their QB has made that leap to where he is confident in himself in a way Mark Sanchez never was. That Jets team would have won the Super Bowl had they had a more polished QB and Russell Wilson might give the Seahawks enough to do that. Washington relies so heavily on those interior runs and that will not work against this team. While I think RGIII could get outside on them and take off its pretty clear from the Cowboy game that he is not 100%. The only advantage that the Redskins may have in this game is the coaching, but Mike Shanahan is only 1-3 in the Wildcard round in the playoffs. Sehawks 29 Redskins 17