Gridiron Guesses: Wild Card Weekend
The matchups are set, the players are ready and the fans are beyond eager. All you’re missing now is cheese for the nachos, and, of course, CTV.ca's picks!
Now, here at CTV.ca headquarters, we tend to invest our time in "McDreamy" articles and leave the "RG3" analysis up to the experts at TSN.
With that being said, Khloe Kardashian's "X Factor" hosting inspired us to try something new ourselves.
Without further adieu, here’s our first installment of predictions for the 2012-13 NFL Playoffs.
Don’t bet your house on them, just the dog. Note: Don’t actually bet the dog, either.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Houston Texans (-4.0)
Game time (EST): 4:30 p.m. Saturday, January 5, 2013
On paper, one would naturally assume that the Texans win this match handily.
I like trees, but I disagree with paper on this one.
The Bengals are one of the NFL's hottest teams right now, with quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green lighting up the league's best pass defenses on a weekly basis.
The Texans, on the other hand, are reeling, having lost their final two regular season contests, including their final one against the Indianapolis Colts that would have clinched and first-round bye and home-field advantage for them throughout the AFC playoffs.
The Bengals will escape Wild Card Weekend in a close one before being eliminated the following week by a rested Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.
Prediction: Bengals 24 Texans 21
Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers (-7.5)
Game time (EST): 8 p.m. Saturday, January 5, 2013
This divisional matchup has the potential to be the weekend's tightest game or biggest blowout.
The Packers should win the game, but the score will depend entirely on whether they're able to do something they (and many others) failed to accomplish in two contests between these divisional foes this season: isolate Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.
In his two games against the Pack this year, Peterson has amassed an incredible 421 total yards and three touchdowns.
The loss of wide receiver Percy Harvin, combined with an inconsistent Christian Ponder at quarterback, will prove insurmountable against a Green Bay team that's getting healthy at the right time.
Why will the Packers win? Experience, depth and Lambeau Field.
Prediction: Packers 35 Vikings 24
Indianapolis Colts vs. Baltimore Ravens (-6.5)
Game time (EST): 1 p.m. Sunday, January 6, 2013
The Ravens won their division and beat stronger opponents than the Colts did this season.
But since falling into a funk and firing offensive coordinator Cam Cameron in early December, their woes didn't go away. In fact, they got much worse.
The Colts, on the other hand, have been riding the hot hand of rookie sensation Andrew Luck, losing only once since being decimated by the New England Patriots on Nov. 18.
The Ravens have a healthy Ray Lewis back, but the Colts have "Luck" on their side.
Take the Colts to win the game and cover the spread.
Prediction: Colts 27 Ravens 24
Seattle Seahawks (-3.0) vs. Washington Redskins
Game time (EST): 4:30 p.m. Sunday, January 6, 2013
This game should be nothing short of electrifying.
With rookie rivals (and soon-to-be Offensive Rookie of the Year nominees) facing off for the first time in primetime, Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III (RG3) will need to give their all for their respective team to win.
The Seahawks have been extraordinarily hot, winning five in a row by an unfathomable margin of 193-60, while nearly snatching the NFC West title from the San Francisco 49ers.
The Redskins had to fight to make it in, winning in the final quarter of a game where Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo threw three costly interceptions.
Both teams have the potential to be explosive on offense with talented quarterbacks and fearless running backs, but only one team has a Super Bowl-calibre defense.
The Seahawks should win the game on their way to claiming the NFC Championship.
Prediction: Seahawks 28 Redskins 21