Are you ready for some PLAYOFF football? I am and I can’t wait until the first game kicks off this weekend! Here’s my outlook for both AFC Wildcard matchups this weekend:
A rematch from last season’s AFC Wildcard round that was won by the Texans, but I have a feeling this one will have a different ending for the home team. The Texans come into this game heading the wrong way with losses in three of their last four games to close out the regular season. They went from the AFC’s #1 seed to hosting a Wildcard game because of their late season slump.
QB Matt Schaub hasn’t been playing very well in recent weeks with only one TD pass over the last four games to end the season. Shaub will also be making the first playoff start of his nine-year career. If RB Arian Foster can get the running game going it will help out his QB in a big way. The Texans are 7-0 when Foster gets 100 yards.
The Bengals have won seven of their last eight games with the loss coming on a last second field goal. The defense has really came on over the second half of the season and finished with 51 sacks.
QB Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green form one of the best tandems in the NFL and will look to exploit a suspect Texans secondary. They are far better equipped to handle this postseason trip to Texas and will take care of business this time.
My Pick: Bengals 24-20
This game is filled with so many storylines, but I’m going to focus on the most important thing, the game. The Colts have come a long way with rookie QB Andrew Luck and first year head coach Chuck Pagano moving the franchise into the post Peyton Manning era with this unexpected playoff berth, but it ends here, sorry.
I know the Ravens finished the regular with a rough patch that saw them go from 9-2 to 10-6, but this battle tested group will be ready to roll. The defense will be getting leader Ray Lewis back on the field for the first time since Oct. 14 and pass rushing nightmare Terrell Suggs will take the field with his longtime mentor for the first time this season. You can never forget about the always dangerous Ed Reed lurking in the secondary.
The announcement of Lewis’s impending retirement after this year’s playoff run ends will only add more electricity to the always pumped up home crowd. It’s a good thing M&T Bank Stadium doesn’t have a roof because a major repair project would be coming after Lewis gets announced coming out of the tunnel.
I look for RB Ray Rice to have a monster game against the Colts horrible run defense. QB Joe Flacco isn’t flashy, but has loads of playoff experience and will be his usual steady self. Flacco has won four straight playoff openers to start his NFL career.
My Pick: Ravens 34-23