The countdown clock is running down, and we’re getting set for Wild Card Weekend in the NFL. It’s cliche at this point, but the field for this weekend is quite a surprise.
Coming into the season, expectations were high for Green Bay and Houston. The Packers rose up to claim the NFC North despite myriad injuries and strong competition from Chicago (before their infamous fade). Houston appeared set to claim the top overall seed, but flailed and floundered down the stretch to finish behind DEN and NE.
The Bengals and Ravens also made the field, with Cincinnati rating as just a mild surprise in a strong division.
Three of the other four participants this weekend were predicted to languish at the bottom of the standings with eyes clearly fixed down the road. Instead, the Colts and Redskins rode big seasons from their rookie QBs, and the Vikings relied on the legs of Adrian Peterson to join the dance.
Finally, you have Pete Carroll’s Seahawks. Everyone expected strong play from the defense and dominance from Marshawn Lynch. Nobody anticipated the second-half heroics of Russell Wilson. In fact, Matt Flynn was expected to be guiding this ship.
Anyway, let’s cut to the chase.
I will take the Bengals and Packers on Saturday. My sentiment on the early game has shifted, as I was more energized and confident of the Bengals being able to roll momentum and steal one in HOU. I will keep the pick, but I am feeling the Texans and Wade Phillips’ defense more as kickoff approaches.
In the late Saturday game, I am heavy on the Packers. I don’t see the Vikings lining up for another shootout.
Let’s head to Sunday and the Pagano and Lewis stories. I will take the home team to emerge victorious behind Ray Rice and Tucker’s leg.
Finally, I will take the Redskins, led by my ROY — Alfred Morris. The Washington defense has played better ball of late in the secondary, and The Beast might find running a little more difficult.
Enjoy the games, folks. We are back on FOX Sports Radio from 9a-12p ET on Sunday. More yelling in the new year.