Storylines For the 8 teams involved in this weekend’s Wild Card games, the journey to the Superbowl begins here; it is a long and arduous journey but not an impossible one. Take for instance the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers that made history by becoming one of the first Wild Card teams to win the Superbowl; and let us not forget the 2007 New York Giants whom were underdogs against an undefeated New England Patriots when the faced them in the Superbowl; they also made history by winning the big prize as a wild card team. So perhaps this long road to the Superbowl is advantageous.
Perhaps the question for the Green Bay Packers this weekend is not whether they can beat the Minnesota Vikings, rather if they can stop Adrian Peterson. After another dominant rushing performance past Sunday where he gained 199 yards on 34 carries, the packers know that the key to beating the Vikings is stopping Adrian Peterson. Inversely, the Vikings should be aware of the fact that if the Packers do find a way to relegate Peterson on ground, it will definitely threaten their ability to produce the offense needed to win. This will be an intriguing game to see who will be able to implement their game plan and move to the next round.
In a battle of two young guns, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson will try to use his athletic ability and underrated football IQ, to defeat Robert Griffin III and his Washington Redskins. There is no secrets to the RGIII’s physical abilities, but I believe this will be a game that the nation will be introduced to arguably the NFL’s best kept secret in Russell Wilson. With this in mind, this game may come down to defense, and what is not kept secret is what the Seahawks defense has been doing to opposing teams in the last 3 weeks; dominant defensive performances. With the Redskins, the key will be do neutralize this defense by running their play action plays which are arguably the best in the league, and render it ineffective. Definitely a game not to miss
With new of the great Ray Lewis pending retirement at the end of the playoffs, there is now a new sense of urgency for the Baltimore Ravens to win this weekend against Andrew Luck and his Indianapolis Colts. At this point, the Ravens cannot be distracted with the idea of life without Ray Lewis; this is a team that has struggled as of late losing 4 of their last 5 games. More importantly, the question whether Ray will be healthy enough to play an entire game, help lead his team to victory and extend his season for at least another week. This will no doubt be an emotionally charged game
Perhaps no one is anticipating this match more than Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, as he will finally get the chance to redeem himself against the same Houston Texans team that beat him in the 2011 playoffs. Though it is well known about the Texans defensive front four, perhaps the front four to pay attention to is the Bengals defense with the likes of Geno Atkins, Michael Johnson, Carlos Dunlap, and Domata Peko . Expect this to be an intense match on both sides of the ball, and it may be decided in dramatic fashion
NFL Week 1 Playoffs Predictions
Vikings vs. Packers – I believe this game will be a repeat of Sunday. The Packers defense cannot seem to handle the rushing attack of Adrian Peterson. I expect a better effort than last week from the Packers defense, but Christian Ponder will do the necessary job to ensure the win for his team.
Seahawks vs. Redskins – Unfortunately for RGIII, they are going up against a very different beast than last week. If I refer back to their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers a few months ago, the play action offense was very ineffective against a good defense; the Seahawks physical play on defense will likely overwhelm RGIII. On offense, people will see that Russell Wilson is hard for any defense to handle.
Colts vs. Ravens – The Colts are coming off a big win against a very potent defense last week, as of late, the Ravens defense has not been the dominant ensemble it once was. Even with the presence of Ray Lewis, I see the Ravens losing a very close contested match.
Bengals vs. Texans – As much as I would like to say Andy will get his revenge, they’re playing a good Texans team at their home turf. I believe JJ Watt will create turnovers that will be the deciding factor in this game.