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NFL Playoffs: Wild Card Weekend Game Picks

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NFL Playoffs: Wild Card Weekend Game Picks

NFL Playoff Picks
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Do you smell that? No, not the New Year, I’m talking about the NFL Playoffs!

Wild Card weekend always provides some serious intrigue and in no year has that ever been any truer than this time around. From rematches to rookies, this weekend promises to have some great storylines regardless of who ends up winning on Saturday and Sunday.

Of course what could be better than a double-dose of NFL football? Having games on both days of the weekend is just a dream come true for most fans. That is why the playoffs year after year get such great ratings regardless of which teams are participating.

This year’s postseason won’t feature the Super Bowl champions from a year ago as well as three additional teams who were in the playoffs following last season. That doesn’t mean the games will get any worse ratings due to those clubs not earning their way into the tournament however.

On the contrary, actually.

That only further baffles me as to why the league would consider expanding a playoff system that is as inherently close to perfection as possible? When every team becomes a participant, the regular season loses its meaning and the idea of earning your way into the playoffs is a lost thought.

But here we are with the most exciting portion of the NFL season on the verge of commencement and several new faces set to emerge as the most recognizable in league history. Super Bowl XLVII is less than a month away and any of the dozen teams making the playoffs could be champions in that short period of time.

It’s time to breakdown the games for Wild Card weekend. Just savor the football while it lasts.

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Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans

Bengals vs. Texans
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

This tilt will be a rematch of a playoff game a year ago where the Bengals featured plenty of rookies and the Texans were without their starting man under center. Now one year later, this game promises even more excitement as Cincy has matured and the Texans are healthy. Look for drama and perhaps some solid defense as these two teams rank sixth and seventh respectively in total defense on the year. Houston has been fading down the stretch unfortunately and that downward momentum is what has me leaning toward Cincinnati.

Bengals 24 – Texans 20

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Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers

Vikes vs. Pack
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikes and Pack will be a rematch of a game played just six short days prior where Adrian Peterson came just nine yards shy of Eric Dickerson’s all-time rushing record and the Packers let their division rivals into the playoffs by losing. What may play the biggest role in this matchup is the venue as Lambeau Field could really tilt the tables in Green Bay’s favor. Look for Aaron Rodgers to be out to prove something in this game as the Packers have an easy ride in this one.

Packers 34 – Vikings 20

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Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens

Colts vs. Ravens
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

This is a classic showdown of youth versus experience as the seasoned veteran Joe Flacco begins his fifth playoff trek while Andrew Luck leads Indianapolis on his first attempt. Starting your postseason career on the road against a veteran-laden team is no easy task and Luck could be overmatched in this one. Ray Rice will get plenty of touches from offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell who faces his old team for the first time in this one. Look for the Ravens to just show their playoff medal in this contest.

Ravens 27 – Colts 16

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Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins

Seahawks vs. Skins
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Two rookie signal callers collide in this game with second overall pick Robert Griffin III meeting the 75th overall selection Russell Wilson. Both clubs are red-hot with the Skins winning their last seven while Seattle has won their last five including three blowouts. While RG3 has been fun to watch all year long, there is just something about this Seahawks team that I really like. They have a fun mentality out on the field and Pete Carroll has helped to keep this squad loose all year long. Look for Marshawn Lynch to be a dominant force in this game as Beast Mode takes over.

Seahawks 31 – Redskins 24