Vikings at Packers
You don’t get much better than a division matchup in the playoffs, especially after the exciting Week 17 game we just witnessed. The two teams split the season series, with the home team winning each game.
The Vikings rode Adrian Peterson all the way to the playoffs. He came up nine yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s 28-year-old rushing record. It has helped the Vikings offense stay afloat in spite of having the worst passing offense in the NFL.
The Packers have dealt with injury issues all season—Clay Matthews, Jordy Nelson and Charles Woodson, just to name a few—yet they have become one of the best teams in the NFC.
The Packers have not lost at home since Week 1 against the 49ers.
Adrian Peterson has rushed for 409 yards and two TDs in the two previous meetings. Quarterback Christian Ponder has been hit or miss all season.
His passer rating in Week 13 at Green Bay was 41.9, and his completion percentage was less than 50 percent.
Lambeau Field is not where teams dream of playing in the playoffs, and the Vikings are 0-4 on the road outdoors in 2012. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is 4-2 in the playoffs, but has yet to win a home playoff game.
The Packers were a heavy Super Bowl favorite last year before a tough loss to the Giants in the divisional round. Peterson will likely have a great game, but it will not be enough to make up for the shortcomings in the passing game.
Ponder threw two interceptions in the first meeting and ran for his life; expect more of the same.
Packers 27 Vikings 10
Seahawks at Redskins
Well, I’ll admit, I thought the home team I’d be writing about here would be one from the Lone Star state.
The Seahawks and Redskins are coming into the playoffs as two of the hottest teams in football. Both have winning streaks of at least five games, and both boast a spectacular rookie quarterback.
The Seahawks have won five straight and seven of eight. Marshawn Lynch has led the running attack with nearly 1,500 rushing yards, and quarterback Russell Wilson continues to lead the team to wins.
The Seahawks defense has been a stingy unit all season, allowing 20-plus points in only five games this season.
The Redskins simply can’t be stopped right now. Robert Griffin III has been phenomenal this season. The Redskins have won seven straight, including five wins against divisional opponents.
Running back Alfred Morris rushed for over 1,600 yards this season and has been a huge reason as to why this team continues to win.
While Pete Carroll has his team playing at a high level right now, Seattle won’t have one of its biggest strengths against Washington: the 12th man. The Seahawks finished a perfect 8-0 at home, winning by an average of 18.5 PPG, and thrive on creating a hostile environment for opposing teams.
In contrast, the ‘Hawks are 3-5 away from CenturyLink field, and their points per game drops from 30 at home to 21 on the road. This game will be won by the quarterbacks. The edge goes to RG3, whose team is averaging 30 PPG during its winning streak.
The ‘Skins have defeated the Vikings and the Ravens at home, who both have great rushers and experienced defenses. They should match up well against a Seahawks team who has been fairly average on the road.
Redskins 27 Seahawks 20