You hear that?
That's the squeaky sound of people everywhere leaning back in their desk chairs, daydreaming about the NFL playoffs.
The Wild Card Weekend matchups in the NFC this season are enough to make football fans toss and turn all day and night, going through all the scenarios in their excited (and troubled) minds.
Here's a look at who I see winning the NFC's Wild Card Round matchups this season, complete with schedule information.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
When: Saturday, Jan. 5 at 8 p.m. ET
This should be a great game. Anybody who saw the Vikings' dismantling of the Green Bay defense in Week 17 knows Minnesota is capable of defeating the NFC powerhouse.
The difference for me is that this game will be played at Lambeau Field. The Vikings are 3-5 in away games this season, while the Packers are 7-1 at home (with their only loss at Lambeau coming to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1).
The last time Green Bay faced Minnesota at home, it was a 23-14 victory in Week 13.
While there is simply no stopping Adrian Peterson this season, he rushed for 210 yards and a touchdown in Week 13 and the Vikings still lost. That's because second-year quarterback Christian Ponder struggled, going 12-of-25 for 119 yards with one touchdown to two interceptions.
At home this season, Ponder is averaging 7.0 yards per pass attempt, with 11 touchdowns to six interceptions. Away from home, he's averaging 5.3 yards per attempt with seven touchdowns to six interceptions.
Prediction: Packers 31, Vikings 24
Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins
Where: FedEx Field, Landover, MD
When: Sunday, Jan. 6 at 4:30 p.m. ET
The Seahawks are much less dangerous away from CenturyLink Field (3-5), but that doesn't change the fact that this team is rolling on both offense and defense.
Seattle has won five straight games, outscoring its opponents 193-60 in that span. That includes a 42-13 dismantling of the 49ers in Week 16.
The Redskins, of course, are not to be taken lightly either. They've won seven straight games, including beating the Dallas Cowboys twice to win the NFC East.
But the Seahawks defense should be the final factor in this matchup. Seattle has allowed 15.3 points per game this season—the best mark in the league. That includes stifling the Cowboys, Packers, New England Patriots and 49ers.
They held the 49ers to 4.3 yards per carry in Week 16 and have allowed 6.2 yards per pass attempt this season (third in the NFL).
Prediction: Seahawks 27, Redskins 24
NFL Wild Card Round Schedule
|Cincinnati at Houston||Saturday, Jan. 5 at 4:30 p.m. ET||NBC|
|Minnesota at Green Bay||Saturday, Jan. 5 at 8 p.m. ET||NBC|
|Indianapolis at Baltimore||Sunday, Jan. 6 at 1 p.m. ET||CBS|
|Seattle at Washington||Sunday, Jan. 6 at 4:30 p.m. ET||FOX|
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