Only in the NFL playoffs do employees not want to be picked for an early vacation.
The league is in win-or-go-Caribbean mode now that the regular season has concluded. Twelve teams are still alive and eight will fight for their Super Bowl lives on Wild Card Weekend.
Here are predictions for which four will be sent packing.
Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins
Who does your heart pull for when Cinderella faces off against Cinderella?
Neither the Seahawks nor Redskins are supposed to be in the position that they’re in right now—the postseason—yet both has an excellence chance of going the distance because they’re on such an incredible hot streak.
Seattle and Washington each have phenomenal quarterbacks in Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III. They each have phenomenal running backs in Marshawn Lynch and Alfred Morris.
But only one of them, the Seahawks, has an elite defense and their No. 1-ranked stop unit (compared to the Skins’ 22nd) gives them the edge.
Prediction: Seattle by 3
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Adrian Peterson has rushed for 409 yards on the Packers this season.
He’ll get his numbers in their second straight showdown on Saturday, but Christian Ponder must at least somewhat compete with Aaron Rodgers for the Vikings to walk away victorious. Ponder was able to do so in Week 17 finishing with 234 passing yards and three touchdowns. But Lambeau Field in the playoffs is a different animal than the Metrodome in the regular season.
This year, each team has won on its own turf and that trend will continue.
Prediction: Green Bay by 3
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens
Indy has several Andrew Luck miracles to thank for being in the position that it’s in. And it’ll need another won to knock off the Ravens.
Baltimore’s average net points per game are 5.3 higher than the Colts’. It’s simply the more talented team on both sides of the ball.
As long as Joe Flacco doesn’t get embarrassingly outperformed by Andrew Luck, the Ravens will win by multiple scores.
Prediction: Baltimore by 10
Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans
Two weeks ago, Houston looked like a lock to clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs and Cincinnati needed a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers just to sneak into the postseason.
Oh how quickly can momentum swing?
The Bengals are now one of the hottest teams in the league winning seven of their last eight and the Texans are ice cold losing three out of their last four. Houston was outscored over that period of time by a combined 45 points.
Still, at home with a superior rushing attack, the Texans should advance. This matchup is similar to the AFC’s other in that, as long as Matt Schaub doesn’t choke, his club is too talented to be eliminated in Round 1.
Prediction: Houston by 3
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.
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