Wild Card Weekend Predictions

Michael Peters '16 and David Loughran'16, Managing Editor and Sports Section Editor

Many people will be glued to their television sets this weekend, as the NFL playoffs kick off in full force

with the Wild Card Round. Eight teams will enter and only four will continue on. There are a lot of great

games to watch, and without further ado, here are our predictions for the games.


SATURDAY (1/9/16)

Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans (4:35 PM)

DAVID: Kansas City has won TEN straight games, and the team doesn’t show any signs of stopping. Quarterback Alex Smith has been fantastic this season for the Chiefs, at one point going nine games without a single turnover. And Kansas City boasts the number six ranked rushing attack in the league, so this will be an offensive vs defense matchup. On the other side, the Houston Texans rank seventh in total defense, tenth against the run. Oh, and they have the best defensive player in the league, J.J. Watt. I’m going with the CHIEFS 26‐18.

MIKE: The Chiefs are one of the hottest teams in football right now, and though the Texans won their division and will be rewarded with a home playoff game, they don’t have enough of an offense to keep up with their opponent. The Houston defense is good, but Kansas City is better, and the Chiefs also don’t make many mistakes on offense. They are the overall better team. I have the CHIEFS winning 28-10.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (8:15 PM)

DAVID: The Pittsburgh Steelers and their extremely potent offense (fifth in the league in points at 26.4) are going up against the similarly as potent offense of the Bengals (seventh in the league in points at 26.2). However, unfortunately for the Bengals, they will be without their starting quarterback, Andy Dalton. Instead, AJ McCarron will get the start, in what will be only his fourth start. (The Bengals have won two of the three games McCarron has started). The Steelers are not completely healthy either, and they may be without their starting running back DeAngelo Williams who has amassed 900 yards and 11 touchdowns this season for the Steelers. Pittsburgh and Cincinnati have similar defenses as well, so this one is a toss‐up. I’m going with the STEELERS, 31‐27.

MIKE: This is the most interesting game of the weekend. It is the only divisional matchup, so these teams know plenty about each other. However, with injuries on both sides (Andy Dalton for the Bengals; Deangelo Williams for the Steelers), adjustments will still need to be made. I think AJ McCarron has played very well for the Bengals, and even though they have the better defense and are playing at home, I believe their playoff struggles will continue. I’m going with the better quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger (and his plethora of weapons at wide receiver). I think the STEELERS will win 31-24.

SUNDAY (1/10/16)

Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings (1:05 PM)

DAVID: It’s going to be a cold one up in Minnesota for this game. It’s being reported that temperatures could get as low as fifteen degrees BELOW ZERO! Brrr. In that type of weather, it would appear that both teams are going to rely heavily on the run game. Lucky for the Vikings they have Adrian Peterson, the 2015 rushing champ. Peterson has 1485 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season for Minnesota. On the other side of it, the Seahawks will be getting their star running back returning from injury. Marshawn Lynch will most likely be starting, which will most certainly give the Seahawks a boost, who have been without Lynch since Week eleven. Both teams have come off impressive wins the week before (Minnesota defeating rival Green Bay, and Seattle beating their rival Arizona). I’m going with the SEAHAWKS 27‐17.

MIKE: This game will not be close. The Seattle Seahawks are playing like the best team in football, led by their outstanding defense (who struggled initially but worked their way back to their normal excellence) and Russell Wilson (who also struggled early, but is now playing like a top-five QB). Seattle blew out Minnesota (in Minnesota) earlier this season. I don’t see any reason why it doesn’t happen again. Seattle has a better team in all facets, and I have the SEAHAWKS winning 38-13.

Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins (4:40 PM)

DAVID: The Aaron Rodgers we all know has been absent the past few weeks, looking more like a middle of the “pack” quarterback rather than the elite quarterback he usually is. The past three weeks Rodgers has thrown both a touchdown and an interception (which is VERY rare for him), and has a completion percentage hovering around 59%. Whereas the Packers are having some quarterback troubles, it seems the Redskins are in pretty good shape with Kirk Cousins at the helm. Cousins has thrown ELEVEN touchdowns and ZERO interceptions in his last 3 games, and has a completion percentage in those games of 79, 67, and 80. All appreciably better than Rodgers. But Aaron Rodgers is Aaron Rodgers, and I believe he will find his form and lead his Packers to victory. I’m going with the PACKERS 31‐20.

MIKE: This is the only pick in which I disagree with David this week. While I think Aaron Rodgers of the Packers is the better overall quarterback, Kirk Cousins has been arguably the best QB in football over the past few weeks. Also, Aaron Rodgers doesn’t have many chances to use his talent because his offensive line refuses to block for him, and he is constantly under pressure. Washington has a good defensive line, and I think a lot of people underestimate their momentum coming into this home game. I have the REDSKINS winning, 23-17.

Super Bowl Predictions:

DAVID: Arizona Cardinals over Denver Broncos, 27-24

MIKE: Seattle Seahawks over Kansas City Chiefs, 24-14