Now that the regular season has determined who the 6 team are that will vie for the coveted Lombardi trophy, let’s take a look at the Saturday’s Wild Card match ups of the first round of these 2013 playoffs.
Game 1 Bengals vs Texans. The Texans have gone into a slid losing the last 2 games of the year and losing the #1 seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Psychologically, it has to have an adverse affect on this football team. You want to be peaking at this time of the year, not looking for answers.
The Bengals defensively present some problems for the Texans as one of the leagues better units. They lead the league in sacks and can generate pressure with just their front 4 as well as Mike Zimmer’s sophisticated blitz package. The main factor for the Texans will be if they can get Arian Foster going. If they can the pressure on Matt Schaub will be minimal and he will be able to manage the game, if not the Texans will lose this game. Matt Schaub in my opinion is the lynch pin, he can make all of the throws, but he becomes very average when he has to carry the team throwing it 40 plus times.
The Bengals offense can present some issues with their run game with BenJarvis green-Ellis and Andy Dalton has enough good receivers (AJ Green & co) to utilize play-action passing. The Texans defense has struggled, teams have beat them with balance and Marvin Lewis knows they cannot allow JJ Watt and that Texans defense to tee off on Dalton. The Bengals will make the Texans one dimensional to take the win, 24-14.
Game 2, Vikings vs Packers, it is hard enough to play a team twice in one season, let alone a third time. They know each other extremely well and know what the dynamics are of winning and losing this match up. The Packers need to limit Adrian Peterson and that’s a tall order; he’s rushed for 409 yds on 55 carries and 3 TD’s in the 2 previous games. If they can make the Vikings one dimensional Christian Ponder will struggle.
Aaron Rodgers has the full compliment of his receiving corp available, the Packers will post points. A running game will make the Packers indefensible, but they’ve struggled to find a rushing attack all season, the Vikings consistently pressured Rodgers last week. Some tweaks and adjustments are forthcoming for the Packer offense and the Vikings secondary is beat up, Rodgers will look to take advantage of the Vikings young replacements. They will be groomed and coached to expect to see the previous Packers tendencies, but McCarthy and Rodgers adjustments will make a huge difference. Packers win 32-14.