Saturday, January 9, 2016

2015 NFL Wild Card Picks

Chiefs -3 at Texans

Houston may have home field, but Kansas City has the more complete team. They've overcome the lost of their Pro Bowl runningback better than the Texans did theirs, and Alex Smith takes care of the ball much better than Brian Hoyer. Perhaps most importantly, the Chiefs are getting Justin Houston back healthy to bolster their fearsome pass rush while Houston lost their stud left tackle, Duane Brown. I feel pretty good about Kansas City getting their first playoff win since 1994...which was also in Houston.
Rookie Marcus Peters got his first career pick off of Hoyer in Week 1, but DeAndre Hopkins beat him for 2 TDs.
Bengals +3 versus Steelers

Pittsburgh has a dangerous team with their prolific offense and opportunistic defense that is stout against the run, but I like the home 'dog with the points here. I'm not sure backup quarterback A.J. McCarron can take advantage of the Steelers' secondary, but he does have the confidence to give his numerous playmakers a shot. DeAngelo Williams getting hurt when he was so close to a remarkable 1,000 yard season was a shame, and his absence is what sealed this pick for me.
Tyler Eifert was knocked out early in the last game but provides a huge threat when healthy.

Vikings +5.5 versus Seahawks

It was a shocking 38-7 drubbing in Minnesota just a month ago, but I like the points here, as well. When Mike Zimmer's defense is at full strength like they are now, though, they are a force to be reckoned with, and I don't think they'll let things get out of hand this time. Marshawn Lynch's return being delayed again will force the red hot Russell Wilson to have to put the team on his back yet again in adverse conditions. The prospect of Seattle's imposing defensive front taking away Adrian Peterson is daunting, but he is the type of 'back that can beat an 8 man box if you keep feeding him.
The Vikings D has playmakers at each level, with Anthony Barr perhaps the best.
Packers +1 at Redskins

This was the hardest game to figure out because Washington has played so well at home, especially Kirk Cousins, but it's just so hard to trust them. Green Bay's offense inspires no confidence, either, but this is a secondary that could actually allow their receivers to get separation. Even in an off year, I think you have to go with the superior quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, and the Packers defense has been pretty steady all year, to boot.
Green Bay has talented safeties to try and take away Washington's top threat, Jordan Reed.
Last week: 5-10-1
2015 Season Total: 127-117-12

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