Neil’s Saturday NFL Wildcard Picks January 5, 2013  |  Neil Parker

Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans

These two teams have had incredibly unpredictable seasons. Before the Bengals recent 7 of 8 winning serge they’d lost 4 straight, while the Texans have limped into the play-offs. The Bengals defense was nonexistent until Week 10, but comes into the post season playing well, and posing a major pass rushing threat to Matt Schaub. The Texans defense was near over worldly for the most part to start the season, but they have become porous, and vulnerable to getting beat up for a lot of points. Brian Cushing’s absence is obvious, and their secondary has been beatable.

Offensively, two of the best pitch and catch combos in the league go head to head, with Andy Dalton and Matt Schaub benefitting greatly from their sure handed and big bodied dynamic receivers, A.J. Green and Andre Johnson respectively. Everyone’s favorite well-dressed philosopher Arian Foster enters the contest with something to prove, and while his counterpart Mr. Green-Ellis is obviously not in the same tier of talent, he has been effective. The Texans will have to lean on Foster in they’re going to win this game, while the Bengals will have to find offense in addition to the expected Dalton, A.J. Green combo.

Last season, the Texans beat the Bengals at home with T.J. Yates behind center, and despite concerns that they backed into the play-offs they won early and often to allow them that luxury. Momentum sides with the Bengals, clearly, but the Texans are the better football team, with superior talent, and will be the host on Saturday.

The Texans take this one by a Field Goal.


Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers

Adrian Peterson is the best player in the NFL; he deserves the hardware to showcase it for his awe-inspiring 2012 season, and finally, he has single-handedly given the Vikings the opportunity to get destroyed in Wisconsin. The Packers are a good football team, which has the potential to be a great football team. They boast tremendous receiving talent, and have been patient with injuries all season and might start their healthiest lineup to date.  That is a scary thought for the Purple People Eaters if you ask me.

The real issue with the Vikings is which Christian Ponder will show up, and whether he can go into Lambeau Field and give Adrain Peterson the chance to win the game. The Vikings won’t be able to play catch-up with him behind center, and the Vikings passing attack poses the weakest group of all the 8 teams playing this weekend. The Packers defense has been embarrassed by Peterson this season, so they’ll be doing everything they can to penetrate the offensive line and hit Peterson in the backfield.  He should have a decent game, but will it be enough?

Will the Packers even kick field goals tonight?  As great of a game as it was for Minnesota last week, with the Packers having something to play for it wasn’t do or die for Green Bay, and their best team wasn’t on the field.  Aaron Rodgers should pick apart the Vikings defense, utilizing his weapons and spreading the ball around leading a big offensive day for the Pack.  Sorry All Day, you were the man this season, but your team needs to get you some help for next season.  Green Bay has added motivation after last week, as if they need it.

Green Bay by 10, covering the spread and potentially running this up out of hand.

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