Playoffs Preview- NFC Wildcard Round
The NFC Playoffs kick off tomorrow with the first of two wildcard games as the Minnesota Vikings travel to Lambeau Field to take on the Packers.
The second wildcard game takes place on Sunday with an exciting game in store as rookie sensation Robert Griffin III leads his Washington Redskins at home vs fellow rookie quarterback Russell Wilson and the travelling Seattle Seahawks.
Now without further ado, here are my previews and predictions for the games.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Keys to the Game
When the Vikings have the ball…
Adrian Peterson vs Packers Defense
- Adrian Peterson is coming off the best statistical year of his career and this is all after coming back from an ACL and MCL injury. Peterson came up just nine yards short of setting a new NFL record for rushing yards in a season after he ran for 2,097 yards. Eric Dickerson kept his record from 1984 in tact.
- The Packers defense ranked 17th best in the league in 2012 vs the run after giving up 118.5 yards per game. The odds are that #28 runs for more than that in this game as the Vikings look to ease the pressure on quarterback Christian Ponder.
When the Packers have the ball…
Aaron Rodgers and Packers Passing Attack vs Vikings Secondary
- Aaron Rodgers may not have hit the same heights as he did in 2011 but 2012 was still a success for the Packers quarterback. Rodgers again threw for 4,000 yards whilst having a 67.2% completion percentage and a 108.0 quarterback rating.
- The Vikings defense is better suited to stopping the run as they give up over 240 yards per game through the air. The Vikes will look to Jared Allen and the rest of their pass rushers to get after Aaron Rodgers and ease the pressure on the secondary.
The Vikings have flown slightly under the radar this year and surprised many by reaching the postseason over teams like the New York Giants and Chicago Bears.
As for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, they were my Super Bowl pick before the season began but they had a number of poor performances on the way to an 11-5 record.
In this battle between two division rivals, I see the Packers coming out on top.
Vikings 24 Packers 31
Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins
Keys to the Game
When the Seahawks have the ball…
Marshawn Lynch and Seahawks Running Game vs Redskins Front Seven
- Marshawn Lynch has had a tremendous year for the Seahawks leading them to the third ranked rushing attack in the league. Lynch ran for 1,590 yards in 2012 and 11 touchdowns with rookies combining for an added 843 yards on the ground.
- Luckily for the Redskins, their defense is one of the best in the league vs the run after allowing just over 95 per game in the regular season. This defense is led by their front seven including standout players like London Fletcher and Ryan Kerrigan.
When the Redskins have the ball…
Robert Griffin III vs Seahawks Defense
- Robert Griffin III has been spectacular this season for the Redskins both passing and running the football. Griffin had over 4,000 total yards in the regular season along with 27 total touchdowns whilst his fellow rookie Alfred Morris helped out with over 1,600 yards in the backfield.
- These two rookies helped the Redskins to the number 1 ranked rushing attack in football with almost 170 yards per game. RG3 is certainly one of the most exciting quarterbacks in the Playoffs and Seahawks defenders like Bobby Wagner and Chris Clemons will be keeping taps on the Baylor star throughout the game.
The Seahawks have surpassed all expectations this season by reaching the Playoffs and much of the credit goes to quarterback Russell Wilson who had a solid rookie campaign.
Wilson’s fellow rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III had an amazing year with the Redskins and led them to their first division title since 1999.
In this battle of rookie quarterbacks, it’s RG3 and the Redskins who are my choice to win the game.
Seahawks 13 Redskins 20
So those are your previews and predictions.
For all NFL fans it is now time to get ready for postseason football as the Playoffs are back.