Houston Texans 19, Cincinnati Bengals 13 (Prediction: Texans 34, Bengals 27)
Arian Foster has carried the ball a lot this season – 351 times to be exact. On Saturday, he and J.J. Watt carried the Texans to a first round victory against the Cincinnati Bengals. Foster finished with 140 yards on 32 carries.
Like I said in my preview, this one was going to come down to containing A.J. Green and not getting beat on a defensive or special teams play. The Texans got their special teams play with four field goals from Shayne Graham.
Andy Dalton just wasn’t good enough in this game. He was 14 for 30 with an interception and QBR of 15.8. Things weren’t pretty. BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran the ball for 63 yards on 11 carries, but never got a chance to get going as Houston held the ball for almost 39 minutes.
You can’t win ball games when your drives result in: Punt, Punt, Punt, Punt, End of Half, Punt, Field Goal, Interception, Field Goal. The only touchdown came from a 21-yard interception return by Leon Hall.
With the win, the Texans get a date with the New England Patriots in next week’s Divisional Round. In their last meeting, the Patriots slaughtered the Texans 42-14.
Green Bay Packers 24, Minnesota Vikings 10 (Prediction: Vikings 23, Packers 21)
When I made this prediction, I thought the getting-sort-of-hot Christian Ponder was going to be the starting quarterback. Make no mistake about it, though, I was wrong. Ponder was inactive and it wouldn’t have mattered if he was on the field. Joe Webb filled in with a below-average 11 for 30, 180 yard day. For some reason, Adrian Peterson carried the ball only 22 times to Webb’s 30 passes.
There was one other thing I didn’t take into consideration – Aaron Rodgers was playing. I don’t know what would have driven me, or anyone else, to wager against Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau in a playoff game. I apologize for doing it.
Charles Woodson summed it up nicely, “No disrespect to Ponder, but…it’s about one guy and that’s Adrian Peterson. Our main focus, whether it was Ponder or Webb, was to keep 28 (Peterson) from getting off. And if we were going to keep him from getting off, put the ball in the quarterback’s hands, whatever quarterback it was, we felt good about what was going to happen.”
The Packers will get a date with the San Francisco 49ers next week in the Divisional Round. In their first meeting this year in Week One, the 49ers won by a score of 30-22.
Baltimore Ravens 24, Indianapolis Colts 9 (Prediction: Ravens 38, Colts 20)
Ray Lewis will live to ride another weekend. He led the Ravens with 13 tackles and helped to absolutely stifle Andrew Luck in his playoff debut. In my Wild Card Preview, I talked about the emotion that would be present in this game. After the game, the Ravens let us know that it was still there, “I wanted Denver because they beat us…I came to Baltimore to win a championship. We all did,” said Anquan Boldin.
As is generally true, I was unimpressed with the play of Joe Flacco. He had a decent day, though, going 12 for 23 for 282 yards and two touchdowns. Ray Rice was the surprise of the day. He lost two fumbles and saw Bernard Pierce get 13 carries for 103 yards – slightly better than Rice’s 15 carries for 70 yards.
The young Colts played a decent game, but couldn’t seem to close the door on any drives. Luck threw the ball an incredible 54 times, completing 28 passes for 288 yards and one interception. Vick Ballard ran the ball 22 times for 91 yards and Reggie Wayne had a vintage nine catch 114 yard performance. Things are still looking up in Indy.
The Ravens get a date with the streaking Denver Broncos next week. Three weeks ago, the Broncos beat the Ravens 34-17. Those Ravens didn’t have Ray Lewis, though.
Seattle Seahawks 24, Washington Redskins 14 (Prediction: Seahawks 27, Redskins 13)
Everything that I thought would happen, happened. Robert Griffin was hobbled by his knee injury and didn’t look the same (10 for 19, 84 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 5 rush, 21 yards). Russell Wilson stepped up in a big way (15 for 26, 187 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 8 rush, 67 yards). Seattle’s defense played great, especially against the run – holding the league’s best rushing team to a total of 104 yards. Marshawn Lynch made the play that made the difference on his 27-yard touchdown run.
I jumped on the Seahawk bandwagon a few weeks ago and I’m going to continue to ride it until it stops for the season. These Seahawks couldn’t finish a drive all game and they should have won by a lot more points. They were resilient in their comeback and it seemed they wouldn’t be denied.
A lot of folks will point to the RGIII in defense of Washington, but I think this game would have ended much the same with a healthy RGIII. I’ll take Wilson any day of the week.
One more thing…I don’t question a lot of coaching decisions in regards to injury because I’m not on the sideline, but I think Mike Shannahan made a big mistake today when he let Robert Griffin III go back on the field. I know that this was the playoffs and RGIII was the team’s best quarterback, but no one should play with that kind of knee injury. When it finally gave out in the fourth quarter, it looked bad.
The Seahawks have won a date with the Atlanta Falcons next week. These two teams did not play during the regular season.