NFL 2012 Wild Card Week Thread

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Bengals at Texans: The Bengals enter this game with the NFL's longest playoff victory drought: 22 seasons. They enter this game as 4.5 point dogs, but Houston has not looked anything like a playoff team for about a month. The team's drift away from a strong running game has been a problem, and it may continue into this week, as the Bengals will be particularly difficult to move the ball on the ground on. In recent years, teams who have gotten hot entering the playoffs have been the ones to make noise, and the teams who stumble through December have struggled to re-ignite. As such, I'm taking the Bengals in the first upset of the weekend.

Vikings at Packers: Nobody expected the Vikings team that we saw in week 17. Adrian Peterson being a beast was no surprise, but Christian Ponder has as of late looked like a much different player than the one Milkman was ready to have chucked to the curb. It won't be the first time Ponder got hot for a short time, though, and it remains to be seen if he's taking the next step or simply getting hot for a few games. Green Bay's offensive line threatens to sink the team - Aaron Rodgers has been sacked a franchise record 51 times, including 5 times in the game between these teams last week. Still, I see this as a Packers victory.

Colts at Ravens: Talk about another team who hasn't looked like a playoff team in a month - the Ravens lost 4 out of 5 games in December. The switch from Cam Cameron to Jim Caldwell at offensive coordinator has brought little spark, outside of the one explosion against the hot-cold NY Giants. The Colts, meanwhile, have the opposite December record, having won 4 out of 5. Their offense, however, has quietly slipped in production, failing to eclipse 300 yards of offense in 4 straight games, after having only 2 such games in the other 12 weeks. The wins have masked the offensive slump, but look to the Ravens to expose it this week.

Seahawks at Redskins: Oh, heartbreak city! Of the eight wildcard round teams, these are the two I would most want to watch in the next round, yet there can be only one. Washington's defense has tightened up over the course of the season, allowing the team to win some games and reach the postseason. The Shanahan offense, mark RG3, is one of the most fun to watch. I think, however, they may be outmatched by the Seahawks, who have the defense to slow them down, and the offense to strain even the improved Redskins defense. I take the Seahawks, but it gives me no great joy to do so.

Weekly results to be posted later.

Texans
Packers
Ravens
Redskins

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Vikings at Packers:

THREE ROAD TEAMS BAM.

I think you meant Packers to win, based on the description and your mis-counting.

Texans
Packers
Ravens
Redskins

Bengals at Texans: Texans right themselves after some late struggles.

Vikings at Packers: Can't see Minn. winning in back to back weeks. Packers adjust and hold AD under 150 yards, which is a good hold for him.

Colts at Ravens: The Ravens win one for Ray Lewis. Or do the Colts win one for Pagano? Oh hell, I'll just go with the home team again.

Seahawks at Redskins: The Seahawks may very well win but I'm really starting to hate them and will pick against them every week. :p

Bengals at Texans: The Texans have just been falling apart, so I'm going with "take the best player on the field", and that's A.J. Green. What the hell.

Vikings at Packers: Christian Ponder is still the same guy who should be dropped on the curb. He had a couple nice passes, but his big completion on that last drive was a blown coverage (IIRC, the guy had to jump to catch it cleanly), and his last TD pass was a risky, bad throw that caused me and the Packers fan I was watching with to both jump to our feet and yell "PICK!" There were a bunch of close things in that game that all went Minnesota's way, and they still barely won.

Colts at Ravens: OMG CANCER INSPIRATION RETIREMENT INSPIRATION CANCER INSPIRATION RETIREMENT INSPIRATION CANCER INSPIRATION RETIREMENT INSPIRATION The Ravens have looked patently lousy most of the latter half of the season.

Seahawks at Redskins: I want the Seahawks to lose as a result of both the Fail Mary and Carroll really going balls-out to score when he was utterly killing teams, but their defense is legitimately good, and RGIII isn't at 100%.

THREE ROAD TEAMS BAM.

Atras wrote:
MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Vikings at Packers:

THREE ROAD TEAMS BAM.

I think you meant Packers to win, based on the description and your mis-counting.

Texans
Packers
Ravens
Redskins

Um . . . possibly.

Bengals at Texans: Texans are playing their worst football at the worst time but I'm pretty sure I predicted them to make the Super Bowl this year so I'm going to run with that.

Vikings at Packers: Adrian Peterson carried the team into the playoffs but I think that is where it will end. Rodgers is too good.

Colts at Ravens: I was thinking the Colts all week but with Ray Lewis returning Ravens will be able to match the Chuckstrong emotional output. Plus I think Colts used the big Chuckstrong victory last week on the Texans.

Seahawks at Redskins: I agree that this is a disappointing match-up because they are two very fun teams to watch and no matter what, one is out of the playoffs. I can't imagine the scenario where the Redskins win unless Russell Wilson completely melts down...which has never happened in pros or college to my knowledge. I think it will play out similarly to the Seahawks vs. Rams game last week, slug-fest until the Seahawks start pulling away late in the second half.

Bengals
Vikings
Colts
Redskins

Bengals at Texans: Go ginger QB go!

Vikings at Packers: This is hope more than accurate.

Colts at Ravens: Radiation super powers are no match for Mr Lewis, who has feasted on the hearts of his enemies.

Seahawks at Redskins: I like big, physical CBs.

3 ROAD TEAMS NOT THE SAME AS MILKMAN'S, WABAM.

boogle wrote:

Vikings at Packers: This is hope more than accurate.

If only Sam Bradford were in Minnesota, then they could really be Boomer Vikings. Or is it Minnesota Sooners?

Hm. Just heard on a radio show: 5, 8, and 7 for the home teams (Texans, Packers, Ravens), and 3 for the Seahawks on the road.

Houston
Green Bay
Baltimore
Seattle

If RGIII was 100% I would have gone with the Skins... but he doesnt look even 50% and I think Seattle's cheating secondary will be good enough to shut down the passing game enough to make the Skin's offense not as effective as it will need to be... I don't think the Skins defense will shutdown Seattle enough to overcome their offense.

Bengals at Texans: I'm far too light of an NFL fan to know whether being in freefall entering the playoffs means anything. Because it's a shorter season than baseball and things like injuries are more likely (or at least seem like it) to be a factor in the losing, I'm inclined to believe that teams playing like the Texans currently are won't last long in the playoffs.

Vikings at Packers: The Packers might be the perfect matchup for Minnesota, but I'm still going with the home team.

Colts at Ravens: I'd also pick the Ravens if this game was in Indy.

Seahawks at Redskins: Growing up in Seattle and remaining a Seattle sports fan after moving means that I'm well prepared for and expecting disappointment. As a fan, I'll pick Seattle to win, but I'm actually expecting Wilson to suffer a career-ending injury and RGIII to put up 500 yards of total offense against the team.

Bengals
Vikings
Ravens
Seahawks

I have fear that I'm going to go 0-4 this week.

Bengals at Texans
Vikings at Packers
Colts at Ravens
Seahawks at Redskins

One road team. BAM.

Also, don't forget to fill out your playoff bonanza picks. Same as the NFL Weekly Thread picks, only you can't change your next round picks if the lose in a previous round.

Bengals at Texans - I think the Texans are just a better team all around and I think the Bengals are more likely to choke than the Texans

Vikings at Packers - I think the Packers experience will see them improve to be the strong team they should have been during the season.

Colts at Ravens - It just seems the Colts are on an upswing and the Ravens are hovering

Seahawks at Redskins - Seattle is very dangerous. However, the key to this game and the playoffs likely, is who can stop the Redskins rushing game. The Skins have won 7 in a row so they are hot but if you really look at it, the team offense is simmering but the rushing game is scalding hot. And the defense is getting stronger but it really has been good enough to win with some growing of their play making ability.

If the Redskins D can slow Seattle, odds are Washington moves on. Seattle's D must stop Washington to win. If they just slow the Skins then it will be a tight game and the Skins have proven they can win tough close games against good opponents in recent weeks. If Seattle can't slow them then Washington pulls away late. Again Seattle absolutely can shut down the Skins, but I have seen way too much veteran talent look foolish to call it a done deal. It would be one thing if it was only a week or two but it has been going on for 7 straight weeks and 13+ out of the 16 games this season.

I know everyone likes to talk about RG3 and RW1 (and who wouldn't? They're both great, and I'm sorry one of them will have to lose.)

But I think Beast Mode might be the difference. The second anniversary of this clip is Tuesday, btw. Yes, you'll want to watch it 3 or 4 times this afternoon. It's still that awesome, especially that stiff arm.

The Skins D gives up big plays on blown coverage not by hideous arm tackling. I'd hate to jinx him but London Fletcher (amongst others) will not let that happen.

Say hello to Alfred Morris. This is only weeks 1-12 so there are a considerable amount more highlights in the rest of the weeks, including the final game in which he ran for 200 yards and 3 TDs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zK_Qp...

Enix wrote:

I know everyone likes to talk about RG3 and RW1 (and who wouldn't? They're both great, and I'm sorry one of them will have to lose.)

But I think Beast Mode might be the difference. The second anniversary of this clip is Tuesday, btw. Yes, you'll want to watch it 3 or 4 times this afternoon. It's still that awesome, especially that stiff arm.

If everyone is being quite honest with themselves, we'd have to acknowledge that Beast Mode is a massive reason why Russell Wilson is having the level of success he has this season.

RW is not, at this point, a revolve-the-offense-around-me caliber of quarterback. And that's not to take anything away from his level of performance this year. But he is in the exactly right system with the kind of support from the running game that he needs. And that didn't happen by accident - Seattle targeted him knowing that his tools would work well within the confines of what they do on offense. There's a lot of Troy Aikman there.

Russell Wilson's season this year reminds me quite a bit of Josh Freeman's 2010 year, in that there's a lot of "play breaks down, run around a bit, receiver breaks wide open" stuff going on. I haven't seen Wilson do much in terms of sticking throws (granted, I've only watched the Seahawks in bits and pieces), but he really does seem to be getting a lot of free looks, though those are in large part because he's been so good about escaping pressure and such. I'm not completely sold on the guy yet because, well, those receivers won't always be that open.

Bengals
Packers
Ravens
Seahawks

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Russell Wilson's season this year reminds me quite a bit of Josh Freeman's 2010 year, in that there's a lot of "play breaks down, run around a bit, receiver breaks wide open" stuff going on. I haven't seen Wilson do much in terms of sticking throws (granted, I've only watched the Seahawks in bits and pieces), but he really does seem to be getting a lot of free looks, though those are in large part because he's been so good about escaping pressure and such. I'm not completely sold on the guy yet because, well, those receivers won't always be that open.

This is from just after the Chicago game, so things might have changed since then, but it seems like he does just fine in more typical offense situations inside the pocket:

Wilson: Those watching from afar might think Wilson has done much of his damage from outside the pocket, where his lack of height would not be a limiting factor. Wilson actually has a much higher QBR score (77.4 to 60.8) and a slightly higher passer rating (95.2 to 95.1) when throwing from inside the pocket than from outside it. He has completed 154 of 238 passes with 14 touchdowns and seven picks from inside the pocket. He has completed 47 of 79 passes with five touchdowns and one pick from outside the pocket. Wilson has also had only five passes batted all season, below the 6.9 average for qualifying quarterbacks and well below league leaders Brandon Weeden (15), Luck (15) and Andy Dalton (14).

I wasn't sold on Wilson for a long time as I'd like to think NFL scouts have a clue, but I'm convinced. He's got the arm strength and touch to throw a deep ball, which Seattle hasn't had in a QB since Moon was around, and he's smart enough to not force throws where he doesn't have to - which along with the lack of a deep ball is what killed me about Hasselbeck. I think those are generally the situations where he ends up running around to buy time. Unfortunately, the Seattle receivers are just ok. Having watched all their games this season, the receivers fail to get open more often than not on those broken plays and RW has recently started to just pull the ball down and run it himself.

Don't underestimate Wilson. A lot of people overlooked him at N.C. State because he came from a prep school in Virginia that's no football factory. (I know; I went there a long time ago.). Folks underestimated him at Wisconsin because, well, the ACC isn't the Big 10. And folks are underestimating him in Seattle because he walked into a pretty good (i.e. not rebuilding) situation.

Wilson has an above-average arm and above-average wheels. He's very accurate, especially when he's throwing on the run. (That might be the best part of his game.) He doesn't throw a lot of picks (he went 325 throws without one in college) and he's smart as hell. I figured he'd catch on a roster somewhere, but this season has been well beyond my expectations. (See? There I go underestimating him, too.)

*Legion* wrote:

RW is not, at this point, a revolve-the-offense-around-me caliber of quarterback. ... But he is in the exactly right system with the kind of support from the running game that he needs.

Yep.

Bengals - These two teams are very similar to me. Good defenses with dominant pass rushers, decent QBs, good running games and a single stud wide out. However, I trust the Bengals a lot more than the Texans right now. And Schaub seems to be regressing every single week.
Packers - I expect another close one like the first game in Green Bay, but the Packers are a better team. Much like the Bengals last year, the Vikings far surpassed expectations in making the playoffs, and are just happy to be here. This isn't their time to make an actual run, and they are the one team in the NFC I can't see making it all the way.
Ravens - Ray Lewis' last home game > Chuckstrong. Also, just like the Vikings, the fact that the Colts are even here is a big enough accomplishment for this season.
Seahawks - They are the better team. Seattle's corners can man cover, leaving them to put 8 in the box to stop Morris. Lynch is a beast and Russel Wilson is freaking good. Seahawks by 10.

billt721 wrote:

I wasn't sold on Wilson for a long time as I'd like to think NFL scouts have a clue, but I'm convinced.

Scouts do. Being drafted in the third round doesn't mean nobody thought he could play. There's a lot of teams where he would not necessarily fit right now. Being in an offense where he can start 16 games and throw fewer than 400 pass attempts is working in his favor.

*Legion* wrote:
boogle wrote:

Vikings at Packers: This is hope more than accurate.

If only Sam Bradford were in Minnesota, then they could really be Boomer Vikings. Or is it Minnesota Sooners?

I saw Loadholt play beer pong once.
It was majestic.

Bengals
Packers
Colts
Seattle

Texans

Packers

Ravens

Redskins

Bengals at Texans

Vikings at Packers

Colts at Ravens

Seahawks at Redskins

Texans
Packers
Colts
Redskins

Bengals
Packers
Colts
Seahawks

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