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NFL Playoffs: Wild Card predictions - Washington on wrong side of tight game

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It's Wildcard Weekend with some huge games and repeats of regular season match-ups which will show why some of these teams are Super Bowl favourites are not those with a bye.

So let's get to it:

NFC

Green Bay Packers @ Washington Redskins

The Packers have limped into the playoffs with Aaron Rodgers being sacked 14 times in the two games against Arizona and the Vikings - he's somehow avoided the emergency room...no, I don't quite know how either.

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Washington, meanwhile, are the hot team after winning five of their last six games thanks to the unfancied Kirk Cousins.

The NFC East winner's pass rush could cause problems for a leaky Packers o-line. So will their Cinderella story come to an end? I think so.

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Yes, Green Bay has struggled. Yes, its receiving corps is sub-par without Nelson. Yes, the ground attack is erratic. And yes, the line is struggling. But I just fancy them to keep it simple and get the win.

Washington are due a bad game - and so is Cousins - and like the Jets last week, I think they'll blow their shot.

Winner: Packers - in a close game

Washington Redskins v Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks @ Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings are the kings of the north (oh come on, you knew that pun was coming) but brace yourself (likewise), the Seahawks are coming - and Marshawn Lynch is back.

Seattle topped off its second half of season surge with a blowout win in Arizona.

This Seattle team completely annihilated the Vikings in Week 13, 38-7, and it was in Minnesota, making them one of the teams in the NFC no one wants to face. What's more, Russell Wilson on a record of 24 touchdowns for just one interception through seven games.

The Seahawks are firing on all cylinders at the right time.

Seattle Seahawks v Arizona Cardinals

The Vikings can take this if they copy the Rams and control the tempo, while they also have rushing king, Adrian Peterson, who has learned from their brutal shellacking at the hands of Seattle's defence.

Their problem is the same complaint that has haunted Seattle, they're too reliant on their star RB.

The Vikings are the team of future with their talented young roster that's on the rise but this is a horrible match-up that's too soon for Minnesota.

Winner: Seahawks - but the Vikes will run it closer than Week 13 

AFC

Kansas City Chiefs @ Houston Texans

In October, the combined records of these teams was 4-10 but now they're two of the league's hottest teams with the Chiefs on a huge winning streak - they haven't lost since October.

Each team has a great defence, with the Chiefs only giving up 13.2 points-per-game since Week 5 while their offence has clicked giving Kansas fans real belief that they could win their first playoff game in 22 years.

Oakland Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs

Houston also has a good defence. It's mainly JJ Watt but never mind.

DeAndre Hopkins is their main threat and he will test the Chiefs' secondary, but, without their blindside blocker Duane Brown, Brian Hoyer will have fewer options to score points than their opposition.

A top-five total defence, a top-five scoring defence and arguably two of the NFL's best pass-rushers in JJ and Kansas City's Justin Houston, it could all come down to the QBs, so I'd back Smith in that match-up.

A key point in this game is that Kansas has more across the board on defence and offence compared to the Texans.

Winner: Chiefs

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals

These teams duked it out earlier in Week 13 and the Steelers took that one with a big score when Andy Dalton was healthy - this time, he isn't quite so healthy, thanks to the Steelers' defence in fact.

AJ McCarron has won two of three games he's played in but this a completely different scenario, you know playoffs and, er, the Steelers.

It's not as if Pittsburgh aren't hit by a major injury, DeAngelo Williams is questionable to play but the Bengals are another team with its QB making his playoff debut.

Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals

While the Bengals defence is solid as a rock in comparison to the Steelers' up and down unit, they have nothing to equal Pittsburgh's offence which includes Antonio Brown, who has been impossible to defend this year, Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton.

The Steelers and Big Ben are on another playoff run while Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is winless in six playoff tries with four straight one-and-done trips to the postseason.

Make that five this year.

Winner: Steelers

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Topics:
NFL
Kansas City Chiefs
Cincinnati Bengals
Washington Redskins
Minnesota Vikings
Green Bay Packers
NFL Playoffs
Houston Texans
Pittsburgh Steelers
Seattle Seahawks

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