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Playoff Picks: Wildcard Round

| January 8th, 2016

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Administrative Note: We’ll resume our postseason positional analysis columns on Monday with running backs, Tuesday with wide receivers, Wednesday with tight ends & Thursday we’ll wrap up the offensive side of the ball with our analysis of the line. (Defense will come after the division round.)

KANSAS CITY AT HOUSTON

Am I willing to embrace the notion of Brian Hoyer winning a postseason game? No, I’m not. Am I willing to cast my support unabashedly for Andy Reid in a postseason game? No, I’m not. But since I picked the Chiefs to make the Super Bowl in August I might as well continue seeing red. And on a football note, the Chiefs don’t look to throw the ball downfield so their short passing attack should be able to neutralize the Houston’s greatest asset: Watt, Whitney and the pass rush. Chiefs 20, Texans 13

PITTSBURGH AT CINCINNATI

Here’s what I keep hearing from folks analyzing the wildcard round: nobody wants to play the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here’s my follow-up question: why? The Steelers controlled their road to the postseason and lost to Marc Trestman and Ryan Mallett! (And the game wasn’t particularly close.) Then in Week 17 the Steelers were horrible against Cleveland, with Big Ben throwing ugly picks to second-rate linebackers. If Austin Davis weren’t starting for the Browns and they didn’t decide to fumble away the second half, the Jets would be in the playoffs. So is Pittsburgh just going to turn it on? Bengals 24, Steelers 22

SEATTLE AT MINNESOTA

Can Teddy Bridgewater win this game if the Vikings have to throw the ball at any point? Not for me. Worst game of the weekend, despite how cold it might be. Also, Marshawn Lynch doesn’t give a shit about the weather. Seahawks 24, Vikings 9

GREEN BAY AT WASHINGTON

Everything in my soul says PICK THE PACKERS! Everything. Everything says it doesn’t make any sense to believe Kirk Cousins will beat Aaron Rodgers in the playoffs. EVERYTHING!

But I’ve seen every game the Packers have played since the start of November. Over that period they’ve been beaten decisively by the only three really good teams they played (Carolina, Denver, Arizona) and dropped games at home to all three of their division rivals. They’re 4-6 over those ten games, including a Hail Mary win in Detroit. They haven’t been struggling. They’ve been a bad team.

In the meantime Cousins and Washington have looked like every bit a team worthy of being in the tournament. Redskins 30, Packers 24

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