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NFL Playoff Picks: Wildcard Weekend

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Check out all of the Gridiron Experts staff playoff picks for the first round. Wildcard weekend is bound to have a few upsets with all four games entering their respected matchup with the road team as the favorite. This should be a great weekend of excitement

NFL Playoff Picks: Wildcard Round

NFL Wildcard Games
Kansas City Chiefs Houston Texans Get Tickets
Spread: Chiefs -3 Score: 27-23 17-14 20-17 23-16 23-17 17-13 20-17 27-20
Pittsburgh Steelers Cincinnati Bengals Get Tickets
Steelers -2.5 Score: 27-24 27-24 30-24 26-23 27-21 31-27 27-23 27-23
Seattle Seahawks Minnesota Vikings Get Tickets
Spread: Hawks -5.5 Score: 28-20 28-24 24-21 16-10 28-17 24-13 20-13 24-23
Green Bay Packers Washington Redskins Get Tickets
Spread: Packers-1 Score: 34-30 30-24 28-27 26-21 27-24 24-20 24-23 27-24

Chiefs at Texans

Preston Wickersham -Gridiron Experts DeAndre HopkinsBoth defenses came on strong in the second half of the season, and both teams have been missing premier running backs for most of the year. KC has the advantage at QB, which should give them the edge in what looks to be a low-scoring contest. Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware are a better duo than anything Houston can put in the backfield. If Hoyer is healthy enough and his offensive line can give him some time, DeAndre Hopkins could post a big stat line, but I don’t see that connection being enough to hand the Chiefs their 9th consecutive playoff loss.
Neil DOn paper, these two teams are quite similar. Both have defenses that can be dominant, both have suffered huge losses at the running back position, and both have wide receivers that have shown they can be match winners. Despite the presence of J.J. Watt, I believe the Chiefs have more offensive options than the Texans, and fully expect the Chiefs long wait for a playoff victory to come to an end.
Jason Willan -Gridiron ExpertsThese teams are similar in that both played their way into the playoffs down the stretch, relying predominantly on strong efforts from their defenses against generally lesser competition. The defenses should be featured again this weekend, keeping the score low. The Texans have fewer home wins (5) than any team hosting a game this weekend, so I don’t think that will be much of an advantage. Look for the Chiefs extend their winning streak to 11 games in a defensive slugfest.

Steelers at Bengals

Mike Rigzantonio brownI have a funny feeling the Steelers are going to run the table. Pittsburgh’s passing attack is among the best in the league and I beleive the defense can do just enough to keep them in it. If they can kock off the Bengals, I think they could continue to spoil for weeks to come

Zach Greubel -GridironExperts This is your typical unstoppable force meeting an immovable object, but I think Pittsburgh’s defense will be able to make enough stops against Cincinnati’s offense in order for the Steelers to come away with a win. The absence of Andy Dalton aids in the Bengals losing in the playoffs yet again.

Jason Willan -Gridiron Experts I’ve gone back and forth on this one several times, as the Steelers leaky defense and loss of DeAngelo Williams makes me question their ability to go into Cincinnati and get the win. But at the end of the day, I trust Ben Roethlisberger and his history of playing well in big games more than A.J. McCarron, who will be making his first playoff start on Saturday. Regardless of your lean for the game, I really like the over in this one.

Seahawks at Vikings

Bob Talbot -Gridiron ExpertsRussell WilsonTemperatures are expected to reach record lows, which I believe will keep this game close and give Minnesota a chance. In the end, the team with the talent and experience prevails in a tough road battle. Bridgewater has shown flashes in his second year, but he’s struggled against the elite teams (Seattle included). I don’t see him being able to keep the chains moving. Expect Marshawn and Russell to get it done with their legs in this one, as the Seahawks begin their quest for another Super Bowl trip.

Jen RyanI smell a field goal game coming. Normally I do not give a ton of weight to weather but sub-zero conditions are impossible to ignore. It is not going to be easy to catch or throw the ball this weekend and I expect the Vikings to heavily feature Adrian Peterson. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this game is the return of Marshawn Lynch. Will he be 100%? Will they give him 20+ touches or spell him with Christine Michael? I will probably be paying more attention to Lynch than the game itself. Prepare for a low scoring, below freezing affair.
Jason Willan -Gridiron ExpertsThe one thing we know for sure about this matchup is that it’s going to be ridiculously cold, with some talk of record-low temperatures for an NFL game. I think that will contribute to slowing down the offensive roll that Seattle has been on, but I don’t expect it to be enough to propel the Vikings to the upset. It’s only been five weeks since the Seahawks destroyed Minnesota 38-7 in Seattle, out-gaining the Vikings 433 yards to 125 yards. I expect the margin to be closer this time around, but Seattle should still win rather easily.

Packers at Redskins

Bob Talbot -Gridiron ExpertsRichard RodgersIt’s easy for people to take the Packers because of Aaron Rodgers alone, but if you do so, you obviously haven’t been watching the Packers as of late. Losers of 6 of their last 10 (7 of 10 if not for a miracle Hail Mary), the Packers are just not that good. Rodgers was sacked 46 times this year thanks to a lackluster offensive line. His receivers also can’t get open and in some cases, catch (looking at you Davante), in the absence of Jordy Nelson. Meanwhile, Kirk Cousins is playing out of his mind, Jordan Reed is a matchup nightmare and the Redskins have a pretty decent defense. Washington is being disrespected as a home dog. As a gambling man, I love it.
Shae Cronin -Gridiron ExpertsThis is obviously a huge spot for Kirk Cousins, but betting that his current play stays alive, this game is the Redskins to lose. Green Bay’s defense is a solid and good, but are we convinced that Washington doesn’t have the weapons to score points on them? Despite Aaron Rodgers being one of the best quarterbacks in the league, this isn’t the same Green Bay offense you’re used to. In addition to the loss of Jordy Nelson, the offensive line is banged up, Randall Cobb has a case of the drops, and Pack fans are still scratching their heads regarding Davante Adams’ failure to launch. The Redskins defense isn’t a world-beater, but they can man-up against the Packers offense and have success. As Bob said, this line is a subtle shot at Washington at home and that quickly shows itself as a gamblin’ man’s honey. The Redskins can have all my monies.
Jason Willan -Gridiron ExpertsIt kills me to do this as a Packers fan, but I have to pick Washington here. Green Bay has been terrible on offense in the second half of the season, with an ineffective running game, receivers that can’t get separation, and a porous O-line that simply can’t protect Aaron Rodgers, who has been sacked 46 times on the season and 13 times over the last two weeks alone. Kirk Cousins might come back to Earth a little bit from his recent outstanding play, but an underrated Redskins defense is going to cause problems from Green Bay and I think that will be the difference in the game.

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Enjoy the weekend!

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