Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans
These two teams were left for dead earlier this season when they stumbled out of the gate in the fall. Since then, they have a combined 16-2 record and both have qualities that can carry them in the playoffs. Though it pains me to say it, I think the Kansas City Chiefs might be the hottest team in football and they may handle these Texans pretty easily. The Chiefs’ defense has been very strong in their 10 game win streak and, on the other side of the ball, it’s hard to believe Brian Hoyer can stand up to it.
Kansas City 24 Houston 13
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
I think this one comes down to the starting quarterbacks. Ben Roethlisberger has won two Super Bowls and has seen everything the league has to offer. AJ McCarron will be under center in the place of Andy Dalton for the Bengals and he hasn’t seen much in the course of making a handful of starts this season. Though weird things can happen in a game like this – they are division rivals, so this will be the third tilt between the Steelers and Bengals – I think Roethlisberger’s steadiness and experience will be the deciding factor.
Pittsburgh 31 Cincinnati 20
Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings
Oh the cold! This one is predicted to be the second coldest game in NFL history and how that affects the teams will be a fun story to watch over the course of the game. If Kansas City is the hottest team entering the playoffs, Seattle must be 1B in that department. Though I think I like to admit this even less than I like to predict the Chiefs getting a win this week, I think the Seahawks may be poised to make a run at their third Super Bowl in three years. I just don’t see the inexperienced Vikings beating this team.
Seattle 24 Minnesota 20
Green Bay Packers at Washington
I have to admit I love Washington. Even since my college days in the District of Columbia, it has been my second favorite NFL team. I’ve seen enough of the Packers this year to know they are a mess and Washington seems to have a little Cinderella story in them. Maybe this one is my heart over my head (or my affection for “Captain” Kirk Cousins), but I think Washington wins this one in a blowout.