The 2016 NFL Playoffs are upon us, and unfortunately the New Orleans Saints are not part of this year's playoff field yet again. The league rolls along though, and the 2016 Playoffs should be as intriguing as always. I'm not convinced this slate of games will be very competitive, but we will see how they all turn out. Let's take a look at which teams Who Dat Nation will be begrudgingly pulling for and rooting against.
Last week I went 9-7
I told you so: Saints over Falcons!
What do I know: Jets over Bills?
WILD CARD WEEKEND
AFC - #5 Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) at #4 Houston Texans (9-7)
Saturday, January 9th - 3:35pm CST - ESPN
These two teams met in Houston in Week 1 with Kansas City winning 27-20. After that win, KC went on to lose five straight games, before turning their season around in spectacular fashion, winning 10 straight games and becoming the hottest team in the NFL. Despite their impressive run, KC is facing a Houston defense that has rallied over the past two months to become one of the best in the league.
The Texan defense will stifle and frustrate Kansas City's limited offense, while their own offense plays a surprisingly strong and balanced game, bolstered by a raucous home crowd. The Chiefs must wait for playoff success again. Houston wins 24-13.
AFC - #6 Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6) at #3 Cincinnati Bengals (12-4)
Saturday, January 9th - 7:15pm CST - CBS
These two teams split their two meetings this season, with Cincinnati wining the first game and Pittsburgh winning the second meeting. It was in the second game, at Cincy, where AJ McCarran first subbed in for an injured Andy Dalton. With Dalton, the Bengals would already be at a disadvantage in this game, without him, they are dead to rights. Marvin Lewis will continue his streak of disturbing playoff futility in this game, even without Dalton there to have his typical worst game of the season.
Pittsburgh will steadily overwhelm the Bengals on offense while getting enough from their suspect defense to keep Cincy at arms length for the entirety of this game. No matter who is starting at running back for the Steelers, they'll give Ben Roethlisberger enough to effectively attack the Bengals from the air all game long. The cruel playoff futility and hopelessness lives on for Bengals fans. Pittsburgh wins 27-13.
NFC - #6 Seattle Seahawks (10-6) at #3 Minnesota Vikings (11-5)
Sunday, January 10th - 12:05pm CST - NBC
These two teams met in Minneapolis in Week 13 with Seattle winning 38-7. Minnesota has to be feeling confident after looking impressive in their last 3 games and hosting this playoff game, where temperatures are expected to drop to a body and mind-numbing -1º. Seattle has been impressive as well though, winning 8 of their last 10 games, including the earlier mentioned crushing of these Vikings in Minnesota.
Many have climbed back on the Seahawks express after last week's win in Arizona, but this team is simply not as good as the past two seasons, but they're good enough to win convincingly here. Just as the Vikings will lean on Adrian Peterson, the Seahawks will lean on the returning Marshawn Lynch. It'll be closer than the first game between these two, but not by a lot. Seattle wins 28-10.
NFC - #5 Green Bay Packers (10-6) at #4 Washington Redskins (9-7)
Sunday, January 10th - 3:40pm CST - FOX
These two teams are meeting for the first time this season. In the preseason, I liked Green Bay to come out of the NFC, but much has changed since then. This Packers team is not nearly as strong as last season's team, but they are still a dangerous opponent, due mostly to Aaron Rodgers.
Now, the Packers face a team that took advantage of arguably the worst division in football. Washington has weapons and will take advantage of Green Bay's average defense, but in the end it will be Washington's declining defense that seals their fate at home. Washington has not fared well against playoff-caliber opponents this season, and that continues here in the actual playoffs. This should be the closest game of the weekend. Green Bay wins 28-20.
Let's see what the Wild Card round has in store. Here's to a great playoff weekend! Leave us your picks, comments, and insight below!