The road to Super Bowl continues this weekend as Wild Card Weekend gets under way. This gives us a chance to look at the last three remaining games after already taking a deeper look at the Kansas City Chiefs/Houston Texans matchup.
The second of the contests on Saturday gets underway at 8:15pm ET on Saturday Night as the Pittsburgh Steelers will travel to Cincinnati to face off against the Bengals in an AFC North battle. The Steelers despite needing a New York Jets loss to land the final wild card spot opened up as a 2.5 point favorite.
On Sunday the action gets underway at 1:05 PM Et as the red hot Seattle Seahawks travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. Much like the Steelers, the Seahawks enter this game as the favorite despite having to go on the road to open up the playoffs. The second NFC wild card matchup the Green Bay Packers will travel to the Nations Capital to take on the Washington Redskins. After opening up as a pickem the Packers have slowly seen themselves become the favorite in this matchup with some sites having them as a 1.5 point favorite.
Here is a quick look at each of these matchups:
Pittsburgh Steelers VS Cincinnati Bengals: This will mark the third time these two teams have faced off this season with each team picking up a win. Each of these teams have some big questions marks entering this contest as both teams are facing injury issues.
For the Bengals their season will dwindle on the line if quarterback Andy Dalton will make his return. At the moment it sounds as that won’t happen as his broken right thumb is recovering as fast as he had hoped. This also could cancel out any chance of him being the teams backup as well. On the other side the Steelers will enter this game with injury concerns of their own as DeAngelo Williams continued to miss practice.
If Dalton can’t make his return, the Steelers behind Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown could roll to an easy win on the road.
Previous Meetings: These two teams met twice during the regular season as both teams play in the AFC North. The Bengals picked up the first win 16-10 in Pittsburgh while the Steelers returned the favorite in week 14 at Cincinnati picked up the 33-20 win.
Betting Trends: Entering this contest the Bengals have dominated against the spread of late going 7-3 in their last ten games while the Steelers are just 4-6. That being said the Steelers have gone 5-3 on the road while the Bengals are just 4-3 against the spread at home.
Seattle Seahawks VS Minnesota Vikings: All eyes will be on this game as weather reports indicate this contest could have a high temperature of just sero degrees with a low temp of -10 making it very difficult for either team to make big plays in the passing game.
Now that being said the Seahawks might be one of the hottest teams in the NFL winning six of their last seven games to roll to a wild card slot in the NFC. Much of that success came during the second half of the season as Russell Wilson turned it on to finish with 4,024 passing yards, 553 rushing yards and 34 touchdown passes.
Previous Meeting: These two teams met back in week 13 as the Seahawks blew out the Vikings 38-7 on the road. In that game the Seahawks were carried by Wilson who threw for 274 yards with three passing touchdowns while adding another 51 yards on the ground and one rushing touchdown
Betting Trends: In a matchup that might feature two of the better teams at covering the spread the slight edge leans towards the Vikings. The Vikings are 8-2 over their last eight games while going 6-2 against the spread at home. Meanwhile the Seahawks are 7-3 over their last ten games with one of those games coming when the two teams met back in week 13.
Green Bay Packers VS Washington Redskins: This might be the one contest where the home team could come out with a win in the first round of the playoffs. That being said the Redskins will need their defense to step up to slow down quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
For the Packers despite sitting as a one point favorite the team has major concerns entering the playoffs. Some of those concerns start with the offensive line and it has showed up as Rodgers has struggled. If the Packers want to win this game they will need their receivers to play more consistent while making catches and their defense to step up.
On the other side the Redskins continue to win games as Kirk Cousins continues his second half hot streak. Cousins started the season with ten interceptions over their first eight games including four games with at least two. In that stretch the Redskins managed to go just 3-5.
Since that the Redskins have been red hot behind their red hot quarterback. Cousins there just two interceptions over the teams final eight games while throwing 19 touchdowns. Those results helped carry the Redskins to six wins including four straight to finish the regular season.
Previous Meetings: These two teams last met during the 2013 NFL season, as Rodgers threw four touchdown passes while leading the Packers to a 38-20 win. Since that game a lot has changed as Cousins has surpassed Robert Griffin as the teams starting quarterback and the Packers have lost Jordy Nelson as their number one wide receiver.
Betting Trends: Looking at these two teams the Redskins have been the better team of late going 6-4 against the spread while the Packers are just 4-6 over that same stretch. That being said they stack up very close making this game a difficult decision as the Packers are 5-3 against the spread on the road while the Redskins are 5-3 at home this season.
Now looking a little deeper the Packers hold the slight advantage heading into their wild card matchup based on the 4-1 record against the spread in their last five road playoff games. Along with the success in the playoffs on the road the Packers are also 7-3 against the spread in their last ten road games against the spread.
The Redskins on the other hand have seen a ton of success against the spread as well including going 4-0 in their last four games, 4-1 against the NFC and 5-2 at home over their last seven home games.
The big question mark is can Kirk Cousins pull off a Joe Flacco like playoff run to not only cash in a big paycheck this offseason but bring home another Super Bowl Title to DC?