NFL Playoff Preview: NFC Wild Card Round
There are some interesting matchups on Sunday in the NFC. We kick off the day with the Seattle Seahawks heading to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. It’s a shame these two got matched up this week because they’re both better than the Packers and Redskins, but those are the breaks. Anyway, the Seahawks are the team no one wants to play, but the Vikings have quietly been very good this season. Well maybe not so quietly after they took down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to win the division in convincing fashion. Still, the Legion of Boom has the experience and the talent to really cause problems for the Vikings on both sides of the ball. This should be a fun one.
The Packers-Redskins game is the Chiefs, Texans of the NFC but worse. The Redskins are clearly the better team, still, are you willing to put your money on Kirk Cousins over Aaron Rodgers? Neither team has a snow ball’s chance in hell of winning next week, but unfortunately one of them has to win this week. Last year I would have said that with Rodgers under center the Packers have shot to beat anyone in the league. Well, I’ve stopped living and the past and have moved well past that theory. This team is bad and Rodgers isn’t the Super Man many thought he was. If Cam Newton can do more with Ted Ginn and Greg Olsen than Rodgers can do with Randall Cobb and Davante Adams, maybe he isn’t quite as great as we thought.
Now, let’s break down the matchups and see who has the edge.
Seattle Seahawks @ Minnesota Vikings
Sunday, January 10, 2016 1:05 pm NBC
This is no contest. Russell Wilson is a Super Bowl champion and made a strong case for a late MVP run. He has been tremendous this season, especially down the stretch. On the other hand, while Teddy Bridgewater has been a bit better as of late, his sophomore season was still a disappointment. He did not take that next step that many expected him to. He threw for just 3,231 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. Wilson on the other hand totaled nearly 4,600 yards and threw 34 TDs.
This one is actually closer than you may think. Yes, the Vikings have Adrian Peterson, who led the league in rushing and is an all-time great. However, Beast Mode is back. Marshawn Lynch may be the greatest big-game running back I can ever remember watching. The fact that Lynch has missed the last seven weeks and we aren’t completely sure how healthy he is does hurt him though. Still, Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said that there’s “no reason” he can’t carry the ball 20 to 25 times this week.
These guys are nothing to write home about. Or to write a long paragraph in this article about for that matter. Nonetheless, I’m taking Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett over Stefon Diggs and Mike Wallace every time. Baldwin actually caught 78 passes for 1,069 yards and 14 TDs this season.
This is another one that is closer than you might think. The Seahawks are better and have the Legion of Boom. Not to mention their defensive front is actually better than sad Legion. They are dominant and have been for years. With that said, when healthy, the Vikings have a super-talented young defense. They are young and talented on all levels and they should be pretty healthy this week.
Seahawks: Russell Wilson
Vikings: Adrian Peterson
Green Bay Packers @ Washington Redskins
Sunday, January 10, 2016 3:40 P.M., FOX
While Aaron Rodgers has vastly underperformed this year and Kirk Cousins has been outstanding at home, Rodgers is still a much, much better QB. There is little mystery here.
Eddie Lacy and Alfred Morris. Talk about two fallen stars. Gross. I guess I’m going to roll with the fat guy on this. Seriously though, how fat is Eddie Lacy? It’s incredible. The Packers can’t figure out why he’s struggling. Really? His two favorite food groups are cheeses and breakfast meats. Still, the Redskins can’t run block at all and their running backs have been even worse. Alf can’t run and Matt Jones can’t hold on to the ball or stay healthy. James Starks may be the glimmer of hope in these backfields.
Who would have thought at the beginning of this season that the answer to this would be the Redskins? Quite frankly it’s not even close. The Packers’ WR corps is subpar at best. DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder are far and away the better group here. I honestly believed that all these guys were interchangeable cogs and Rodgers can make anyone great. We need to stop asking if Rodgers is as good as Tom Brady and start asking is he as good as Cam Newton and Russell Wilson.
Neither defense is good. The Redskins’ defense is worse. Still, I don’t expect either pass defense to hold up at all or either run defense to be over utilized. The Packers are much better against the pass and Redskins against the run. Don’t expect any of that to matter on Sunday. Both are bad.
Green Bay: 31
Packers: Aaron Rodgers
Redskins: Jordan Reed