The 2013 NFL Playoffs begin without the New York Giants. That means it's time for some impartial Big Blue View Playoff Predictions. Mike and his crystal ball have ridden off into the sunset, so that means all this prognosticating stuff falls to yours truly.
So, let's see what Ed says about this weekend's wild-card playoff matchups. I am picking winners only, not picking against the spread.
Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) at Houston Texans (12-4)
Game Time: Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET
Line: Houston -5
At one time the Texans looked like a lock for home field throughout the playoffs. They did their best end-of-season Giants impersonation, however, losing three of their last four. Cincinnati, on the other hand, has won three straight and seven of eight to end the season. Couldn't they have beaten the Cowboys, too, and helped out the Giants.
Anyway, I am applying the 'which team is playing better right now' standard to this game and calling for what is, on paper, an upset.
Minnesota Vikings (10-6) at Green Bay Packers (11-5)
Game Time: Saturday, 8 p.m. ET
Line: Green Bay -9
The Vikings played an incredible, inspired game last Sunday to beat the Packers, 37-34, and qualify for the playoff spot the Giants had hoped for. This time, things will be different.
This game will be on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field in Green Bay rather the cozy confines of the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Besides, the Packers are the better team and there is no way I see Minnesota beating them two weeks in a row.
Pick: Green Bay
Indianapolis Colts (11-5) at Baltimore Ravens (10-6)
Game Time: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
Line: Baltimore -6.5
All of the conventional wisdom here tells me to pick the Ravens. They have the emotional return of Ray Lewis to inspire them. They have the experienced quarterback in Joe Flacco. They have the home-field advantage. They have Ray Rice.
I just can't bring myself to do it. There is something special about this year's Colts with rookie quarterback Andrew Luck and the story of head coach Chuck Pagano and his fight against leukemia. Besides which, I'm just not buying into the Ravens at this point. I think Ray Lewis' career comes to an end Sundayy.
Seattle Seahawks (11-5) at Washington Redskins (10-6)
Game Time: Sunday, 4:30 p.m. ET
Line: Seattle -3
The Redskins have won seven straight, and with-seah Robert Griffin III at the controls they are developing an auara of invincibility on offense. I'm not quite buying it, but it's out there.
The Seahawks have their own amazing rookie quarterback in Russell Wilson, and are riding a five-game winning streak. This is a fascinating game, which is either going to turn on Seattle having the vastly superior defense or the Redskins simply having the home-field advantage and riding an incredible wave of momentum. I think Seattle is a better all-around team, and that is the deciding factor.