My predictions for the Super Bowl and four Wild Card match-ups this weekend:
Cincinnati at Houston (-4.5) 1/5/2013 4:30p ET NBC
My Pick: Texans 23-17
A month ago the Texans were 11-1 and the Super Bowl favorite. But after a drubbing to the Patriots and losses to the Vikings and Colts to finish the season, many are picking the Bengals for an upset.
Winners of 7 of their last 8, Cincinnati will be a good young team for many years to come but their lack of depth at receiver behind AJ Green means they will need to establish the run on a stout Texans D and JJ Watt, my vote for NFL defensive player of the year. Look for Schaub to get another big day out of Andre Johnson, and the consistent Arian Foster to find pay dirt twice.
Minnesota at Green Bay (-7.5) 1/5/2013 8:00p ET NBC
My Pick: Packers 34-20
As incredible as Adrian Peterson has been in carrying the Vikings on his back, I can’t see Green Bay not learning from last week’s loss to Minnesota, and this week they’re at home. The focus all week must have been on team tackling, so expect the Packers to limit AP to 150 yards (is that limiting?) and forcing Ponder to beat them through the air, which he won’t. Rodgers to Jordy Nelson and NFL touchdown leader James Jones all day.