NFL wild card playoff picks from the experts at CBS Sports are in, and we are looking at four potentially close games. While the Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins matchup seems like a blowout on paper, the Redskins have a real shot to win against the struggling Packers. The Seattle Seahawks have the best odds to come out with a victory against the underdog Minnesota Vikings, but the game is in Minnesota, and cold temperatures could even the playing field for the home team.
While the Kansas City Chiefs are more talented and have a better coaching staff than the Houston Texans, the game is in Houston, which should help keep the mediocre Texans in the game. The most intriguing game of the wild card round of the playoffs is the prime time Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals matchup. Both teams hate each other, and Cincinnati's home field advantage could be the difference that the Bengals need. Here are the expert predictions from John Breech of CBS Sports for the 2016 NFL wild card playoff round.
Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (12-4)No other team in the league is as Jekyll and Hyde as the Pittsburgh Steelers, and they can just as easily beat the best team in the league as they could lose to the worst team in the league. While their 10-6 record could have been better if quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was completely healthy, they recently lost a must-win game to the Baltimore Ravens, and almost missed the playoffs because of it. Regardless, the Steelers managed to get into the playoffs, and will travel to Cincinnati for a divisional matchup against their hated rival.
All things point to the Bengals losing this game, but CBS Sports predicts the Bengals will escape with a 23-20 victory. The inexperienced AJ Mccarran will start for the injured Andy Dalton. Head coach Marvin Lewis has a 0-6 playoff record in his 12 years as the Bengals coach. Regardless, the Steelers have not won a playoff game since 2011, and we could just as easily see the team that lost to the Ravens a few weeks ago. As Breech notes, the Bengals will either win a close game, or they will be completely blown out.
Green Bay Packers (10-6) at Washington Redskins (9-7)Both of these teams are impossible to figure out. While the Redskins backed into the playoffs by winning the awful NFC East, they actually looked like somewhat of a solid team at the end of the year. The Packers started off the season with a record of 6-0, and looked to be a real Super Bowl contender. For some reason, the offense started sputtering, and the Packers went 4-6 in their final 10 games. Regardless, the Packers look like the easy pick on paper. They have Super Bowl winning quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and a more experienced team. The Redskins have a still unproven quarterback in Kirk Cousins, and a team that has not won an NFL playoff game since the 2005 season.
Regardless, Vegas Insider has the Redskins as only one point favorites on their home field. The Packers are the better team here, but their recent poor play really gives the Redskins a shot to win this game. In the end though, Breech of CBS Sports picks the Packers to win by a score of 20-17.
Seattle Seahawks (10-6) at Minnesota Vikings (11-5)Despite finishing the NFL season with a 10-6 record, the Seattle Seahawks are a really good football team. Like last year, they finished the season strong, and just dismantled the Arizona Cardinals by a score of 36-6. While they have some questionable losses this year, they are an extremely dangerous team going into the playoffs. Since they are in the playoffs as a wild card team this year, they will not be able to take advantage of their top home-field advantage in the league, but it might not matter. The defense is firing on all cylinders, and quarterback Russell Wilson is playing some of the best football of his career.
While the Vikings have had a fine season, young quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is not ready to beat the Seahawks in the playoffs. One factor that could come into play is the freezing cold weather. The temperature is expected to be around zero degrees, and that could be a huge advantage for Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Breech picks the Seahawks to win by a score of 27-13.
Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) at Houston Texans (9-7)While it may seem wrong that an 11-5 team has to travel to the home stadium of a 9-7 team, that is the way the NFL playoffs are currently setup. The Texans won an awful AFC South division, and are a mediocre at best as a football team. After a slow start, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid was able to turn things around, and they won their final ten games. Vegas Insider has the Chiefs as three-point road favorites, and the experts at CBS Sports agree in their predictions and picks. Breech says the Chiefs will win 24-17.
While these are the complete 2016 NFL wild card playoff picks and predictions from the experts at CBS Sports, things can always change throughout the week. Injuries or serious weather concerns can easily give an underdog a much better chance at victory. If nothing major happens, the Seahawks, Packers, Bengals, and Chiefs are the expert picks to advance to the next round of the NFL playoffs.
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