My favorite weekend is finally here – Wild Card weekend! With teams fighting for their Playoff lives, clawing for a chance to lift that Lombardi Trophy visible faintly in the distance, each contender wants to take just one more step towards glory. The NFC has two major matchups. Hopefully I don’t need to explain how important the Vikings-Packers rivalry is to Football. What’s even more intriguing is the Sunday game where rookie quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III engage in all out war. Who’ve you got?
As always, HOME TEAM is in caps and lines are subject to move. The line on the Vikings-Packers tilt is dancing all over the place. I hope everyone had a great New Year’s and that they’re ready for a great wild card weekend of betting!
Minnesota Vikings +9.5 over GREEN BAY PACKERS (SAT, 8PM EST)
Yes, the Vikings are coming off a big win in Week 17 over Green Bay. The major difference in this game is that it’ll be in Wisconsin and not in the comforts of an indoor stadium. The other major difference is that Minnesota basically had a kitchen sink effort in that game, and barely scraped together a victory. A 37-34 victory against Green Bay at home is still a huge upset but it’s not enough for me to really think that Minnesota can beat Green Bay on their own turf.
Still, the Packers are not the playoff stalwarts you might think they are. They’ve been to the post season three times with Aaron Rodgers under center and they’ve won the Super Bowl once (duh), and been ousted in their first game of those playoffs the other two times.
What is comforting for Green Bay, however, is that they have their full arsenal of wide-receivers back in the fold and that means danger for the NFC. This is all just a caution because I don’t want people leveraging huge moneyline bets on Minnesota. The spread here is just as nice and gives you a much better cushion in case – ya know – Christian Ponder starts playing like Christian Ponder.
Minnesota can keep this game close by pounding the rock with Adrian Peterson, and frankly I am scared to death of betting against him. Christian Ponder had a terrific effort last Sunday, but this Saturday will be a different tale. The cold weather will have a big effect on him, and Jarius Wright won’t sneak up on the Packers this time around. I like Green Bay to win, but I love Minnesota to keep this game close and competitive. They have a strong rushing attack that seems virtually unstoppable, and a kicker who seems like he’s never going to miss.
What it really comes down to, however, is that I’m just not betting against Adrian Peterson.
Seattle Seahawks -3.0 over WASHINGTON REDSKINS (SUN, 4:30PM EST)
Since I’ve made so much money on the Washington Redskins over the past two months, it seems almost blasphemous to go against them in a Playoff game. Their 7-0 SU and ATS winning streak has been one helluva ride…but it’s about to come to an abrupt end. I’m willing to give credit where it’s rightfully due, but Washington received a lot of luck in the final few weeks to secure their Playoff spot. Namely, they ran in to an imploding Philadelphia team and a Dallas defense that had no healthy players.
The Seahawks aren’t just fully healthy on defense, they might be the best overall defense in the entire league. A deadly secondary combined with a viciously fast front-seven that is virtually designed to contain a guy like RG3 makes for a bad recipe. We’re used to seeing RG3 pull wins out of nowhere, but his luck is about to run out.
Seattle is one of the most balanced teams overall. The defense falls short in places, but makes up for it with gusto by scoring touchdowns of their own. If you go back to the draft in June, I’d still take RG3 over Russell Wilson but this weekend I’m taking the surging Seahawks to advance over the Washington Redskins as road favorites. Seattle simply has too many weapons.