NFL Wildcard Saturday open thread

posted at 2:31 pm on January 5, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Here’s where I’d normally open a post by assessing the chances of the Pittsburgh Steelers to win a big game … except that, for the first time in three years, the Steelers get to see the playoffs the same was as the Cleveland Browns do every year (sorry, Hugh!).  The wild-card games look pretty competitive, though, and we should be in for a fun afternoon and evening watching the Bengals taking on the slumping Texans in Houston, and the Vikings trying to win two in a row over the Packer in Green Bay.

I still have my Terrible Towel out, though.  Wait ’til next year!  This year, though, I finished the regular season at 69-36 after going 5-1 on picks in Week 17.  Not bad, but now I have to pick every game in the playoffs…

  • Bengals at Texans (4:30 pm ET, NBC) – A few weeks ago, this would have been a no-brainer.  Houston looked set for a first-round bye after dominating the AFC.  Then they lost three of their last four games, including an embarrassing near-rout to Minnesota at home two weeks ago.  Cincinnati has only lost once in the last eight weeks, a close one against Dallas at home, but they’ve only really dominated doormat teams like Philadelphia, Oakland, and Kansas City. They had to beat Pittsburgh the road and Baltimore at home to finish the season, though, so I’m giving the edge to the former Bungles in this one.  Cincinnati 27, Houston 24.
  • Vikings at Packers (8 pm, NBC) – I watched last week’s game and came away impressed with Minnesota’s gut-check performance … at home.  They were a different team on the road most of this season, going 3-5 (with that big win in Houston coming late), and Green Bay is a different team at home, too, only losing once in the season opener to San Francisco.  They bested Minnesota in Green Bay on December 2nd in a close game, 23-14, even after giving up an 82-yard run to Adrian Peterson.  The Pack are too good at home and the Vikes are too mediocre on the road to see Minnesota take two in a row, even with AP running over the Green Bay line.  Packers win this one 31-22, and Peterson gets 150 yards.

By the way, Andy Reid got the first new job of the 2013 season yesterday, signing with the Kansas City Chiefs after 14 seasons as head coach at Philadelphia.  There are still a half-dozen jobs still open.  That job in San Diego looks pretty tasty, especially with Philip Rivers still having top-notch skills and a decent Southern California venue.  I’m wondering if that’s attractive enough to bring Bill Cowher out of retirement.


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Here’s where I’d normally open a post by assessing the chances of the Pittsburgh Steelers to win a big game … except that, for the first time in three years, the Steelers get to see the playoffs the same was as the… San Diego Chargers… BWAHAHAHAH… ;p

SWalker on January 5, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Squealers, Jints & Bolts all in the same position of watching the action as the Jets

philw1776 on January 5, 2013 at 2:50 PM

C’mon Bengals!

knob on January 5, 2013 at 3:02 PM

Go Vikings and Texans (that’s for you TXUS)

gophergirl on January 5, 2013 at 3:04 PM

I think if the Packers hold Adrian Peterson to less than 100 yards, they win. The only way they are doing that is if they get the lead early.

The Texans will beat Cincinnati.

Rode Werk on January 5, 2013 at 3:04 PM

…next year…or the year after…or the year after…or the year after…or the year after…or the year after…(etc)…GO LIONS…!!!

KOOLAID2 on January 5, 2013 at 3:16 PM

Cinci & GB win today
Then the Rogers hype will become unbearable, though less than half the Manning crescendo

philw1776 on January 5, 2013 at 3:17 PM

Packers pretty much have all hands on deck. Charles Woodson is due back from missing half the season, have to see how effective he is. I also read that Ponder’s got a sore elbow so maybe he doesn’t throw or connect with too many surprise passes in between AP runs and gets intercepted multiple times as he did on his last trip into Lambeau. Packers D is motivated to stop AP today. We’ll soon see. Anything to shut up that trash-talking commiesocmarxist clown impostor senator from MN.

stukinIL4now on January 5, 2013 at 3:20 PM

Stupid Giants not even making the playoffs.

rbj on January 5, 2013 at 3:30 PM

I hope Vikings beat the Packers, solely because I don’t want my Falcons to have to play the Pack later on.

Lawdawg86 on January 5, 2013 at 3:31 PM

Packers for the WIN!!! (sorry GG – Packers are my team …) :D

conservative tarheel on January 5, 2013 at 3:32 PM

I’m wondering if [San Diego]’s attractive enough to bring Bill Cowher out of retirement.

We’ve got our own coaching search going on here in Chicago. I’m getting the impression Cowher isn’t coming out of retirement for anyone.

I think Lovie’s going to end up in Buffalo, though.

JimLennon on January 5, 2013 at 3:32 PM

I hope Vikings beat the Packers, solely because I don’t want my Falcons to have to play the Pack later on.

Lawdawg86 on January 5, 2013 at 3:31 PM

It wouldn’t be until the NFC Championship game. Still having flashbacks to 2011?

stukinIL4now on January 5, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Ed, you are picking the Bungles? I think not. My crystal ball calls this one for the Texans, not that I have a dog in this fight. My Giants are watching these games from the same Lounge Of Losers as the Steelers this year.

simkeith on January 5, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Who Dey! Go Bengals!

sandspur on January 5, 2013 at 4:10 PM

My crystal ball calls this one for the Texans, not that I have a dog in this fight. My Giants are watching these games from the same Lounge Of Losers as the Steelers this year.

simkeith on January 5, 2013 at 3:56 PM

I’m getting that sick feeling that any native Houstonian gets with their football team. This is Oiler Luv Ya Blue 2.0 all over again when they always choked at the end. I’m hoping by Earl Campbell being there, it might inspire the team.

TxAnn56 on January 5, 2013 at 4:12 PM

What do you call a Viking with a Super Bowl ring?

(A) A thief?
(B) A traitor?
(C) A thieving traitor?

GO PACK GO!

Steve Eggleston on January 5, 2013 at 4:25 PM

Minnesota’s record in games below 40 degrees is horrible, so they have no chance.

Del Dolemonte on January 5, 2013 at 4:30 PM

Minnesota’s record in games below 40 degrees is horrible, so they have no chance.

Del Dolemonte on January 5, 2013 at 4:30 PM

Hmmpf :(

gophergirl on January 5, 2013 at 4:35 PM

TV guys just said the Bengals havent won a playoff game in 20 years.

Sacramento on January 5, 2013 at 4:39 PM

I reckon they are due for a win, then.

sandspur on January 5, 2013 at 4:45 PM

It wouldn’t be until the NFC Championship game. Still having flashbacks to 2011?

stukinIL4now on January 5, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Yes, yes I am. *swigs cups of whiskey*

Lawdawg86 on January 5, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Go Pack!!!

Bmore on January 5, 2013 at 4:59 PM

Minnesota’s record in games below 40 degrees is horrible, so they have no chance.

Del Dolemonte on January 5, 2013 at 4:30 PM

Hmmpf :(

gophergirl on January 5, 2013 at 4:35 PM

In fact the Vikes made The Bleacher Report’s “5 worst outdoor teams” a couple of years ago; since 2000 they have only won 2 out of 12 games played in temps below 40 degrees. And Ponder has never started a game where the temp was below 40.

Del Dolemonte on January 5, 2013 at 5:05 PM

And Ponder has never started a game where the temp was below 40.

Del Dolemonte on January 5, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Looks like that streak will likely continue – word on the ‘tubes is Joe Webb will be making the start.

Steve Eggleston on January 5, 2013 at 5:10 PM

This is not the old days of the frozen tundra. The field now has heated coils underneath the turf. Each play gets a new football. Cold is not the issue nearly as much as the wind. I think a windy day does two things. One works against the Vikes, which is it will limit the long kicks from Walsh. The other is it will limit Green Bay’s passing attack more than AP’s running. On a cold windless night, at G.B. I think the advantage is probably to the Pack, being at home, but MN will be in it.

STL_Vet on January 5, 2013 at 6:00 PM

In fact the Vikes made The Bleacher Report’s “5 worst outdoor teams” a couple of years ago; since 2000 they have only won 2 out of 12 games played in temps below 40 degrees. And Ponder has never started a game where the temp was below 40.

Del Dolemonte on January 5, 2013 at 5:05 PM

I repeat Hmmpf ;(

gophergirl on January 5, 2013 at 6:06 PM

Ponder was out warming up but there’s some question as to whether he’ll start.

stukinIL4now on January 5, 2013 at 6:10 PM

No Ponder – guess all you Packer fans will be happy tonight.

I hope it’s not a blow out :(

gophergirl on January 5, 2013 at 6:29 PM

Looks like that streak will likely continue – word on the ‘tubes is Joe Webb will be making the start.

Steve Eggleston on January 5, 2013 at 5:10 PM

Just confirmed. Vikings streak of not winning the Stupor Bowl will continue.

rbj on January 5, 2013 at 6:30 PM

I wouldn’t say the game’s a gimme for the Pack. Webb is an unknown so I hope the defensive braintrust did their homework. Anything can happen–that’s why they play.

stukinIL4now on January 5, 2013 at 6:32 PM

I don’t get it. Ponder should play unless his arm is literally hanging on by a thread. Ridiculous. Why even play the game now? After the first game snoozefest, WC Saturday is a real wash. Ugh.

kit9 on January 5, 2013 at 6:39 PM

I have no interest in the vikings but I am going to root for them

because Joe Webb winning would be A STORY

gerrym51 on January 5, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Oh yay, more field goals.

/sarc

rbj on January 5, 2013 at 7:10 PM

Should the Packers win the coin toss, I wonder if they’ll take the ball first or defer like they did last week, which I thought they shouldn’t have done. It gave the Vikings a chance to get AP and the offense going. With a lead they ran more. If they’re behind, they’ll have to pass more.

stukinIL4now on January 5, 2013 at 7:19 PM

I have no interest in the vikings but I am going to root for them

because Joe Webb winning would be A STORY

gerrym51 on January 5, 2013 at 7:00 PM

I just heard that Webb hasn’t attempted throwing a pass all season. Maybe he’ll tag-team with AP.

stukinIL4now on January 5, 2013 at 7:46 PM

Who Dey! …..

sandspur on January 5, 2013 at 4:10 PM

The Texans.

CW on January 5, 2013 at 8:02 PM

Packers win the coin toss and choose to defer again.

stukinIL4now on January 5, 2013 at 8:05 PM

Peterson—–200 yards

Webb—–120 yards rushing, 55 yards passing.

Vikings win!

Rovin on January 5, 2013 at 8:05 PM

If the Packers don’t slow down Peterson and Webb, Walsh could just kick field goals all night.

stukinIL4now on January 5, 2013 at 8:26 PM

If the Packers don’t slow down Peterson and Webb, Walsh could just kick field goals all night.

stukinIL4now on January 5, 2013 at 8:26 PM

You’re writing an epitaph stu…..stop it! :)

Rovin on January 5, 2013 at 8:31 PM

Just confirmed. Vikings streak of not winning the Stupor Bowl will continue.

rbj on January 5, 2013 at 6:30 PM

That was confirmed the moment the schedule came out.

Steve Eggleston on January 5, 2013 at 8:55 PM

Just confirmed. Vikings streak of not winning the Stupor Bowl will continue.

rbj on January 5, 2013 at 6:30 PM
That was confirmed the moment the schedule came out.

Steve Eggleston on January 5, 2013 at 8:55 PM

Admit it….you’re both old enough to enjoy watching Tark scramble all over the field.

Rovin on January 5, 2013 at 8:58 PM

Admit it….you’re both old enough to enjoy watching Tark scramble all over the field.

Rovin on January 5, 2013 at 8:58 PM

Tark? I remember watching Joe Kapp in Super Bowl IV. I remember watching the famous Ice Bowl game. Heck I remember watching before there was a Super Bowl.

And it sure is nice to see the Packers passing game finally break out tonight. I was wondering what Rodgers was waiting for.

stukinIL4now on January 5, 2013 at 9:11 PM

The Astros beat the Reds tonight in a high-scoring game, 19-13. Hell yeah, Go ‘Stros!!!

Oh, that’s right, it was a football game.

____________________

Memo to my Texans:

If you think you’re going to hold the Pats to no offensive TDs and then win with one TD and 4 FGs (as you did today over the Bengals), you might consider saving all the money to go up there next weekend. Just sayin’.

TXUS on January 5, 2013 at 9:23 PM

In December 1981, Kapp made a promise to the football team that he would not consume any of his favorite alcoholic beverage, tequila, until the Golden Bears reached the Rose Bowl. As of March 2011, the Golden Bears have yet to return to the Rose Bowl and Kapp has resorted to drinking rum instead. Too funny!

In 1964, Kapp led the CFL British Columbia Lions to their first Grey Cup win, and earned a spot in the CFL Hall of Fame. He is the only player to quarterback in an NFL Super Bowl, CFL Grey Cup and NCAA Rose Bowl games. And Kapp is the last quarterback to throw seven touchdown passes in an NFL game!

Kapp always reminded me of Jim Plunket…..just a few years behind his prime with the Vikings and getting knocked down constantly. Now if you want to talk about real Bay Area QB’s John Brodie was one of the best, over 30k yds. (and I wuz at Kezar watching him)

Rovin on January 5, 2013 at 9:33 PM

Yeah Vikings do not look good.

Hmmpf!

gophergirl on January 5, 2013 at 9:45 PM

Remember the Vikings had only 3 wins last year.

CW on January 5, 2013 at 10:01 PM

Memo to my Texans:
If you think you’re going to hold the Pats to no offensive TDs and then win with one TD and 4 FGs (as you did today over the Bengals), you might consider saving all the money to go up there next weekend. Just sayin’.

TXUS on January 5, 2013 at 9:23 PM

It’s still amazing that they squandered the last three games. They could have had a bye and home field for all of the playoffs. As usual, the road to the SB goes through New England. It gets old after a couple of decades. I don’t know what it is about Houston and football. I still remember the heartbreaking UofH defeat in the 1979 Cotton Bowl against Notre Dame when Joe Montana rose from the dead. It’s a curse.

TxAnn56 on January 5, 2013 at 10:51 PM

What a pair of boring games.

Rode Werk on January 5, 2013 at 11:05 PM

It would’ve been more interesting if Ponder had played and he certainly would’ve run a better offense. But Rodgers nailed it down in the 2nd and 3rd quarters as he ran down the clock while running up the score and kept Peterson off the field–sometimes the best defense is a good offense. Playoff games don’t always live up to the hype and expectations. Maybe tomorrow.

stukinIL4now on January 5, 2013 at 11:17 PM

Memo to my Texans:

If you think you’re going to hold the Pats to no offensive TDs and then win with one TD and 4 FGs (as you did today over the Bengals), you might consider saving all the money to go up there next weekend. Just sayin’.

TXUS on January 5, 2013 at 9:23 PM

It’s still amazing that they squandered the last three games. They could have had a bye and home field for all of the playoffs. As usual, the road to the SB goes through New England. It gets old after a couple of decades. I don’t know what it is about Houston and football. I still remember the heartbreaking UofH defeat in the 1979 Cotton Bowl against Notre Dame when Joe Montana rose from the dead. It’s a curse.

TxAnn56 on January 5, 2013 at 10:51 PM

Well, don’t forget that the very next week after the Texans got blown out in NE last month, SF came in and ended the Patriots’ 20 game December winning streak. Anything is possible in the playoffs.

Especially since the forecast for next Sunday in Foxboro has the temp in mid 40s. Sunday night it will only just barely below freezing. That’s warm for NE for January 13!

Del Dolemonte on January 6, 2013 at 10:39 AM