Wild card weekend is up for grabs

Expect the unexpected.

Which translates into anything can happen as the NFL playoffs kick off this weekend.

As in who’s hot (Seattle) and who’s not (Houston). Can Adrian Peterson and the Vikings knock off Green Bay a second successive weekend? And, will this be future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis’ final game?

Lewis’ Baltimore Ravens have been established six-point favorites and are playing at home, opposing a Colts’ club under the guidance of a rookie (albeit productive one) quarterback.

Clear winners here are the divisional top seeds, facing one less week of postseason preparation.

We’ll go on record now and project a Denver-San Francisco Super Bowl matchup next month in the Big Easy (see column header)….


CINCINNATI AT HOUSTON. Texan fans have to be concerned by their team’s uneven late-season performance. The opposite holds true in Cincinnati where the Bengals, down the stretch, have continually found ways to win if not via definitive measures. At any rate, we can’t imagine Saturday’s survivor hanging around much longer. TEXANS, 23-20.

MINNESOTA AT GREEN BAY. Weather forecast calls for dry conditions with temps near 20 at kickoff. Purple Gang obviously need more of the same from No. 28 whose inspired running sparked last Sunday’s 37-34 victory. Playing on January’s frozen tundra, however, has historically resulted in positive results for the Pack. Another close outcome appears possible with Aaron Rodgers holding the trump card this week. PACKERS, 24-20.


INDIANAPOLIS AT BALTIMORE. Dirty Birds have appeared anything but dominant while Colts play with additional incentive for their courageous head coach. Call this projection a long shot. RAVENS, 30-17.

SEATTLE AT WASHINGTON. Experts insist no one wants to face league’s hottest team in Seattle. Though we’re miles from expert status (see any weekly column), we’re on board with that theory regarding this matchup. It’s a one-and-done scenario for RG III as Russell Wilson’s magic carpet ride continues in our Upset Special. SEAHAWKS, 27-21.

LAST WEEK: 11-5. SEASON: 157-93. UPSET SPECIALS: 5-12.

Gibson may be reached at rgibson@timesleaderonline.com