Scrolling Headlines:

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 23, 2017

SGA president selects new vice president -

January 23, 2017

UMass women’s basketball blows 15 point fourth quarter lead, loses in double overtime to George Washington -

January 23, 2017

UMass club hockey falls to NYU 3-2 in first game back from vacation -

January 23, 2017

Cyr: Expectations for UMass men’s basketball remain consistent throughout 2016-17 season -

January 23, 2017

The death penalty is not the answer -

January 23, 2017

Donald Trump is gutting journalism with his Twitter -

January 23, 2017

Winter break’s most overlooked releases -

January 23, 2017

Hardly anything in ‘Rogue One’ scores a direct hit -

January 23, 2017

Nineteen turnovers sink UMass men’s basketball in loss to Fordham Saturday -

January 21, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls to Fordham behind strong defensive effort by the Rams -

January 21, 2017

UMass hockey can’t take advantage of strong start in 6-1 loss to Boston College -

January 21, 2017

High-powered Eagles soar past UMass -

January 21, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

AFC wild-card weekend predictions

No. 6 Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) @

No. 3 Houston Texans (12-4)

Winners of seven of their last eight, the Cincinnati Bengals are arriving in Houston on fire, as they are set to face a Texan team going through its coldest streak of the season, having dropped three of its last four games.

The Texans of course have the star power that Cincinnati lacks, but don’t let that fool you. Matt Schaub has thrown just one touchdown in his last four games and has not surpassed 300 yards passing since Houston’s Thanksgiving matchup in Detroit. The Bengals have one of the better passing defenses in the league and should be able to contain his targets decently.

For the Bengals, Andy Dalton has had an impressive second year in command of his team’s offense, but going against one of the best pass-rushing teams may be an issue for him, as he has been sacked the third most of any quarterback in the NFL.

MCT

When it comes to the running game, the Texans have a struggling Arian Foster, who will be watched carefully after being removed from a game two weeks ago due to an irregular heartbeat, and Cincinnati’s running back, Benjarvis Green-Ellis, who is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury.

Expect Green-Ellis to play, since the season is on the line, but he will be limited. On the other hand, don’t expect Foster’s arrhythmia to be any hinderance to his game. Although he’s crossed the plane for just one score in the past three games, and has only one 100-plus yard rushing game in the last five weeks, he should be able to easily climb over the 100-yard rushing mark against the Bengals’ average running defense.

With a similar passing matchup (taking into account Schaub’s cold streak) and two teams lacking playoff experience, there’s a good chance there will be a handful of mistakes, making for a close game.

Final Verdict:

Houston – 24

Cincinnati – 20

 


 

No. 5 Indianapolis Colts (11-5) @

No. 4 Baltimore Ravens (10-6)

The Indianapolis Colts have been the luckiest team in football this year, but the Luck will run out (pun intended) this week in Baltimore.

Despite being 11-5, the Colts have yet to convince me that they are equipped to win a playoff game. They have impressed us all with Andrew Luck having turned the franchise from a 2-14 disgrace to where they are now, but if you take a closer look at the games they have played this season, they could have easily ended up with a losing record.

Nine out of Indianapolis’ 11 wins have been by a margin of one touchdown or less. They have also only pulled off one convincing win on the road, and that was against the eventual 2-14 Jacksonville Jaguars.

What is concerning is the Colts’ defense on the road. At home (where they are 7-1), Indy’s defense has been one of the best, giving up an average of 19.2 points per game; but on the road, its 29.1 points per game surrendered is fourth worst in the NFL.

MCT

Meanwhile, the Ravens are as comfortable as can be at home, averaging 31.8 points per game, good for fourth in the league. However, Baltimore has looked shaky late this season, losing four of its last five games, one of them being an unusual pounding at home against Denver. But in recent years, the Ravens have had early round success, making it past the wild-card round in each of the last four seasons, and against a weak defensive unit, Joe Flacco and Ray Rice should be able to coast down the field.

So we have a rookie who has carried his team through success in a series of nail-biters facing a team of veterans with plenty of playoff experience, hungry to reach the title game that they have been seeking for years.

I’ll take the latter of the two.

Final Verdict:

Baltimore: 30

Indianapolis: 17

ALSO, CHECK OUT NFC WILD-CARD PREDICTIONS

Taylor Snow can be reached at tsnow@dailycollegian.com and followed on Twitter @taylorcsnow.

Comments
One Response to “AFC wild-card weekend predictions”
  1. Aaron Dobson says:

    wow you we’re pretty bang on with these NFL picks. I really wish Houston had a better gameplan the following week against the Patriots. They were simple out-coached.

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