As ever, these are our crackerjack staff’s predictions for the Wild Card game. Make yours down in the comments. Whoever comes closest gets to make a guest post on this here weblog.
JP Finlay: Redskins, 34-20
This seems ridiculous to write, but I think the Skins roll. Rodgers has been sacked 14 times his last two games. Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan have five sacks just between the two of them in the last two. It’s bad math for Green Bay between their slumping O-line and the Skins surging D-line.
Oh yeah, the Redskins offense is cooking. They will score. Wild Card round is usually about the hot hand; few are hotter than Kirk Cousins.
Are there reasons to worry? Of course. Aaron Freaking Rodgers ranks No. 1. And certainly some part of Gruden/McVay/Cousins could get tight. I just don’t see it happening though.
When you’re at a hot blackjack table, don’t get up.
Matt Terl: Packers, 24-21
I can’t believe, after everything, that this team has a home playoff game in which they were somehow (however briefly) favored. Like Kevin Stroop noted here earlier this week, that’s a hell of an accomplishment all by itself. I still feel like Rodgers and the Packers will wind up winning the game, but good on Gruden and Cousins and the Skins for even making this a conversation at all.
Todd Davis: Redskins, 27-23
I’m completely with Finlay on this game. While it would be the most Washington thing to buck the very strong “hot teams win WC games” trend, Green Bay just can’t score consistently right now and the Skins shaky secondary really isn’t something the current group of Packers receivers looks capable of exploiting. Biggest concern is Turnover Cousins returning as playoff sphincters clinch, but he’s playing with house money and it would take an awful lot of disaster to knock this group’s confidence right now.
Andy Peden: Packers, 28-27
I said before the season I was no longer emotionally invested in the Skins. That probably wasn’t the right description. I think it was more like I’m not going to let the losses ruin my day, but I still care. So now that the unbelievable has happened (division champs) and I actually believe this team can win a playoff game, I will have my soul crushed Sunday.
Jack Kogod: Redskins, 27-21
BANDWAGON is out in full force. I’m still not on it though. My brother asked when I’d quit with the “don’t care about the Redskins” act, and I honestly don’t have an answer. I’m not sure what it would take to get me invested in this franchise again. The new GM is definitely a good start, but I still feel like it’s a long way off. That said, I would love for this team to make my friends and family happy again, even if it means Dan Snyder being happy.
Chris Mottram: Packers, 34-31
The Panthers get the bye week they deserve (although you could argue Week 17 against the Bucs was one too lol) after proving to be the best team in football this season. I’m hoping they get to the play the Redskins in the Divisional Round cause that team SUCKS, but Carolina shouldn’t be afraid of whoever comes to town.
Jamie Mottram: Redskins, 30-20
Given how little was expected, I’m happy with this season no matter what. Just like 2005 and 2007. And 2012, too, if not for the franchise-crippling injury at the end there.
The Redskins hired a real GM, found their quarterback (we think) and won the NFC East. All good things. All great things. But that doesn’t mean I’m just fine with a loss on Sunday.
You don’t root for nine wins, or the division, or to be hanging from the bottom rung of the NFL’s upper class.
They have about a 50-percent chance of winning Sunday. Then maybe a 40-percent chance on the road against Carolina or Arizona next week. And then maybe another 40-percent chance should they make it to the conference title. After that, let’s take it back up to 50, because who knows. There’s about a four-percent chance Washington goes all the way, is what I’m saying. That’s four points better than Dallas, Philly and New York.
Beat Green Bay, make it to the elite eight. Then go win the whole fuckin’ thing.
Composite prediction: Redskins, 28-24