The NFL playoffs begin on Saturday. This year's tournament actually has more of a wide-open feel on the AFC side, in this writer's opinion.
Wild Card round:
Kansas City @ Houston: South champion Houston started the season with Brian Hoyer, who was stupidly cast aside by Cleveland---and, oh, did the Brownouts pay for that one!---but by the time the season was over, Hoyer was battling Brandon Weeden, who started the year with Dallas, for the starting job. Meanwhile, Andy Reid's Chiefs seem to be on a mission after starting 1-5, winning the next 10 to finish 2nd behind---who else?---Denver in the West. This one is just too easy. Pick--Kansas City.
Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati: The long time North division rivals meet for the 3rd time this season, and the winner decides the other wild card's travel plans for the Divisional round. It all hinges on Cincinnati, and who starts at QB.
Will it be Andy Dalton, the 5th year man out of TCU, who's missed the last few games with an injury, and hasn't won a playoff game? Or is it 2nd year QB A. J. McCarron, who won a couple of national titles at Alabama, so he wouldn't sweat the pressure. It ain't rocket science, kids. If McCarron starts, he gives the Bengals the best chance to get that playoff monkey off their backs. If it's Dalton, I think the pressure will be even tougher than usual.
If Cincinnati wins, they go to New England, and Kansas City would get a 3rd game vs. Denver. However, if Pittsburgh wins, then they go to Denver, and Kansas City would head to Foxborough and a showdown with the suddenly vulnerable Patriots.
The pick: Pittsburgh.
Green Bay @ Washington: After losing at home to Minnesota last night, insurance salesman Aaron Rodgers and the Pack have to face the Congressionals. Well, that's not so bad. Kirk Cousins gets his first playoff start. That's the good news. The bad? The Packers are more than a mite pissed off. Pick-Green Bay.
Seattle @ Minnesota: Aside from getting torched by St. Louis 8 days ago, the Seahawks look like their usual selves again. That's bad news for the rest of the NFC. The Vikings don't match up as well against the Legion of Boom. Pick-Seattle.
That would set up the NFC Divisional round with the 2-time defending NFC champs getting sent to Tobacco Road to play Carolina, while Green Bay visits Arizona.
We'll figure out the rest next week. Of course, I could be wrong.