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Prisco's Picks: Week 18

 
 
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WEEK
18
PETE PRISCO
Senior NFL Columnist
Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and can be seen throughout the week on CBS Sports' NFL shows. When he's not watching game tape you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.
MATCHUP SCORE ANALYSIS
Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016
 
Kansas City
Chiefs
14
This is a game of two teams that turned their seasons around in a big way. Both looked to be in big trouble early, but they righted things. The Chiefs have won 10 straight coming into this one, while Texans have won three in a row. Brian Hoyer is back under center for the Texans, which is a big deal for a team that had quarterback issues. The key here will be how well the Texans block the Chiefs' outside pass rushers without Duane Brown. I think they find a way. The Texans defense is dominating right now, and I think it stays that way. They limit the Kansas City run game, and get after Alex Smith. Houston takes it.
Result: Houston Texans 0, Kansas City Chiefs 30
Houston
Texans
20
 
 
Pittsburgh
Steelers
20
The Bengals will be without Andy Dalton for another week, which means A.J. McCarron will make his fourth start and first playoff start. The Steelers can roll up big numbers on offense, and that passing game can be lethal. But they can't stop anybody's passing game. Look for A.J. Green to have a good day and help McCarron have a solid passing performance. The Bengals will finally win a playoff game under Marvin Lewis, and it will come without Dalton.
Result: Cincinnati Bengals 16, Pittsburgh Steelers 18
Cincinnati
Bengals
21
 
Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016
 
Seattle
Seahawks
27
The Seahawks blew out the Vikings in early December, but that was a banged-up Minnesota team. They played most of the game without some key defenders, including safety Harrison Smith and linebacker Anthony Barr. Russell Wilson carved them up that day, and he's continued on a hot pace. But the Minnesota defense has the speed and the talent to be better this time. He will still make plays, just not as many. The difference will be the Seattle defense. They did a great job on Adrian Peterson in the last game, and will do so again. That will put a lot of pressure on Teddy Bridgewater. The pass rush of the Seahawks will be too much for the Vikings, and the Seattle secondary will get two takeaways to win it.
Result: Seattle Seahawks 10, Minnesota Vikings 9
Minnesota
Vikings
23
 
 
Green Bay
Packers
24
The Redskins are rolling on offense, while the Packers are struggling. That just doesn't seem right. Kirk Cousins is outplaying Aaron Rodgers right now, which is strange. Cousins will be making his first playoff start, which could bring on some jitters. The Packers have been there before. Washington's defense has made strides, but I still think Rodgers will turn it up. The Packers will go into Washington and pull off the upset.
Result: Green Bay Packers 35, Washington Redskins 18
Washington
Redskins
20
 
 
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