NFL Picks: AFC Wildcard Betting

Joe Catalano

Friday, January 4, 2013 9:45 PM GMT

The upcoming Wildcard games for this weekend look to be very exciting. With the New York Giants out of the picture, we're going to have a new Super Bowl Champion this season.

Let's start off in the Wildcard picture, a place where New York began it's run.

The AFC give's you the larger point spreads, in which the Houston Texans are a 4.5 point betting favorite over the Cincinnati Bengals while the Baltimore Ravens are a touchdown favorite over the young Indianapolis Colts with quarterback Andrew Luck.

I've already given you a Wildcard Parlay and I'm going to give you my AFC Wildcard pick in this write-up.

Inconsistency Kills

I must admit, I want no part of the Houston Texans vs. Cincinnati Bengals football game. Although the Texans carry around a sharp 12-4 record on the season, they've lost 3 out of their last 4 games and were embarrassed in week 14 by New England and week 16 by Minnesota and Adrian Peterson. To me, this is not your typical 12-4 team of the past like a team run by Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, this is a team that can be beaten and quite frankly, beaten up at any time by any team.

The numbers do, however, say otherwise. The Texans are ranked 8th in rushing, 11th in passing, and 7th in defense against the rush. This could mean a tough time for Cincinnati running back Ben Jarvus Green- Eliis

Undrafted 

One player that I do have confidence in is Texans running back Arian Foster. Foster has had a lot to prove in the NFL since being as an undrafted player. We hear stories about how Tom Brady was drafted late. How about being overlooked by every team and not being drafted at all?

Foster has proven that he belongs. Not only that, he's proven to be one of the elite running backs in the NFL with 3 consecutive 1000 yard seasons. Andre Johnson is a superstar wide receiver with an amazing 1598 yards receiving and 112 receptions this year, but for my money, Foster is the backbone of this team. Houston will go as far as Arian Foster can take them. Foster's numbers has tailed off as of late, but he's come back strong in the last week of the season with a 96 yard, 1 TD effort against Indy.

If his irregular heartbeat doesn't get in the way, look for Foster to play well against the Bengals.

Overcoming Pittsburgh?

Let's face it, the Cincinnati Bengals aren't any better than they were last season. Luckily for them, Ben Rothlisberger has been hampered by injuries and they slid into the number 6 wildcard spot. Rothlisberger took the high road and blamed the week 17 loss to Cincinnati on himself. Maybe the Bengals deserved to win that particular game, but how about all of the games that Andy Dalton was healthy and Big Ben wasn't?  

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A.J? ...No way!

Okay folks, I like to be a little bit humorous at times. There's no doubt that wide receiver A.J. Green is a superstar. Just look at his 1350 yards receiving and 11 TD's. However, Green has really been slumping as of late with the exception of an 116 yard effort against Pittsburgh in week 16. Since November 25th, A.J. Green has caught only 1 touchdown pass and has only eclipsed the 100 yard mark in 1 of his last 5 games.

Having Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis run for over 1000 yards this season could possibly take away from Green's numbers, but he's been targeted enough by Andy Dalton. He's just come up short lately. In a game against Houston, Green must have a big game to win and I don't have confidence in him at the moment

This is a winnable game for Cincinnati. Houston is reeling and this is a perfect opportunity for the Bengals to advance as the 6th seed. That said, this is a game filled with many questions, so I'm fading it.

I gave you my Baltimore pick in my Wildcard Parlay and I also like the Ravens as my favorite Wildcard pick in the AFC.

NFL Pick:  Baltimore -7 at 5 Dimes