The NFL playoffs began with a whimper on Saturday with both home teams winning their WildCard round playoffs games. The Houston Texans beat the Cincinnati Bengals and themselves 19-13 while the Green Bay Packers easily handled the Minnesota Vikings 24-10 in the nightcap.
The win by the Texans means they will travel to New England to face the Patriots next weekend. Houston dominated the Bengals, but an inability to score touchdowns in the Red Zone, coupled with a pick-6 thrown by Matt Schaub allowed the Bengals to be in the game until then end.
The Texans doubled the Bengals in First Downs(24-12) and nearly doubled them in Time of Possession(38:49 - 21:11) but could not pull away. Houston also held the advantage in total yards(420-198).
Arian Foster had it going on the ground, rushing for 140 yards on 32 carries. Matt Schaub wasn't great but was able to move the chains when needed - Houston was 9/17 on 3rd down. Schaub finished 29/38 for 262 yards and that INT, a poor decision on an out route that Bengals corner Leon Hall picked off and returned 21 yards for a touchdown.
Andy Dalton was awful, completing 14/30 passes for 127 yards. The Bengals were 0-9 on 3rd down as the Texans found their defensive mojo after losing 3 of their last 4 games.
The Texans now get a rematch with the Patriots, who beat them a month ago 42-14 in a game that wasn't that close.
In Green Bay, the biggest news happened before the game when the Vikings announced that Christian Ponder would be unable to go with elbow soreness. Joe Webb got the start and it quickly became apparent how ineffective he would be throwing the ball.
Minnesota turned the ball over 3 times and Adrian Peterson never could get off, rushing for 99 yards on 22 carries. The Packers scored two touchdowns in the final 3:25 of the 1st half, then took the 3rd quarter kickoff and went 80 yards in 12 plays as Aaron Rodgers fount John Kuhn on a 9-yard touchdown pass giving Green Bay a 24-3 lead. The game was essentially over.
Green Bay gets a rematch of their own against the Niners. Green Bay opened the 2012 season at home against San Francisco, losing 30-22. Much has changed since then, however, with Alex Smith having been replaced by Colin Kaepernick.
Sunday's action sees the Baltimore Ravens hosting the Indianapolis Colts - the winner heads to Denver next Saturday - while the late game features the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins. The winner earns a trip to Atlanta to face the Falcons.