Cincinnati + 4 1/2 over Houston
Not sure if anybody noticed, but the Houston Texans lost 3 of their last 4 games and barely held off the Colts to win the AFC South. Once considered the favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl the Texans now find themselves without a first round playoff bye and the aura of invincibility has been completely removed.
To make matters worse the Bengals want revenge for their playoff loss to the Texans last year. Andy Dalton and AJ Green are no longer rookies and this time when they travel to Reliant Stadium it will be with the league's #6 ranked defense standing behind them. If the Bengals offensive line can stop JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus from getting to the quarterback this game has upset written all over it (or at least coverage of the spread).
Indianaoplis +7 over Baltimore
In a fairytale ending Ray Lewis sacks Andrew Luck, picks up the fumble, and scores the winning touchdown just as time expires. In the real world Lewis and Terrell Suggs are not really healthy and Andrew Luck smells blood in the water. The Colts didn't expect to be back in the playoffs this quickly, but here they are with nothing to lose and everything to gain.
On the flip side Baltimore lost 4 of their last 5 games and Joe Flacco hasn't had a decent game in months. Ray Rice doesn't get enough touches and the offensive philosophy is out of sync. This is not the way I wanted the mighty Hurricane tandem to go out, but at least Ed Reed and Ray Lewis will be in Canton someday. The Colts will play to win and the Ravens will play not to lose. Don't be surprised to see Shankapotimus rear his ugly head in Baltimore. Indy covers easily.