Does momentum mean anything?

Heading into postseason, being a 'hot' team actually doesn't really matter

Updated: January 1, 2013, 11:53 AM ET
By Vince Verhei | Football Outsiders

Adrian Peterson Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY SportsDespite the big win last week, it's hard to see the Vikings winning this Sunday.

The first playoff game of this NFL season pits two teams going in opposite directions. The Houston Texans, once 10-1, lost three out of four to end the year, costing themselves home-field advantage and a first-round bye in the process. The Cincinnati Bengals come into the postseason winning seven of their past eight games, with their only loss in that span coming on a last-minute field goal.

Given the momentum of these two teams, should we expect the Bengals to win in Houston this weekend? Who is more likely to win in the playoffs, a strong team that finished the year badly, or a weaker team that played its best football in December?