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

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?