Oakland Raiders @ Houston Texans
WB: “Connor Cook vs. Brock Osweiler” no don’t adjust your TV sets, no this isn’t the 3rd quarter of the 3rd preseason game, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN THIS IS WILD CARD WEEKEND!
If I could I would end my analysis here because this may go down as the worst playoff game in the last decade. But I will pick my winner, I’ll go Raiders because they are better at running the ball. I think Latavius Murray runs for a ton of yards, but he finds the endzone only once.
Star of The Game: Latavius Murray
CB: The battle of no Quarterbacks! Everyone will remember the Alamo but I doubt anyone will remember this game unless it goes down as the two worst quarterback performances in a single playoff game. Sit tight! 3rd string rookie QB Connor Cook will head to Houston to face the underwhelming Brock Osweiler. Yes ladies and gentleman, this is a real match up. I guess since I am forced to predict a “Winner”, I’ll take the Raiders to beat the Texans on the road. I think Osweiler will turn the ball over more than Connor Cook and I think the Raiders will run the ball more effectively to give them the win. And for all the gamblers out there, I don’t care what the over/under is in this game, I’m taking the under.
Star of The Game: Sebastian Janikowski
Detroit Lions @ Seattle Seahawks
WB: If you read my NFC Playoff Picture article you’ll remember that I said Detroit were pretenders. I am man enough to admit I was wrong. Did we get that out of the way? Good. Now onto the game.
While I don’t think Seattle is a Super Bowl contender, I KNOW Detroit isn’t. I will not give Detroit zero chance of winning this game but the numbers already make my point for me:
0-8 in Wild Card games as a franchise, 0-3 outdoors on the road this year, 0-2 in primetime games this season. The Lions are going into one of the hardest places to play for a road team, they would need nothing short of a Russell Wilson implosion for them to win the game.
I am going to take Seattle winning, sealed with a broken play that Wilson keeps alive and makes some dramatic play downfield.
Star of The Game: Russell Wilson
CB: The Lions head into hostile Seattle to finish off the first night of the Wild Card Playoffs. Unlike the earlier game, I’m really excited to watch this game. Stafford has Detroit rejuvenated despite the absence of Megatron and I’m looking forward to see how his offense will perform on the road against the Legion of Boom. On the other hand, Seattle has struggled on the offensive side of the ball this season. However, the defense of the Lions hasn't been anything to write home about. If Detroit can find a way to put up 28+ points I believe they will win this contest. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening so I’ll take the Seahawks.
Star of The Game: Russell Wilson
Miami Dolphins @ Pittsburgh Steelers
WB: If I am a Steelers fan I am really starting to ask myself, what did we do to get so lucky?
Two years in a row playing against a backup QB in our first game of the playoffs? Every Steelers fan would sign up for that. I give Miami a fighter's chance, but please, start Matt Moore. Don’t start a hobbled Tannehill, I could see Lawrence Timmons chasing him down and just ending his career. Pound the rock with Ajayi (who torched the Steelers for 204 yards btw) and let Matt Moore make a few timely passes that Landry ends up taking to the house.
In the end, it won’t be enough to stop the 3 headed monster of Ben, Bell and Brown. I think they got hot at the right time and can be the one of the few realistic Super Bowl contenders.
I’m taking Pittsburgh.
Star of The Game: Antonio Brown
CB: If you read our AFC Playoff Predictions article from a couple weeks ago, you would see that I talked trash on the Dolphins. Is this because I’m a Bills fan? Yea probably. But in all seriousness who thought Miami would be able to clinch a playoff spot?! I still can’t wrap my head around this. They are able to squeeze out victories somehow and I’m baffled. Well, I am forced to eat my words and now Miami is going on the road to play the Steelers. Am I convinced now? Nope. The Dolphins defense has improved this year but they are tasked with trying to slow down one of the league’s best offenses. I’ll take the Steelers….God I hope I’m not forced to do another write up on the Dolphins this year.
Star of The Game: Steelers Defense
New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers
WB: Remember when I said the both the Packers and the Giants were playoff contenders? Well I do!
Right off the bat I am going to tell you, Aaron Rodgers is playing great football lately. Over the last 6 games, Rodger's stats include 15 TDs, 0 INTs, and a 121.0 Passer rating. While he’s been perfect he will not be able to make any mistakes this weekend. This Giants secondary is the best they’ve had in the last decade, better than both Super Bowl runs. If Jack Rabbit is healthy this team is hard to beat. If the pass rush can pressure Rodgers into making a mistake I think this is a game the Giants can definitely win.
The big knock against the Giants is they can’t run the ball well. Well the truth is, they might not have to with the fact that Green Bay's pass defense is ranked 31st in the league and last week they lost 3 more players of that secondary to injury. While I am scared of Green Bay, I was more scared of the 15-1 Packers from 2011.
I’m taking The New York Football Giants
Star of the Game: Landon Collins
CB: Probably the best matchup of the Wild Card round, Eli and The Giants head to Lambeau to take on the RED hot Green Bay Packers. Eli was able to defeat The Packers in Green Bay on each of his two Super Bowl wins. Can he make it a 3rd? I’ve gone back and forth with this matchup for the past couple days and I just can’t go against the Packers who have just finished “Running the table” and clinching the NFC North. My entire family are Giants fans so I hope I'm wrong.
Star of the Game: Davante Adams