At last, we have arrived with the playoffs. This wild card weekend will feature four teams who have recently won Super Bowls over the past decade; that is half for those of you counting at home, two teams who have never won a Super Bowl, and two who are hoping to return to relevancy. Cooky things can happen in the first round of the NFL’s post season, and I am here to try to sniff them out. Here are my picks for the Wild Card round.
Last Week: 11-5
Saturday, January 7th, 4:35 e.t.
#5 Oakland Raiders (12-4) @ #4 Houston Texans (9-7)
We get our traditional Texans game to kick off the playoffs, and this matchup will feature Connor Cook versus Brock Osweiler. Consider that battle a wash. When determining the outcome of this game we have to look elsewhere, and I really like what Houston brings on defense against a rookie QB At home, look for the Texans to take out the Raiders and put an end to their once very promising season.
Houston 24, Oakland 13
Saturday, January 7th, 8:15 e.t.
#6 Detroit Lions (9-7) @ #3 Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1)
The big story coming into this game is how the Seahawks have not been playing good football lately and that is uncharacteristic of them. I can see them turning things around a bit in this contest. At home in front of an always rowdy crowd, the defense could be swarming. It will be on the offense in future games for the ‘Hawks, but I think their “D” will be enough to slow down an inconsistent Lions’ offense and earn them the win.
Seattle 27, Detroit 10
Sunday, January 8th, 1:05 e.t.
#6 Miami Dolphins (10-6) @ #3 Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)
The Steelers come into this game tied with the Patriots for having the longest winning streak in football (seven straight games). They seem to be peaking at the right time and that feels like bad news for a Miami team that sort of backed its way into the playoffs. You get the feeling that there are only three true Super Bowl contenders in the AFC, and Pittsburgh is one of them. No way do they drop this game at home.
Pittsburgh 40, Miami 20
Sunday, January 8th, 4:40 e.t.
#5 New York Giants (11-5) @ #4 Green Bay Packers (10-6)
This weekend’s best game will be saved for last, and it is fitting that it will feature two teams with storied pasts and two former Super Bowl winning QBs. The Giants are the sexy pick for this one because the last two times they won it all, they had to go into Green Bay and knock off a heavily favored Packer team and they did it. There were a lot of experienced players and coaches then, and that is not the case now. The Packers could be “that team” going forward and I think they get the job done at home with their defense playing much better and the Giants offense still struggling to score points.
Green Bay 21, New York 16
Hope you all have a good weekend and a great time watching the games. I’ll be back next week with my Divisional Round predictions.