NFL Picks, Wild Card Round
After 17 weeks and 256 games, Lindsay and I ended up tied in picks. We each got 163 right. That means the playoffs, and these final 11 games, will determine who wins the season-long competition.
Oakland Raiders (12–4) at Houston Texans (9–7)
About: These two teams played in November and we can take pretty much nothing away from that game. The Raiders finished a great season losing two quarterbacks — first Derek Carr, then Matt McGloin — while the Texans benched Brock Osweiler, found a spark with Tom Savage, saw him get hurt and now have to turn back to the Brockness Monster. So what to make of this game. The Vegas odds favor the Texans, I’m guessing simply because they’re at home. I think the Raiders have a better defense, or at least a more explosive defense, but they looked terrible in week 17. In fact, this doesn’t seem like a playoff game… As a Broncos fan, I want to cry thinking Brock gets to play in a home playoff game that he’ll probably win. I plan to watch none of this game.
The Pick: Texans 13, Raiders 10
Detroit Lions (9–7) at Seattle Seahawks (10–5–1)
About: The Seahawks seemed at times like a great team. At other times, they seemed like an aggressively mediocre team. Losing Earl Thomas clearly hurts. The Seahawks went 7–1 at home, though they lost their home finale 34–31 to the Arizona Cardinals. That gives me pause. But the Seahawks have been a great home team the past few years. The Lions, on the other hand, have struggled on the road and lost three straight games to close the season. Yikes. Can the Lions really win in Seattle? Maybe. Can you feel good picking the Lions against the Seahawks and Super Bowl winner Russell Wilson in Seattle? Absolutely not. Again, not sure how excited I am to watch this game. I guess I’ll spend Saturday catching up on Golden Globe nominees.
The Pick: Seahawks 27, Lions 17
Miami Dolphins (10–6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (11–5)
About: People might have forgotten now, but these teams met during the regular season. At that time, the Steelers looked a little lost and surrendered 200 yards to Jay Ajayi and Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t 100 percent. That was the start of a low point for the Steelers, while the Dolphins were just starting to turn it around. It was also in Miami. Like it or not, the Steelers are a better home team, and their defense has been better down the stretch. Ajayi, meanwhile, has struggled against teams not named the Buffalo Bills and lost Ryan Tannehill, who seems unlikely to play. Matt Moore has been decent in relief, but he doesn’t strike fear. Fear is exactly what you should feel when your team has to face Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell.
The Pick: Steelers 27, Dolphins 13
New York Giants (11–5) at Green Bay Packers (10–6)
About: It’s really a shame that these two teams have to face each other, as they are both intriguing upset picks in the NFC. The Packers enter the game as the NFC’s hottest team, winning six straight games to capture a division title. But the Giants were a strong team throughout the season, and are a team that has enough defense to give the Packers problems. Also, it’s hard to forget that something special seems to happen to Eli Manning in the playoffs, particularly when he’s playing from the Wild Card slot. Either of these teams are probably a nightmare for the Dallas Cowboys. Finally, a good game on Wild Card weekend.
The Pick: Packers 31, Giants 27
Last Week: 12-4