RSR staff predicts the outcomes for Wild Card Weekend…
If anyone needs convincing that the NFL is mediocre, take a look at the teams in the Wildcard Round and then tell me that the Ravens (a mediocre team) aren’t close to being one of the wild card teams. The late Pete Rozelle certainly got his wish for league parity and this weekend is defacto proof!
* The games kick off with the Raiders at the Texans. If anyone is hoping for an afternoon nap on Saturday, tune into this snoozer and ZZZ away. Texans win it 13-6 when Jadeveon Clowney gets the strip sack and fumble recovery in the end zone for the game’s only touchdown. Connor gets Cook-ed.
* The Lions defense has looked rather cowardly lately and all of Haloti Ngata‘s and Anquan Boldin‘s and Jim Caldwell’s reminiscing about the 2012 postseason won’t change a thing. As much as Devin Hester will try and give the Lions a chance, it won’t be enough. Cam Chancellor will light up Golden Tate early in the game and he’ll be relatively useless with 2 catches for 15 yards. Seahawks in a cakewalk, 30-16.
* Jay Ajayi will be in the cold tub until Induction Day after he carts the rock 35 times for 185 yards and 2 scores. But it won’t be enough as the Killer B’s do what they do and carve the fish up into sushi for everyone at Heinz Field. The Yinzers will live another week to keep their Stairway to Seven dreams alive. Steelers 31, Dolphins 20.
* Eli Manning is Joe Flacco with a droopy face, frumpy shoulders and a number 10. Like January Joe, he plays ball in the playoffs and Eli will have a day against a so-so Packers defense, UNLESS, the Giants receiving corps that decided to frolick in the sun with pole dancers on a boat, can’t handle the cold and lose focus given the smell of cheap perfume wafting in their frozen nostrils. Either way it won’t matter because Aaron Rodgers means en fuego and he’ll chuck it for 350+ yards. Packers 27, Giants 23
Wild card weekend brings some strange matchups. In the AFC two teams – the Dolphins and Raiders – are starting second- and third-string quarterbacks, and the Texans are are throwing Brock Osweilwer back in the mix after benching him the last couple weeks of the season. It should make for an ugly week of playoff football.
You’ve got to feel bad for Raiders fans. After years of suffering, they had one of the best teams in the AFC until Derek Carr went down. Now backup Matt McGloin is hurt as well and Connor Cook will be making his first career start against a stingy Texans defense. It won’t be pretty.
The Saturday night game featuring the Lions and Seahawks has the most upset potential. The Seahawks looked vulnerable against a bad 49ers team last week and no Earl Thomas makes a big difference. Detroit pulls off the upset.
It’s crazy that Miami was 9-2 in their last 11 games and that one of those losses was a beat down by the Ravens. Who was that Ravens team by the way?
The Packers are rolling and probably serve as the biggest threat to the Cowboys in the NFC.
Wild Card Weekend, when strange can happen and usually do. The games aren’t exactly “wow factors” but there will be one Cinderella story that survives the weekend.
Never before has a rookie quarterback made his first start in the playoffs and that’s exactly what Raiders quarterback Conner Cook will do against the Houston Texans. In what figures to be a defensive game, give me the Raiders against a Texans team that is in worst shape offensively than Oakland.
Raiders 17, Texans 13
Matt Stafford and the Detroit Lions are a feel good story of the 2016 season. Seattle and the Legion of Boom are not unbeatable any more but the Lions draw one of the toughest match-ups this weekend.
Seahawks 27, Lions 17
No Ryan Tannehill for Miami and Matt Moore gets the nod as the Dolphins roll into Heinz field on Sunday afternoon. Big Ben is battle tested and experienced and the Steelers high powered offense can exploit the Dolphins weaknesses.
Steelers 34, Miami 13
If there ever was a pickem game for me this weekend it’s the Packers and the Giants. These two teams, on paper, match up well. Both have experienced quarterbacks at the helm and playmakers on both sides of the ball. While it won’t be a blowout by either team, Lambeau Field is always a tough place to play.
Packers 24, Giants 23
For a more obtuse look at these match ups, be sure to check out Wildcard Weekend Trash Talk.
Raiders @ Texans: Oakland starts 4th round rookie QB Connor Cook. Houston starts overpaid and oft-awful QB Brock Osweiler. Nobody wants to score. Michael Crabtree‘s chain stays intact as he scores the lone TD of this snoozer.
Lions @ Seahawks: The Lions lost to the Chicago Bears this year. I don’t think I need to really say anything else.
Dolphins @ Steelers: Matt Moore is superior to Ryan Tannehill. Seriously. I’ve had Romo lined up for Miami prior to the Tannehill injury and I still think it happens because Tannehill is not the answer. That being said, Miami trounced the Steelers 30-15 earlier this season, and did so with 3 rushing TD’s. Moore will be a game manager. Jay Ajayi will have himself a game. Steelers fans cry a lot.
Giants @ Packers: 2 teams with high powered passing offenses. 2 teams with lackluster pass defenses. I expect bombs to be flying, but ultimately the Miami Boat Party (it needs a catchier name like the Vikings Love Boat in ’05) distraction proves to be detrimental to the Giants success. Go Pack Go.
Oakland 17 Houston 13
Seattle 30 Detroit 20
Miami 943583844 Pittsburgh -4
Green Bay 24 New York 20
Raiders 27, Texans 23
Seahawks 19, Lions 17
Dolphins 24, Steelers 23
Packers 31, Giants 21