Wild Card predictions

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Raiders @ Texans

With this game to kick off the 2016 - ‘17 playoff season later today, I have to go with the Texans. Even if Carr were a healthy go for today’s wild card matchup, I was still picking the Texans as my upset favorite in the first round of the playoffs. You look at Houston’s D-Line and see how well they’ve been performing all season long, being able to contain the run and rush the passer, and going against Raider’s Connor Cook who has been thrown into the fire, just makes for a disaster for any consistent offensive production from that Raiders team.

Raiders X –factor:

The defense, plain and simple. It’s going to take a complete group effort to help keep the Texans out of the end zone as much as possible. Essentially needing a HUGE game from Khalil Mack and the D-Line going against an inconsistent Brock Osweiler who has been sacked a career high 27 times this season.

Texans X-factor:

There so called number one receiver, DeAndre Hopkins. Sure he’s you’re number one guy who draws all the coverage, but him and Osweiler just haven’t been on the same page since the season started, and that’s not fully his fault. A 16 game season with only 4 TD’s on fewer than 80 receptions, on 151 targets, you don’t expect too much to change, but is still a top threat receiver. Hopkins haven’t being past the wild card round, today wouldn’t be a bad day to “break out.”

Score prediction: 27-13 Texans


Lions @ Seahawks

I think this one here is a no-brainer, the Seahawks. Despite Seattle’s defense being inconsistent all season a top battling injuries (like any other team) I think they’ll show up to play, realizing what’s on the line. I will also go on to say that I think the game will be a lot closer than what people are anticipating. Still a very solid team on both sides of the ball, but not the ’13 Seahawks by any means.

Lions X-factor:

The run game. I think the passing for the most part will be well monitored by Sherman and co., so why not establish a run game early and often. Zach Zenner specifically. Still there are people are saying “who?” exactly. I’m not saying make him the work horse tonight, but I’m sure the Seahawks didn’t game prep for him too heavy, so if he tore it up strong against a respectable Cowboys D, why not try it again against Seattle…and if it happens to work, don’t cut him off come the second half.

Seahawks X-factor:

12th Man, no matter the opponent, it just makes winning at CenturyLink Field that much harder. Something about them, when they get going the defense gets going, and when the defense feeds into that, they slowly become an unstoppable nightmare for all positions on offense.

Score prediction: 34-20 Seahawks

Dolphins @ Steelers

You all KNOW I have to take my boys on this one, but without me being bias, it’s still the Steelers. 7 straight wins matching the Patriots for a league high this season entering tomorrow’s game, they’re clicking. Three of those seven wins coming against the Giants, Bengals, and Ravens. Ben Roethlisberger said earlier this week, “this game is about when you get hot,” and trust and believe they’re on fire. Despite a rushing clinic put on by Dolphins Jay Ajayi against the Steelers earlier in the season (204 yds., on 25 att. to be exact) , I still like cold weather Big Ben and co. at home against sun privileged Miami Dolphins.

Dolphins X-factor:

It’s a toss-up between Jay Ajayi and Ndamukong Suh. Ajayi for the simple fact, the Fins don’t have Tannehill in the pocket to sling the ball down field, so coming out with a run game, especially in inclement weather, would be the Dolphins best bet. Suh for the simple fact, he’s just a problem for O-lines to contain and often draws the double team allowing holes in the pass protection.

Steelers X- factor:

Still no word on whether or not Ladarius Green will be a go for tomorrow afternoon, I have to give the nod to second year WR, Eli Rodgers. It’s just too obvious and cliché to say in order for the Steelers to win, Big Ben, AB, and Bell have to mesh, I mean that’s why they’re in the position that they are. Rogers hasn’t made a lot of noise in the end zone this season, but has come through in a lot of clutch 3rd down conversions. He’s a bit on the smaller side, but proven to be physical and quick on his feet out of the slot. I think he will be a solid contributor in tomorrow’s game.

Score prediction: 31-17 Pittsburgh


Giants @ Packers

I think this wild card NFC showdown will be the best of the weekend, simply because both teams hit a heavy slump in the regular season but beat their division leaders when it mattered, boosting their playoff push. Both teams always manage to stay quiet during the season (more so the Giants) then sneak into the playoffs in the nick of time. It’s a hard game to call seeing how both Manning and Rodgers have proven to be respectable playoff quarterbacks. I’m going with Eli and the Giants at Lambeau, who are 2-0 in Green Bay during the playoffs.

Giants X-factor:

It starts with the leader, so it has to be Eli. He’s struggled tremendously this season getting the ball down the field and has proven to be a turnover machine just this season alone, but he has also made some very good game changing throws. He will need to trust in his arm, and his go to top WR, Odell Beckham Jr. The run game should help take pressure off Eli, but overall, I believe it’s going to come down to clean, precise throws from Manning.

Packers X-factor:

31 year old Jordy Nelson. Him and Rodgers have established a scary tandem late this season that has won them some big games and I don’t see that coming to an end tomorrow. I’m sure he’ll be the one to receive most of the coverage attention, but he’s due for some breakout catches against a top 10 Giants defense.

Score Prediction: 21-17 Giants


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