NFL Wild Card Weekend Notes
Saturday 4:35pm Raiders vs Texans (Projected forecast Clear 44 degrees 11mph winds)
* An elimination game for 2 teams that BOTH should be eliminated this weekend.
* If Derek Carr was playing I would be pulling for the Raiders (kids got great hair)
* Connor Cook is the first QB in the Super Bowl era to make his first career start in the playoffs. Translation, the Texans defense better be able to make his life miserable (or somebody’s gonna get fired)…
* The Raiders defense which isn’t very good at rushing the QB. The Raiders had an NFL low 25 sacks (credit 11 of those to NFL defensive player of the year candidate Khalil Mack. This isn’t a great defense that needs to make some big plays
* Brock Osweiler aka “The $72 Million Dollar Man” How will he handle the pressure to being benched, then being reinstated and if he dares to make a mistake in this game how will he handle the booing? The Raiders must find a way to get pressure on Osweiler. All the Texans defense must do is stop the run. Don’t expect a miracle out of Connor Cook
* For those of you NOT familiar with Connor Cook let me refresh your memory. Cook started for Michigan State against Alabama in the College Football Playoff in 2015. It didn’t go well would be an understatement. The Bama defense chewed Cook up and spit him out to the tune of 38-0 (19 of 39 for 210 yds, 2 interceptions, sacked 4 times)
* However, he did lead the Spartans to a 34-5 record over his college career. 2 Big Ten Championships in 3 years as the starter. Threw for 71 TD’s, 9,194 yds, completing only 57.5 percent of his passes
* Del Rio “We’re going to trust him to go out and lead us” However, he didn’t say “where?”
Saturday 8:15 Lions vs Seahawks (Projected forecast: Overcast, light snow 4mph winds)
* Lions are limping into this game 0-5 against fellow play-off teams
* Matthew Stafford is playing with an injured middle finger on his throwing hand
* If the Lions can keep it close they MIGHT be able to steal a win, BUT, how do you pick against the Seahawks at home in the playoffs? You don’t, so I won’t.
* In Detroit’s 9 wins, Stafford threw for 17 TD’s & 3 INT’s. In their 7 losses, he had 7 TD’s & 7 picks
* Couple that with the fact that the Lions don’t have much of a running game (they finished 30th in the league in rushing yards.
* Seahawks, on the other hand, pretty good at stopping the run…
* The Seahawks have never lost a playoff game at home with Pete Carroll as coach and Russell Wilson at QB (4-0) Seahawks are 7-1 at CenturyLink Field this season.
* The Seahawks offense has struggled to score points at times. In a Week 2 loss to the Rams they put up 3 points! In Week 7, a 6-6 tie with the Cardinals. They scored 5 in a Week 12 loss to the Buccaneers and in Week 10 Russell Wilson got intercepted 5 times in a loss to Green Bay.
* Seattle has made the post season 5 years in a row.
* The Lions haven’t won a postseason game in a generation (1991 with Barry Sanders when they lost to Washington)
Sunday Dolphins vs Steelers 1:05 (Projected forecast Mostly Cloudy, light snow in the morning. 19 degrees, 12 mph winds)
* Matt Moore vs Ben Roethlisberger. Need we say more?
* Dolphin RB Jay Ajayi took it to the Steelers defense during the regular season (25 rushes, 204 yds, 2 TD’s) The Dolphins owned time of possession, won the turn-overs battle by plus-two and outgained the Steelers by nearly 200 yards. The Dolphins defense held Roethlisberger to 189 passing yards and picked him off twice! That was THEN, THIS is NOW.
* This is the Dolphins first playoff game since 2008
* Unless Ndamukong Suh can get another shot at Ben’s knee I like the Steelers at home.
Sunday Giants vs Packers 4:40 (Projected forecast: Mostly Cloudy. Snow 1-2 inches starting in the evening 14 degrees 9mph winds)
* This is being called the Marquee Game of the Weekend. Maybe. If the Giants lose, blame it on the LOVE BOAT party down in Miami. If the Giants win, expect more “grown men” to don jeans, with no shirts and timberland boots to tool around the high seas on some rich dude’s boat.
* Does a loss effects Aaron Rodger’s MVP status? No? Too bad!
– Christopher Rude
680 The Fan