NFL wild-card playoff picks: Giants dissapoint Packers, Dolphins keep it close


Quarterback Eli Manning competence have some some-more postseason magic. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

This year’s wild-card spin has a small bit of everything.


The NFL playoffs flog off on Saturday with dual teams, the Oakland Raiders during Houston Texans, navigating (significant) issues during quarterback. The subsequent dual matchups underline home teams that are over eight-point favorites (Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers) and the final playoff diversion of a weekend, with a New York Giants roving to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers, is widely deliberate must-see radio for football fans.

Here is something to watch for in any of this weekend’s games and how they project.

Jan. 7

No. 5 Oakland Raiders during No. 4 Houston Texans (-3.5)

Winner: Houston Texans 55.6 percent

Pick: Houston Texans -3.5

Both teams have seen their quarterback situations take a spin for a worse.

Oakland’s Derek Carr suffered a damaged fibula in Week 16 and afterwards his backup, Matt McGloin, suffered a shoulder damage in a Week 17 detriment to a Denver Broncos, forcing a Raiders to start rookie Connor Cook in a team’s first playoff game since 2002. Cook will turn a first quarterback since 1966 to have his initial career start come in a playoffs.

Houston benched Brock Osweiler nearby a finish of a unchanging deteriorate after its high-priced free-agent signing completed less than 60 percent of his passes with a 14-to-16 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Tom Savage got a start a final 3 weeks of a season but suffered a concussion in a regular-season finale, putting a round behind in Osweiler’s hands for a wild-card game.

The Texans, to their credit, did try something to burst start a offense on Sunday opposite a Tennessee Titans, going with a no-huddle offense a season-high 18 times in a game. All though dual of those no-huddle plays were by a air. The many flitting plays out of a no-huddle for a Texans before that was in Week 13 opposite a Green Bay Packers (eight).

Modern NFL defenses like to occupy disguise to confuse their opponent, though if the invulnerability doesn’t have time to surrogate it’s forced to uncover a palm some-more mostly in coverage. That apparently helps a quarterback underneath normal conditions — it could be a tipping indicate for a Texans when they face a Raiders’ invulnerability that ranks 25th opposite a pass per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric.

Then there is always a luck a Raiders harm themselves. Oakland ranked second in defensive holding penalties (11) and fourth in defensive pass division penalties (14) and no group in a NFL was flagged some-more times altogether this season. In fact, Oakland had 19 some-more penalties opposite than a subsequent closest team.

No. 6 Detroit Lions during No. 3 Seattle Seahawks (-8)

Winner: Seattle Seahawks 58.8 percent

Pick: Seattle Seahawks -8

The Lions showed a lot of heart this season, winning 9 of a 15 games in that they trailed in the fourth quarter, though they also finished a deteriorate on a three-game losing strain — and yeah, they also trailed in a fourth entertain in all though one of their games. If they make a Super Bowl, Detroit would be usually a second group in NFL history to go that distant after losing a final 3 games of a unchanging season, fasten the 2009 New Orleans Saints, who degraded a Indianapolis Colts 31-17 in Super Bowl XLIV.

The Lions also set a indeterminate record in 2016: opposing quarterbacks finished 72.7 percent of passes against them, a tip rate in NFL history. Now, Detroit has to face one of this season’s more accurate quarterbacks in Russell Wilson of a Seattle Seahawks.

After accounting for dropped passes, throwaways, peaked balls, batted passes and passes where a quarterback was strike while they threw a ball, Wilson had a seventh-highest correctness rate in a joining (77.2 percent). And unlike other quarterbacks Detroit has faced, a rushing ability of Wilson is something that creates him even some-more dangerous.

Aaron Rodgers showed usually how harmful a mobile quarterback can be when Green Bay went adult opposite Detroit in a regular-season finale. In a fourth quarter, Rodgers kept a play alive for scarcely nine seconds before completing a 10-yard pass to Geronimo Allison in a finish zone.

Wilson, a three-time Pro Bowl member who threw for a career-high 4,219 yards during a unchanging season, may not use his legs to extend plays like he used to, though he did lead a joining in rushing yards per try in 2014 (7.2) and has 2,689 career rushing yards on a ground. So a hazard is always there.

It’s a ethereal balancing act, and quite with Rodgers and Russell both, since what we don’t wish to do is rush cautiously,” Lions manager Jim Caldwell told Dave Birkett of a Detroit Free Press. “You rush cautiously, they’ll mount behind there and they’ll wait until guys run to get open and they’ll recover a round and chuck to open guys since we can’t cover forever. If we get forward and unequivocally get adult a margin and rush, that’s when they steep underneath and emanate some problems.”

Jan. 8

No. 6 Miami Dolphins during No. 3 Pittsburgh Steelers (-10)

Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers 63.8 percent

Pick: Miami Dolphins +10

Even if we can get past Miami starting backup quarterback Matt Moore in Sunday’s diversion opposite Pittsburgh, if you look during what a Patriots did to a Dolphins in Week 17 you’d have to consider we are about to see some-more of a same.

Defensively, a Dolphins have a problem rebellious in a open field. Tom Brady threw for 276 yards opposite them in a regular-season culmination with 201 of those yards entrance after contact. Julian Edelman accounted for 114 of those yards after contact, with 77 of them entrance on a touchdown opposite Kiko Alonso in primary coverage. In fact, Edelman’s 8 catches for a career-high 151 yards opposite Miami earned him AFC Offensive Player of a Week honors.

Miami also gives adult a many yards per carry between 5 and 10 yards past a line of struggle (1.46) and a tenth-most yards authorised per lift some-more than 10 yards past a line of struggle (0.82).

Pittsburgh, meanwhile, facilities Le’Veon Bell in a backfield, who averaged 3 yards per carry after hit and forced 61 missed tackles (47 rushing, 14 receiving) this season. Only Miami’s Jay Ajayi combined some-more misses (63), and Bell played 3 fewer games due to a suspension. Bell also led a joining in yards after a catch (685).

As for a 10-point spread: a Steelers have beaten 5 teams by 11 or some-more points this season. Just one, a Kansas City Chiefs, were a playoff team.

No. 5 New York Giants during No. 4 Green Bay Packers (-4.5)

Winner: New York Giants 55.3 percent

Pick: New York Giants +4.5

The Packers saw 3 of their cornerbacks get harmed in a final diversion of a season: Quinten Rollins, Damarious Randall and rookie Makinton Dorleant. Rollins was taken out of Ford Field on a bracket after pang a neck injury during a second half of a game while Randall and Dorleant both suffered knee injuries. Sam Shields had his deteriorate end in Week 1 due to a concussion, leaving Ladarius Gunter as the Packer’s usually healthy cornerback.

Coach Mike McCarthy had to get resourceful, changeable reserve Micah Hyde to corner, a position he had not played in scarcely 4 years.

Hyde did what he indispensable to do: he intercepted a pass and hold Detroit receivers to usually 46 yards opposite him in primary coverage, earning Hyde the team’s tip defensive class of a game by a diversion charters during Pro Football Focus.

Still, a worn-down delegate is not what we wish to see with Odell Beckham Jr. backing adult on a other side of a field. Beckham hold 101 passes for 1,367 yards and 10 touchdowns, and as a draft next shows, he’s a hazard all over a field.

Odell Beckham Jr. in 2016. (Source: Pro Football Focus)

The Giants, meanwhile, were a only group in 2016 with dual cornerbacks, Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, with 10 or some-more pass breakups. Jenkins hold hostile wideouts to 0.84 yards per cover snap, a ninth-best symbol in a NFL during a unchanging season.

A team’s win luck is formed on applying a model from Wayne Winston’s book “Mathletics” to my possess indicate spread, that is subsequent in partial from the Simple Rating System.


Do you have an unusual story to tell? E-mail stories@tutuz.com