Saturday Jan 8 NFL Wildcard picks
Oakland Radiers (12-4) at Houston Texans (9-7)
This will be a week 11 rematch-up of the Raiders 27-20 victory on Monday night in Mexico City. The Texans competed hard before the Raiders pulled out the win with the help of a couple controversial calls and three touchdown passes by Oakland quarterback Derek Carr.
This time around the stakes are much higher. Both teams head into Saturday with question marks at the quarterback position. Houston quarterback Brock Osweiler has been inconsistent throughout the 15 games he has appeared in this season throwing 15 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions. However, after a brief benching, due to concussion to quarterback Tom Savage, Osweiler is back at the helm to face a Raiders team that he actually posted his highest single QBR of the season (82.7) against during the first meeting.
The Raiders will be making history by being forced to turn to rookie quarter Connor Cook. Cook will become the first rookie in NFL history to make his first career start in a playoff game. Cook will be facing a Texans defense that ranks first in the NFL in yards allowed per game.
I expect a low scoring game with some ugly offensive play at times. In the end I think the Texans defense will be too much for Connor Cook on the road making his first career start on this stage.
Line: Texans -3.5 O/U 37.5
My Prediction Texans 17 Raiders 13
My Bet Texans UNDER 37.5
Detroit Lions (9-7) at Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1)
The Lions stumbled to the finish line but managed to earn the final wild card spot despite dropping their last three games of the season. All three losses did come to NFC playoff teams, the Giants, Cowboys and Packers respectively. On the season the Lions are 9-2 against non playoff teams but 0-5 against teams that will be participating in the postseason.
The Seahawks are 7-1 at home on the season and 3-1 overall against playoff teams. The Seahawks defense has run into some issues since safety Earl Thomas broke his leg against the Panthers on Dec. 4. With Earl Thomas on the field on this season the Seattle defense has allowed a 77.8 passer rating against 7 touchdown passed and 10 interceptions. Without Tomas, Seattle has allowed 99.5 quarterback rating and 9 touchdowns and only 1 interception.
Seattle is a tough place to play, and the Lions have history against them. The Lions have dropped 10 straight road playoff games since defeating the 49ers on Dec. 22, 1957. I don’t think this is the time for the Lions to break the streak.
Line: Seahawks -8 O/U 43.5
My Prediction Seattle 27 Detroit 20
My Bet: Over 43.5