Wild Card Weekend
NFL Playoffs are finally here! And what better than this slate of competitive Wild Card games! Check out my recaps, and predications of the upcoming NFL Weekend!
Indianapolis Colts (10-6) @ Houston Texans (11-5)
Not very often do we get to see 2 teams face 3 times in one season but here we are! Houston won the division and would have likely rather hosted the Chargers. The Colts got the best of Houston last time in Houston. The win that the Texans got against the Colts week 4 set an NFL record for winning 8 consecutive games following an 0-3 start.
The Colts have an impressive series of wins themselves for winning 9 of their last 10 games. This is also the first year since 2014 the Colts have been in the top half of the league in total defense. A decent defense combined with the no. 5 scoring offense (Andrew Luck threw 39 TDs this season), the Colts are ready to make some noise in the playoffs.
The Texans look to produce in the playoffs behind J.J. Watt’s return to form spearheading the defense with 16 sacks. Watson looks like the QB of the future after throwing for over 4,000 yards. Almost 1600 of those yards went to Deandre Hopkins who hasn’t had A SINGLE DROP on 115 receptions.
The NFL playoffs are always a better place with Andrew Luck in the fold. With Watson as his opponent, we are watching the future of the AFC. With Luck’s prior experience and the Colts’ decent defense, I will predict Indianapolis to take this round in Luck vs. Watson.
Final Score: 37-29 COLTS
Seattle Seahawks (10-6) @Dallas Cowboys (10-6)
Another rematch, Seattle absolutely dominated Dallas earlier this year. That was, in Seattle. Dallas will be thrilled to have home field against the Seahawks with a fresh Elliot. These teams will attempt to pound the rock behind Ezekiel Elliot (1,434 yards) and the Seahawks’ no. 1 rushing offense led by Chris Carson (1,151 yards).
The Cowboys have found success through tough defense and a hard-nosed running game. The Cowboys are 6th in scoring defense this year including an impressive stifling of the New Orleans Saints in week 13. The Boys have been reimagined with young, fast, athletic linebackers and a fearsome Demarcus Lawrence pass rush. Amari Cooper has been a revelation for the offense, having 6 catches of 20+ yards and giving Dak a go to.
This is a Seahawks team resembling those that made the playoffs so many years in a row. Running the ball as much as possible and playing bend don’t break defense. Russel Wilson has a 5:1 TD to interception ratio and has found a nice connection with Tyler Lockett this season who has established himself as a true no. 1 option.
The Cowboys have beaten the best, and they’ve trounced some of the worst. The Seahawks have hung tough with the best and also have lost to the 49ers this year. The Seahawks and Russel Wilson do have playoff experience and a veteran-ship that isn’t so common amongst the young Cowboys team. Between experience, and my lack of faith in Dak Prescott, I believe Pete Carrol and the Hawks will pull this one out.
Final Score: 19-14 SEAHAWKS
Los Angeles Chargers (12-4) @ Baltimore Ravens (10-6)
A rematch of only a few weeks ago, the Ravens upset the Chargers and made it to the playoffs by outlasting the Browns. The Chargers will surely be bitter after their loss to the Ravens eclipsed the chance of them having the no. 1 seed in the postseason. With one of the better-balanced teams in team history, the Chargers will be here to make noise.
The Chargers are top 10 in total defense and scoring offense and have a Darkhorse MVP candidate in Philip Rivers (105.5 QBR). Joey Bosa is looking back to full force and the Chargers have a ballhawking secondary and are led by Anthony Lynn. A good coach of the year candidate, Lynn has been wise as to awareness of his players’ health and overcoming injury-related obstacles. With the win in KC, Lynn has shown the Chargers are all in this year.
The Ravens are the best defense in the NFL. Being that they’re the Ravens, that last stat may not come as a surprise but the fact they are the number 9 offense in yards per game, and number 2 rushing offense with Gus Edwards (718 yards in 11 games, 5.2 YPC) and Lamar Jackson (695 yards and 5 TDs), the Ravens can control the pace of the game.
The Chargers only failed to score 20+ points once this season. That one time was against the Ravens who kept the pressure on Rivers and set the tone for the game. I feel the Chargers will have learned from the last game and the wily Philip Rivers will pull out a victory in Baltimore.
Final Score: 27-13 CHARGERS
Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) @ Chicago Bears (12-4)
Eagles fans are feeling the craze with how similar this year is resembling last year but bumping the underdog swag even more so than before. The Bears however are back with swag dating to the 80s. Between electric slides and super bowl shuffles, this will be a good conclusion to Wild Card weekend.
Philly quietly has rattled off good wins against quality opponents and are riding the Nick Foles train who is doing just enough to win games for the Eagles. Philly also possesses the number 7 rushing defense with the front 7 from last year. Start greasing up the poles Philadelphia, just. In. case.
Khalil Mack is all the talk in Chi-town, but it’s a group effort for the no. 3 total defense, the number one rushing defense, and number one scoring defense. Matt Nagy has also made excellent use of Trubinsky, Cohen, and co. to make a multi-faceted attack that is a pick-your-poison on a week-to-week basis.
Sorry Philly fans, no climbing the poles this year. The magic will run out this year with the stout Bears’ defense and Soldier Field awaiting you. Khalil Mack and co. will hold the Eagles to under 200 yards and have no answers for a creative attack from Nagy and the Bears. DA BEARS!!!
Final Score: 21-6 BEARS
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