Raiders vs. Texans
- This game is surely the least appealing from a viewer’s standpoint, as both the Raiders and Texans will be playing with less than desirable players at the quarterback position. The Texans will start Brock Osweiler, who has been atrocious this year, and the Raiders will be forced to start Connor Cook in his first career game. This one should be somewhat wacky, and the Raiders have to be thinking what could have been if Derek Carr had stayed healthy. The Texans have managed to win this season with Osweiler at the helm for the most part, so they should be in the better position to win. I like the Texans here to play strong defense and rely on Lamar Miller to control the pace of the game and bring the Texans to victory.
Dolphins vs. Steelers
- The Steelers should be the heavy favorite here, playing at home with their array of offensive weapons against a Dolphins team playing without their starting quarterback. However, don’t expect the Steelers to waltz to victory, as Matt Moore has shown himself capable of stretching the field and has connected with Kenny Stills numerous times over the past few weeks for touchdowns. Although this game might be closer than expected, Le’Veon Bell should be able to run all over the Dolphins and Ben Roethlisberger should be able to link up with Antonio Brown enough to put the Steelers over the top.
Lions vs. Seahawks
- The Lions limp into this game coming off of three straight losses, and their star quarterback, Matt Stafford, nursing a finger injury. The Lions have started to show some aspects of a running game in recent weeks, with Zach Zennard shouldering the load, but their inconsistent run game is unlikely to show up against a Seahawks Defense that ranks second against the run in DVOA. Stafford has clearly been affected by his finger injury, and has been unable to put up the numbers he had been earlier in the season. The Seahawks, however, have not been the world-beaters many expected them to be, and come into the playoffs off of a narrow victory in Week 17 over the hapless 49ers. They would prefer to have some momentum coming into this game, but the Seahawks have been here before, and the combination of Russell Wilson on offense and their strong defense should propel them to victory.
Giants vs. Packers
- The Giants are looking to recreate some of their past playoff magic, where they have found success as a wild-card team and been able to make deep runs to Super Bowl titles. The team this year is somewhat similar to those past years, as the Giants feature a strong defense and an offense that usually does just enough to win. Odell Beckham Jr. will be key to the offense moving the football, as besides him and the occasional pass to Sterling Shepard the Giants offense is somewhat atrocious. The Packers are the hottest team in football and come into this game with the most Super Bowl hype of any team in the NFC. The hype should be believed, as Aaron Rodgers is red hot and playing MVP caliber football. The Packers should be able to score enough on the Giants stingy defense to put the game out of reach from the one-dimensional Giants attack.
Texans vs. Patriots
- This one doesn’t need much of an explanation, as Tom Brady and the Pats should steamroll the Texans, who simply won’t be able to score enough to stay in this game.
Steelers vs. Chiefs
- This game would project to be a must-see event, as the Chiefs dominant defense would be pitted against the Steelers high-flying offense. The Chiefs are rolling as of late, mostly thanks to the defense and the play of rookie Tyreek Hill. Hill is a game-changer who can break a touchdown from anywhere on the field, and opposing teams would be wise to kick away from him on special teams and keep a sharp eye on him while he is on offense. Andy Reid should be able to manufacture touches for Hill to give him opportunities to make plays, and Alex Smith and the rest of the offense should be efficient and able to score on the Steelers’ questionable defense. I like the Chiefs in this one.
Seahawks vs. Falcons
- In another offense vs. defense matchup, the highest scoring offense in the league, the Falcons, would take on the Seahawks’ legion of boom. The Falcons are a tough team to figure out, as they have looked unstoppable at times and lost games that make you scratch your head at others. However, Matt Ryan is playing MVP caliber football and he, Julio Jones and company will be able to score even on this Seahawks secondary. Something just doesn’t feel right about the Seahawks this year, and this is where their 2017 playoff run comes to an end.
Packers vs. Cowboys
- In week 6, these teams met and the Cowboys came out on top, 30-16. I expect a different outcome in this one. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have been phenomenal this season, but the rookie tandem will be playing in their first ever playoff game and I expect for them to have some nerves. In addition, the Packers would be riding a prolonged winning streak coming into this game and seem to be firing on all cylinders. I like the Packers to keep rolling and the Cowboys to falter with a slew of rookie mistakes.
Chiefs vs. Patriots
- This game would be a doozy, as these two teams have been the best and most consistent in the AFC throughout the season. I like Andy Reid to get his playoff revenge on the Pats and slow Tom Brady enough to win this one in an upset.
Falcons vs. Packers
- This game would be an old-fashioned shootout, with not much defense coming from either team. Both teams would be extremely hot coming into this game, but I feel the Packers are in better hands with Aaron Rodgers in this big of a game. The Packers take this and head to the Super Bowl.
Chiefs vs. Packers
- In a marquee matchup, I like the Packers to keep rolling and win it all. Aaron Rodgers is seemingly unflappable right now and nothing leads me to believe he can be stopped if he continues to play the way he has been. The Chiefs are a very good team, but too reliant on Tyreek Hill lately to make plays for them. The Packers are more consistent and should perform on the big stage.