NFL Wild Card Weekend Preview7 min read
The regular season is over. Black Monday is over and whilst a number of teams begin the rebuild 12 have their eyes on the biggest prize. Playoff football is here.
Whilst it is a lovely week off for the Chiefs, Patriots, Saints and Rams the remaining playoff teams have been prepping for the biggest game of their season so far.
The do or die aspect of the playoffs are one of the most dramatic aspects of the NFL season. teams who have scraped into the playoffs can face teams who have been impressive all season. As always it is a this aspect which means that there is hope for all involved. You can see you entire season crumble in one game knowing you came so close to the Superbowl.
This season we have a couple of worst to first stories in the shape of Houston and Chicago. Both have been impressive but find themselves in match ups which have pundits divided.
The Texans kick off the Wild Card round on Saturday night and I look ahead to what we can expect as the road to Atlanta ramps up a gear.
Colts @ Texans
If there is anyone you don’t want to face three times a year it is an in form Andrew Luck. The likely recipient of the comeback of the year and still in the conversation as deserving the MVP for the season he has had. He does not have much to work with but has got the Colts ticking.
The Texans won the division and came close to sealing a first week bye. They have impressed in a lot of games but have shown vulnerabilities in others. They have a very impressive roster and if they can all perform to their potential I can see them causing a few shockwaves in this years playoffs. Watson and co looked on course for a big year last year before losing key players JJ Watt and new star quarterback Watson to injuries. But that is the beauty of the beast in the NFL. It can all change in an instant. They have used last seasons disappointment to build this year and are aiming much further than just the Wild Card round.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Colts did pull of the win here. But I do think that this Texans unit is for real. I tipped them to make it to the AFC championship before the season began. After a slow start they reeled off the victories. With DeAndre Hopkins they have the best wide receiver in the game. He can cause any defense problems.
Eric Ebron has been a key player for Luck as he has has a career year in terms of touchdowns and has helped drive this team into the playoffs. They are a good team if they can keep Luck upright and with a veteran in Adam Vinatieri they can always trust him to convert a kick if needs be. this is why I can see this being a bit of a slugfest and could rack up the scoreboard.
Eric Ebron to score a touchdown
Deshaun Watson to score a touchdown
Colts to score every quarter
Seahawks @ Cowboys
The two teams that were. The cowboys have found their rhythm that they had in Dak Prescott’s debut season when they strolled to the NFC East title. That year they had a star running back who dominated and lead the league in rushing. Ezekiel Elliott is in that form again. He lead the league in rushing once again and it took him time to get going.
Many will say that had he not been suspended last season he could have had three successive years as the leading rusher. If the Cowboys want to win games then they have to feed Zeke. But in this teams also know how to stop the Cowboys. Or so they thought. The acquisition of Amari Cooper has proved crucial to this charge towards the playoffs from Dallas. They looked lost without Dez Bryant and Jason Witton, meaning Dak did not have an out an out target to aim for.
But they are 7-2 with him in the team. He has ignited this offense and his threat has opened up space fro Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott to exploit.
What more can be said about Russell Wilson. He is one of the best in the game. He already has a Superbowl ring and really should have two. But this was a rebuilding year for the Seahawks, or so we thought. He has engineered another playoff run and they are perhaps the most dangerous team to make the playoffs.
The can run, they are renowned for defense and in Wilson they may just have the explosive outlet which can cause a few upsets along the way. Although Dallas were incredibly impressive in the second half of the season to swoop in and take over the division, I can’t overlook the impact of Wilson. nor can I think that Pete Carroll and Russell’s experience of the playoffs will help them here. Dallas have one playoff game in the last six years, Seattle have two Superbowl appearances in that time. Russell Wilson is a man who does not panic and this is why I can see an upset here.
Amari Cooper to score a touchdown
Doug Baldwin to score a touchdown
Seahawks to win by 1-6 points