Wild Card Weekend

Raiders at Texans (-3.5, O/U 36.5)

The game we all have been waiting for, the first game of the NFL Playoffs. In one corner we have Rookie Connor Cook and in the other we have the $72M dollar man Brock Oslweiler. Ok fine, this isn’t the exact game we were hoping for when the season started. You would assume Derek Carr needed to have an MVP type year (he did) for Oakland to make its return to the playoff and JJ Watt needed to have another monster year on the other side of the ball (which he did not).

But this is the way the cookie crumbled and we will try to enjoy this game. This game wont feature a lot of points because well the quarterbacks should not be NFL Playoff QBs. The Raiders have been the feel good story of the year so it is really disappointing and sad that Carr got hurt in a game in which you can second guess why he was still playing. I am fine with him playing in that spot, his O Line has been one of the best all year and it was a freak injury, you can watch him know his season is over the moment it happens if you enjoy sadness.

The keys to the game will be the run game for each side and if the defense can capitalize on the bad QB play. Lamar Miller is banged up for Houston and Murray for Oakland is almost looking like he might have a break out game, almost. I think Houston’s D is better and will attack the rookie QB, it will be a lower scoring game but I think Brock “leads” the Texans to a victory, even though they might lose by 20 next week.

Pick: HOU -3.5 (1 unit)

Lions at Seahawks (-8, O/U 43)

Two more teams that are slumping going into the post season. Detroit held on just long enough to get the final seed in the NFC but they did limp there way there. Their offense just hasn’t been where it needs to be at this time of year. As for Seattle, the injuries are piling up, first it was Earl Thomas then it was Tyler Lockett. Two of the most important pieces for their respected units. This one is in Seattle which leads to the very high spread, Seattle boosts the largest Vegas home field advantage in football and it shows here. This is huge for Seattle because simply put the suck on the road this year.

It’s always about the QBs in the playoffs and it will be no different here. Is Matt Stafford fully healthy and what kind of tricks does Russel Wilson have up his sleeve? Stafford will need to take advantage of the loss of Earl Thomas. Yes Sherman and Kam are still out their lurking but Thomas’ lose has not been replaced, look for second tier options like Ebron and Bolden to see a lot of targets. Seattle will look to run the ball way more often than Detroit, if that is successful it could get ugly. If Wilson does his thing I don’t see how the Seahawks can lose this game but I am worried of the TD Plus spread, I can see a back door cover here which leads us to the pick.

Pick: Over 43

Look for Seattle in Teaser opportunities, might want to look at the end of the article for some extras picks…

Dolphins at Steelers (-10, O/U 46)

Sundays games look better on paper then Saturday’s, starting us off in Pittsburgh. The Steelers have become that team that will always have a bad game or two and you wonder if this is the year they will miss the playoffs (very similar to a team that plays their games in Green Bay) but they always are there and are a threat to make a run. That bad game was down in Miami in which the Dolphins beat them by 30, it was the first game that had us thinking so should I pick up this Ajayiiai guy from Miami and are they for real?

The Fins are sitting there with the Raiders as they lost their starting QB to injury and are trusting a playoff game to Matt Moore. The running game for Miami is absolutely real. Ajayi has fully broken out and gives us the best RB matchup of the weekend. I expect both Jay and Le’von Bell to have huge games. Le’von will do his thing and cruise to 125 yards but the Steelers will have to make sure the Fins don’t run for 200 against their defense.

Unfortunately for Miami the close matchups end there, Antonio Brown is unstoppable at home and Big Ben is Big Ben so if Miami wins this game it will be the biggest upset of the week for sure. But they are a real playoff team and I don’t think the difference between Matt Moore and Ryan Tannehill is that massive so I expect the Fins to keep it close. Double digits is too much for me in a playoff game (unless it’s the Pats).

Pick: Miami +10 (1 unit)

Giants at Packers (-4.5, O/U 44.5)

The heavyweight fight on Sunday Night (late afternoon) will be a classic GMEN/ PACK duel. This game opened in Vegas at +7 and sharp money flew to it moving it all the down to 4 at one point. 7 was nuts but I think you know who we are taking in this game but lets get into it. This game is A -A-ron Rodgers vs the $200M defense of Big Blue. The Giants D has won them games all year and it will have to keep happening for them to make another Super Bowl run. Good thing for them is that this D is probably better than the D of the past 2 titles. Snacks literally eats running backs and good luck trying to throw the ball in Jack Rabbits area. ESPN has never heard of him but I bet Rodgers is watching a ton of film on Landon Collins this week.

There are two problems for New York, one Rodgers is white hot. It happens every year now, the Pack go 3–3 and everyone is ready to say Rodgers is done and McCarthy is on his way out, Packer Fans even say this but then week 16 rolls around and the talk is see Aaron is still the best QB in the game, which is true. This is a slightly different D then week 5, Apple didn’t play in wk 5 and that really affected the game. DRC had to play more and he was banged up and Wade played alotttt, which is not good. That means GMEN will have Jackrabbit on Jordy, Eli on Devante and DRC on Cobb with help of the DPOY Collins ready to explode. If Aaron is kept in the pocket and doesn’t extend plays for 5 min like he always does, the Giants will win this. Problem 2 is the offense has literally been run twice for 3 yards and pray Odell saves us in the 4th quarter. Odell is that good where you can make the playoffs with him as the only threat. He shouldn’t be though, the Gmen have the weapons to torch this packer D, which is pretty much starting a College secondary. Eli needs to go deep and go deep often. The O Line needs to give him time and they will score. Not a lot but hopefully enough. We have a few plays for this one.

Pick: Giants +4.5 (1 unit) / Giants ML (1 unit +180) / Under 44.5 (1 unit)

There we have it the stone cold HOMER locks of the NFL playoffs. We will probably go 50.50 as we have the whole 2H of the year but there’s more!!!!

I love teasers, Vegas loves that I love teasers casue I buy points like an idiot but figured I share some favorite plays of mine this week

Seattle -1.5 / Steelers -3.5 (buy the .5 -130) 2 units

Giants +11.5 / Raiders +10.5 (but 1 point -140) 1 unit

3 team special Giants +14.5 / Lions +18 / over 33 DET 1 unit

Enjoy it all and see you next week for the Divisional Round


Originally published at Almost Varsity Sports.