Week 17 Recap
Washington was the only team that had a chance to make the NFL playoffs simply by winning their game on Sunday but they failed to take care of the Giants at home. With the Redskins loss, the Lions and Packers went into Sunday night’s game knowing that they were both in the playoffs, but the division title was still up for grabs. Green Bay took down Detroit 31-24, giving them the NFC North title and a home game in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
In the AFC, New England locked up the number one overall seed with an early win over the Dolphins. Oakland needed to win in Denver to get a much-needed first round bye, but the Broncos defense stifled the Raiders while Kansas City won in San Diego, making the Chiefs the two seed in the AFC.
Wild Card Playoff Schedule
Saturday, January 7
Oakland Raiders @ Houston Texans – 1:35 PM PT
Detroit Lions @ Seattle Seahawks – 8:15 PM PT
Sunday, January 8
Miami Dolphins @ Pittsburgh Steelers – 10:05 AM PT
New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers – 4:40 PM PT
What to Watch for in the Wild Card Round
Oakland Raiders @ Houston Texans (-3.5)
The Raiders went into Week 17 with Matt McGloin filling in at quarterback for an injured Derek Carr, but after McGlon hurt his trapezius muscle on Sunday, rookie Connor Cook will make his first career start in the first round of the playoffs.
On the other side of the ball, Brock Osweiler is expected to take back over as the starter with Tom Savage still in concussion protocol.
This should be the lowest scoring contest of the week, coming down to which defense can make plays and help put their struggling offenses in favorable scoring situations.
Detroit Lions @ Seattle Seahawks (-8)
Detroit comes limping into the playoffs, losing their last three games of the season and traveling to one of the toughest stadiums to play in the league. Detroit’s defense has been a sieve, while Seattle has finally found their stride on offense. Ever since Matt Stafford injured his hand, the Lions have lacked much offensive firepower and it’s unlikely that they can keep pace against Seattle’s suffocating defense,
Miami Dolphins @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-10)
If there’s one team in the AFC that has a chance to knock off the Patriots, it’s the Steelers. With the big three of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh has one of the most explosive offenses in the league and they are rolling into the playoffs riding the longest winning streak in the league. A Matt Moore-led Dolphins offense should do little to get in the way of the Steelers advancing to the divisional round.
New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers (-4.5)
This is the most intriguing matchup going into the first round of the playoffs. The Packers are coming in riding a six-game winning streak, but the Giants are one of the few defenses in the league that can slow down Aaron Rodgers. Even with the Giants stingy defense, though, Eli Manning and Odell Beckham will likely have to have a big game for New York to come away with a win, which is very possible against a Green Bay defense that allowed the second-most yards and third-most touchdowns through the air this season.