The Wildcard Round of the 2016 NFL Playoffs is upon us, and backup quarterbacks are a major story. While the starting quarterbacks for NFC teams this weekend are all currently healthy, three out of the four AFC teams playing this weekend enter the playoffs starting a backup quarterback. The Dolphins will start Matt Moore this week against the Steelers, the Texans will start Brock Osweiler (who was their one-time starter benched for Tom Savage) against the Raiders, and the Raiders will start their third string rookie QB Connor Cook against the Texans. Cook is a rookie who will be making his first career NFL start in the toughest of circumstances, with the Raiders postseason hopes on the line.
In the NFC, the Packers and Seahawks are usual postseason threats. Every year these two teams have a chance to win the Superbowl. The Giants have earned their way into the postseason the year after a disappointing season, which was Tom Coughlin's final season as the Giants head coach. Meanwhile, the Lions' last road playoff victory was during the Eisenhower administration, happened in 1957. Following that game, the Lions headed to the NFL Championship game. The Detroit Lions then defeated the Cleveland Browns, 59-14. You read that right, the last time the Lions went on to defeat the Cleveland Browns in the NFL Championship Game. Can the Lions snap their historic streak of road playoff losses this week?
Playoff Schedule for the weekend:
No. 5 Oakland Raiders (12-4) @ No. 4 Houston Texans (9-7). ESPN, Saturday 1/7/2017 at 4:35 PM EST.
No. 6 Detroit Lions (9-7) @ No. 3 Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1). NBC, Saturday 1/7/2017 at 8:15 PM EST
No. 6 Miami Dolphins (10-6) @ No. 3 Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5). CBS, Sunday 1/8/2017 at 1:05 PM EST.
No. 5 New York Giants (11-5) @ No. 4 Green Bay Packers (10-6). FOX, Sunday 1/8/2017, 4:40 PM EST.
And now, some picks:
Oakland Raiders @ Houston Texans. I really want to believe in Connor Cook. The kid had a ton of success in college, and is a talented player. However, making your first career start in the playoffs, as a rookie, against a defense like Houston's is a daunting task. This is a team that is loaded with weapons, but can they rebound from the loss of Derek Carr? Call me crazy, but I think they can. Both of these offenses may struggle at points, but the Raiders could squeak out a close one. Raiders win. Final score: Oakland Raiders 14, Houston Texans 12.
Detroit Lions @ Seattle Seahawks. The Lions' road playoff woes continue this week in Seattle. This is a good football team, but the Seahawks are unstoppable at home. In fact, they might be the team to beat in the NFC this year. Seahawks win. Final score: Seattle Seahawks 24, Detroit Lions 14.
Miami Dolphins @ Pittsburgh Steelers. Can the Steelers stop Jay Ajayi this week? If yes, then they win this game. If no, they lose. Given the fact that the Steelers' run defense is horrid and that Ajayi had a huge game against them earlier this season, I think Miami takes this one. Final score: Miami Dolphins 21, Pittsburgh Steelers 17.
New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers. This is potentially the game of the week. Two great teams peaking at the right time? That makes for a phenomenal matchup. Both teams have a chance to make a run in the playoffs this year, but only one team will continue after this game. I think Rodgers and the Packers hold off the Giants at home. Final score: Green Bay Packers 27, New York Giants 24.
Texans win 12 -9 over the Raiders.
Seahawks win 23 - 21 over the Lions
Packers win 20 - 17 over the Giants
Dolphins upset the Steelers 34 -30
Raiders beat Texans, 24-20.
Seahawks beat Lions, 27-17.
Steelers beat Dolphins, 24-17.
Packers beat Giants, 24-23.
Sports give us as the human race something to cheer for and support and give hope to all of us.