The Patriots outscored opponents by an average of 12 points per game, and from a betting perspective, joined last year's Minnesota Vikings as the only team over the past 13 years to post a 13-3 against the spread record. Playoff experience would dictate Seattle as next in the NFC, which is more wide open than the AFC.
This is the fourth time the Texans have opened the playoffs as the early game on Saturday. The second-year pro has a nice mix of strength and slippery and managed 200 yards on the ground in a game three times this season. I'll take the Cowboys, who I think should be hoping that they see NY a third time and not Green Bay a second time.
If this game is anywhere near as good as the Monday Night game these two teams played in 2015, we are in for a treat.
And the Giants' top-10 defense will face a significant test at Lambeau Field against Aaron Rodgers and the surging Packers.
Largely considered to be the most underwhelming of the wild-card games because of the matchup at quarterback. Oakland will be starting a third-string rookie quarterback, although the Patriots can empathize.
The latter is now in the concussion protocol after getting banged around at Tennessee last week so Osweiler immediately gets a shot at redemption and I fancy he will grasp his opportunity with both hands. "You have these great opportunities in life to be at your best, and you get these great challenges". But Houston's defense should make the difference as the Texans bid to become the first Super Bowl-era team to play in the big game on its home field. As long as the Raiders have the likes of Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack, and the Texans are starting Brock Osweiler, there's a strong chance. There will be four must-win games on tap for everyone's enjoyment this upcoming weekend.
According to Sportline, the Pittsburgh Steelers are the biggest favorite this Wildcard weekend and probably are the best bet for a home team not to lose.
Both teams enter the playoffs in a slump. Detroit has gone under in 17 of its last 23 games.
"History kind of shows you that it's a true restart", Detroit QB Matthew Stafford said. And how do we decide who those are? There's hidden value in special teams, and the Chiefs need to keep uncovering it to give themselves a real chance at the Super Bowl.
The latter have slid to three straight losses to end the regular season and could never really lay a glove on Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers last week as the pair fought it out for the NFC North.
The Dolphins were one of the NFL's best stories this season, winning nine of their final 11 games to reach the postseason for the first time since 2008. Seattle is 38-6 in their last 44 home games. Since 2012, the Seahawks are 7-3 in the playoffs.
Saturday's wild-card game should be a low-scoring slog, and Houston's defense is far more stout than Oakland's. This is Miami's first playoff trip in six years, and it came due to a winning streak that saw it beat teams like Cincinnati, Cleveland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Indianapolis.
With the game-time forecast of around 20 degrees, the Dolphins put footballs used by the team's place-kicker and punter in a freezer before practice to simulate conditions for Sunday's game.
Miami's secondary is ravaged by injury, Ne wEngland has proven it can limit running back Jay Ajayi and, in keeping with the trend, the Dolphins have a question mark at quarterback: injured Ryan Tannehill or backup Matt Moore? The Steelers' Antonio Brown finished in the top two in the National Football League in receptions for the fourth-straight year.
Oakland coach Jack Del Rio talked up Cook's confidence, but they should lean on their run game to set the tone and keep him from having to do too much.
AN: The Packers and Giants both have the ability to win it all. No team in the league backdoor'd their way into the postseason in more lackluster fashion than this squad.
NY wins games by sticking around long enough to compete in the fourth quarter.
The Giants are back in the playoffs for the first time since that 2011 run under first-year head coach Ben McAdoo, who replaced Tom Coughlin. I'm not ready to say that they will get steamrolled on Wild Card weekend, but I think the three-headed monster on Pittsburgh's offense does enough to win.
McCarthy is the fourth coach in National Football League history to lead a single franchise to eight straight playoff appearances, joining Tom Landry, Chuck Noll and Bill Belichick. Green Bay has won six straight since being written off for dead.
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