It’s wild card weekend bitches and we have some pretty good matchups in store. This is one of the few wild card weekends in recent memory where there are good games across the board. Today I’m just gonna talk about Saturdays games and then I will give my picks for tomorrow’s games in a separate blog. Alright lets get to the games.
Colts @ Texans (-2)
Since the 2012/13 playoffs the Texans have appeared in the early Saturday Wild Card game 3 times, in those games their quarterbacks were as follows; Matt Schaub, Brian Hoyer and Brock Osweiler. In the past this game has been marked by shitty quarterback play, and usually the game reserved for the teams no one really cares about. However this year, we get to see Desaun Watson and Andrew Luck, two very good young QBs battle it out, which is a major upgrade over the year we had to watch Connor Cook and Brock Osweiler play.
If you have followed along with my picks this year you know that I haven’t been too high on the Colts, despite the fact that they are a playoff team. The reason for my reluctance to accept the Colts as a good team is because I watched them give up 42 to the Jets, and if you do that it’s hard for me to take you seriously. However since that point the Colts have gone 9-1 and battled their way back into the playoffs. I guess losing to a team coached by Todd Bowles was the wake up call they needed. The Colts will also be with their entire starting offensive line for the first time since Week 11, and this was a group who kept Andrew Luck upright on 250 straight drop backs at one point this season. Also I saw that the Colts haven’t allowed a 100 yard rusher all season. I don’t think that matters too much considering the Texans aren’t a run heavy team, just a fun stat I wanted to point out. While Andrew Luck does have playoff experience, he had never really performed up to his standard when it comes to playoff time. Going just 3-3, he has an under 60% completion percentage and just 9 TDs to 12 INTs. However when taking a closer look at his playoff numbers I believe they are skewed a bit considering he has played relatively well against all teams but the Patriots. On defense I still don’t think the Colts are that great, yes they have an all-pro linebacker but outside of Darius Leonard I don’t think they are a great unit. I think they lack playmakers on the back end and when going against Deandre Hopkins that is an important thing to have.
Now onto the Texans, a team who beat the Jets this year but it took a comeback to do so, so it doesn’t really count in my eyes. The Texans, like the Colts, really got off to a slow start this season before turning it around and going on a 9 game win steak. I think the biggest question mark is how will Desaun Watson play in this game because the Texans basically live and die by him. They don’t have a great run game, and while they have playmakers on defense they are far from a complete unit. Watson is no stranger to big moments, having won a national title while at Clemson and I expect him to have a great game. On the defensive side like I said they are far from a complete unit. They have JJ Watt and Clowney but they are still worse than league average against the pass. I also think the Texans defensive strong suit is the Colts offensive strong suit, D-Line vs O-Line. I’m very excited for that matchup. Alright enough of the team break downs lets get onto some picks.
When it comes to picking against the spread I think I have changed my mind 30 times. I started off thinking I was gonna go with the Colts because I think they will win but something in me is saying that’s not the right bet. But no matter how many times I change my mind on the winner of this game I still think the over is going to hit. I think 49 is very low for a game with these caliber of offenses and I love it as a play here.
Pick: Over 49
Prediction: IND 30 HOU 29
Seahawks @ Cowboys (-2.5)
When these two teams met earlier in the year the Seahawks won by 11 but that game was also played in Seattle. Also the last time that these two teams met in the playoffs one of the most iconic plays happened, I’m talking the Tony Romo fumbled snap. That was one of the crazier plays I can remember, it was when back up QBs were still holders instead of the punter. It was also the first year that Romo entered the starting line up for Dallas so even though he was starting in the Wild Card game he was still holding for the kicker. They got down into position to take the lead with an easy chip shot field goal but instead Romo botched the snap and attempted to run it in. It’s this play that I think of when I think of Cowboys in the playoffs, I think it’s more memorable than the “Dez caught it” play just because of the lasting image of Romo holding his facemask sitting on the turf most likely crying.
Anyways lets talk about the Cowboys quick. This is a team who has had a sneaky great defense all year. Couple that with their ball control offense and they are a team who I feel is built for the postseason. The one thing that makes me reluctant is their quarterback play, can Dak do enough to win this football game. The Seahawks have been a running offense this year and it has helped elevate the stress put on Wilson. However the Cowboys are one of the stingier teams against the run, surrendering just 3.8 yards per carry and allowing the 5th least yards in the league on the ground.
When Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor left the Seahawks it left just Earl Thomas as the lone remaining member of the legion of boom. Then when he went down for the season many wondered how Seattle would fare. Even without the usual cast of characters the Seahawks have been able to put together another playoff season and their defense is 11th in scoring and 16th in yards. This has been helped by Bobby Wagner having another all-pro season, continuing to cement himself as the best middle linebacker not named Luke Kuechly. Like I said earlier the Seahawks have taken the pressure off Wilson by being the best rushing offense in the league. They lead the league in rushing yards and are second in the league in rushing attempts. A far cry from years past where Wilson was their only viable offensive option. Alright enough chit chat lets make some picks.
This is one where I don’t even need to look at the lines to know what I am picking. I LOVE the under in this game for any total above 25. Both these teams offenses are built to run the football, and control the clock, and both these teams defenses are built to stop that. It is the ultimate strength on strength and in those cases I don’t think a lot of points get scored. Looking now the total is 44 and that is astronomical for these two teams. I know it’s not fun to bet the totals in both games but sometimes that is where the best plays are. Take the under and count your money.
Pick: Under 44
Prediction: DAL 20 SEA 13