NFL Playoff Predictions

NFL+Playoff+Predictions

David Lee

Nathaniel Yemma, Sports Columist

AFC


(6) Miami Dolphins at (3) Pittsburgh Steelers

Analysis: The biggest story in this game for the Dolphins is that starting Quarterback Ryan Tannehill (knee) is likely not going to play, which likely means backup Matt Moore will get another start for Miami. Without Tannehill, the Dolphins will need to get the run game going and keep it going with breakout star Jay Ajayi if they want to have a chance to win this game. The Steelers defense has been inconsistent this year and at times banged up and they will need to have a good game on that side of the ball even though Matt Moore will be under center as he is a proven veteran that is capable of potentially turning in a good game. Ultimately, I think the Steelers offense is too much and the Dolphin’s offense won’t be able to keep up with them.

 

Prediction: Steelers 31-14

 

 (5) Oakland Raiders at (4) Houston Texans

Analysis: This is an interesting game with both teams with injuries at quarterback. For the Raiders MVP candidate Derek Carr (broken fibula) and backup Matt McGloin (shoulder) are both out. That means rookie Connor Cook will get the start for Oakland. For Houston quarterback, Tom Savage (concussion) will not play either. Savage replaced the struggling Brock Osweiler (A.K.A the biggest waste of 72 million dollars ever) a couple weeks ago. This game will come down to defense as the offenses are sure to struggle with both teams being without their quarterbacks. Whichever team makes the most plays on defense will win this game. The Texans had the top run defense this year in the NFL so I am giving them the edge but not by much.

 

Prediction: Texans 21-10

 

First Round Byes:

  1. New England Patriots                               (2) Kansas City Chiefs

NFC

 

(6) Detroit Lions at (3) Seattle Seahawks

Analysis: The Lions had a chance to win the NFC north last Sunday and secure a home game and a division title, but lost at home to the Packers. Now instead they will have to go on the road to Seattle who may have the best home-field advantage in the NFL. For the Lions to win they will have to exploit Seattle’s Secondary which is without All-Pro Safety Earl Thomas III (cracked bone in leg). It won’t be easy but it is possible with Seattle not generating much pass rush in the last couple of games. For the Seahawks, they are without electric return man Tyler Lockett (broken fibula) who also was a very solid receiver throughout the year. Many questions remain for Seattle such as a questionable offensive line, horrid special teams over the last few games, and also not having Earl Thomas III on defense. The defense must step up as well as the offensive line with Detroit having a very solid pass rush. I have to give the edge to Seattle, they are a different team at home and have not lost a home playoff game in the Pete Carroll era.

 

Prediction: Seahawks 26-17

 

(5) New York Giants at (4) Green Bay Packers

Analysis: There has not been a hotter team over the last 6 weeks than the Packers.currently on a 6 game win streak and led by MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers who has an astounding 18 Touchdowns and 0 interceptions over the final 6 games. The Packers will win this game if they keep up what they have been doing the last 6 games and they also need to get some kind of running game going to take a little pressure off Rodgers not that he’s not capable of handling it. For the Giants, it’s a make or break for the front office to see if all that money they spent on defensive players such as Olivier Vernon and Janoris Jenkins, last offseason, pays off.  The Giants have been a very solid team with 2 wins over the #1 seed and division winner Dallas Cowboys. They will need to come out of the gates strong and get their offense going as well as try to slow down Aaron Rodgers and keep him from getting outside the pocket where he does most of his damage. This will be probably the best game of wild card weekend as it can go either way but the way the packers have been playing lately gives them the edge in this one.

 

Prediction: Packers 31-24

 

First Round Byes:

 

                        (1) Dallas Cowboys                                    (2) Atlanta Falcons