#4 Houston Texans vs. #5 Oakland Raiders
Both teams come into the game with quarterback issues. The Texans are starting Brock Osweiler again, after he lost the job week 15 but has returned because of an injury to Tom Savage. The Raiders are turning to third-string and rookie Connor Cook, a star for 4 years at Michigan State, who will be making his first career start. I believe this game will come down to the defenses, and the Texans top-ranked unit will help them in a close game.
Texans 17-Raiders 14
#3 Seattle Seahawks vs. #6 Detroit Lions
Fresh off of blowing a comfortable multi-game division lead in the last few weeks, the Lions now have to travel to one of the toughest stadiums and play one of the best playoff teams in recent years. Matt Stafford has been having a career year, but I cannot pick against Seattle at home against a team without a playoff win since 1991.
Seahawks 31-Lions 20
#3 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. #6 Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins have had a fantastic first year under head coach Adam Gase, and have relied heavily on Jay Ajayi and the running game because of an injury to starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. For the Steelers, this is their first ever playoff game with Ben Roethlisberger, Le’veon Bell and Antonio Brown all healthy, giving them a big advantage when they have the ball. The Dolphins may have beaten them earlier in the season, but the Steelers will pull this win out at home.
Steelers 27-Dolphins 14
#4 Green Bay Packers vs. #5 New York Giants
When they Giants get into the playoffs, they do it using the same strategy: a strong defense, and enough Eli Manning to secure a Super Bowl run. This year, they have to start the journey at Lambeau Field against Aaron Rodgers. The Packers defense was struggling early in the year, but has become a takeaway machine during the teams’ win streak, and I see them doing enough to disrupt the Giants offense, while Rodgers will be able to pick apart this defensive secondary at home.
Packers 30-Giants 20