Sunday Wild Card Thoughts and Predictions

Wild-Card  Sunday Thoughts and Predictions:

For the 8th straight season, fans of the Green Bay Packers are enjoying—or agonizing over NFL Plyoff Football.  Only the New England Patriots can match that streak.  That streak won’t mean anything to Packers fans if the season ends today—more on that in a moment. 

A brief look at yesterday’s games…I feel badly for the Oakland Raiders, with a healthy Derek Carr, I think the Raiders would have won the Wild Card opener in Houston.  It’s really just delaying the inevitable with the Texans.  There is simply not enough offense to win in the Divisional round…whether they play at New England (most likely) or Kansas City—Houston is likely done next weekend.

In the Saturday night cap—the Detroit Lions proved to be pretenders.  Even with a 20-point win—I’m just not “buying” what the Seahawks are selling.  I think Seattle’s season ends with a thud in Atlanta on Saturday night.

10-teams remain—but I think only 7 teams have a real shot at a trip to SB LI.  By the way…I went 1-1 on my Saturday picks.  I missed on my upset of Oakland winning at Houston.  Here’s what I think about today:

6—Miami Dolphins 10-6 (4-4 away)  @  3-Pittsburgh Steelers 11-5 (6-2 home),  12:05 CT  CBS

The Dolphins, even with Ryan Tannehill, would be facing an uphill battle in Pittsburgh.  Miami has one chance to win, that with is Jay Ajayi having an epic day, and the Dolphins defense getting takeaways from Ben Roethlisberger.  Both happened in a 30-15 Dolphins win over the Steelers in October.  Simply put, it will not happen again.  Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell will be better than the Matt Moore and Jay Ajayi.

Simple?                                Steelers—37-20


5-New York Giants 11-5 (4-4 away)  @  4-Green Bay Packers 10-6 (6-2 home), Sunday 3:40 CT  FOX

It’s difficult for Packers fans to forget the Giants playoff trips to Lambeau in 2008 and 2012.  There are just a handful of players on either sideline that were part of the 2012 Giants win—and far less were there for the below zero Giants win in the NFC Championship game in 08.  There are a lot of keys to this one…but the biggest might just be “confidence-momentum” that the Packers have built while riding a 6-game winning streak.  Running the table to earn a playoff home game has put the Packers back into the discussion for SB LI.  If GB wins, it will be because the defense holds up against a very talented Giants WR corps…and because the Packers offensive line is able to hold back the Giants pass rush.  One late key could be the health of Aaron Ripkowski—added to the injury list Saturday with a shoulder problem, list as questionable.  Two Key players on each side of the ball  in a Packers win along with the obvious—Aaron Rodgers:  Davante Adams and Jared Cook on offense,  Julius Peppers and HaHa Clinton-Dix on defense.  If those 4, plus Rodgers have good numbers—the Packers win.

Nervous?            Packers—20-17

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