Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2016-17 NFL playoff predictions (Part 1 - Wild Card)

Another year passes. So comes the time for another round of NFL playoff predictions! This post will focus on the Wild Card games; future posts will predict the outcomes of the Divisional and Championship games, and eventually the Super Bowl.

Let's roll.

Thunderbirds101's picks


#6 Miami Dolphins vs #3 Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers enter the playoffs on a seven-game winning streak. Opposite the Steelers are the Dolphins, the latter of which opened the season with a dismal 1-4 record, but then won nine of their next eleven games, including a 30-15 takedown of Pittsburgh.

However, the Dolphins have lost players to injuries, including starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The Dolphins haven't won a playoff game since a 23-17 OT Wild Card win over the Indianapolis Colts back in 2000. The Steelers, meanwhile, are roaring into the playoffs.

Steelers win, 27-17.

Steelers win, 30-12.

T-Bird's comments after the game:
No surprises here. Costly turnovers decimated any hope of a Dolphins victory. The Steelers have punched their ticket to a showdown with the Chiefs.


#4 Houston Texans vs #5 Oakland Raiders 

Both these teams enter the playoffs following a loss. The Texans have been inconsistent all season, whereas the Raiders finished their strong 12-win season with their worst offensive performance all year, posting a measly six points on the board. The Raiders must use rookie quarterback Connor Cook because Derek Carr and Matt McGloin, their respective first- and second-string quarterbacks, have been sidelined with injuries.

With the core of Oakland's heavy artillery sidelined, the 12-4 record looks misleading. Derek Carr spearheaded the team's wins over the season, and without him, Oakland faces a daunting task.

But that's not to say Houston will see great playoff success either, if they win. If the Steelers win and the Raiders lose, then the Texans face just a slight challenge.

The Patriots.

In Foxborough.

Good luck with that.

Texans win, 17-13.

Texans win, 27-14.

T-Bird's comments after the game:
The Raiders' 12-4 record was definitely misleading entering the playoffs. Without Derek Carr, the Raiders could not endure the vicious Texans defense. Connor Cook threw three costly interceptions, whereas Brock Osweiler threw none. A solid win, but can Texas maintain this momentum against New England?



#3 Seattle Seahawks vs #6 Detroit Lions

What's the deal with the Seahawks? How is it that a team that takes down New England and Atlanta then loses to Tampa Bay and Arizona? Earl Thomas's absence has sent shockwaves through the Seattle defense, surrendering points all across the board in recent games. Still, the Lions aren't much better, having limped into the playoffs on a three-game losing streak. The Lions will put up a spirited fight, but it won't be enough.

Seahawks win, 24-16.

Seahawks win, 26-6.

T-Bird's comments after the game:

A decisive victory for the Seahawks! Seattle turns up with a strong defense, solid offense, incredible one-handed catches, bizarre butt catches, and stolen touchdown catches! Truly the ingredients for a playoff victory! Seattle moves on to face Atlanta in the Divisional round.


#4 New York Giants vs #5 Green Bay Packers

The Packers enter the playoffs having gone on a six-game winning streak, complete with four straight games of scoring 30-plus points. The Packers will have all artillery on deck to counter Eli Manning and shred the Giants' defense. Still, the Giants are a formidable foe. Twice this season have the Giants defeated the NFC-leading Dallas Cowboys. The Giants have never allowed 30 or more points a game this season, but neither have they scored 30 or more points. The Giants also lost 23-16 to Green Bay in the regular season, albeit back in October. This will be a well-fought duel.

Whether the vicious Wisconsin cold plays a factor remains to be seen.

Packers win, 27-24.

Packers win, 38-13.

T-Bird's comments after the game:
We turn now to live footage of the New York Giants:

No comments: