NFL Pick’off – Wild Card Weekend

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 13: Chris Polk #22 of the Houston Texans is gang tackled by the Kansas City Chiefs defense in the second half in a NFL game on September 13, 2015 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Want to find out the winning formula for this weekend’s playoff games?

The Playoffs are finally here as 20 mediocre to atrocious NFL teams have been punted to the sidelines and eliminated from an opportunity to win the 2017 Super Bowl.

That leaves us with 12 contenders in the Lombardi Trophy derby, and 8 of them will do battle this weekend in the Wild Card round.

This weekend I’ll make my selections “Straight-Up” (SU) and “Against The Spread” (ATS) from the slate of games.

The team listed in bold is the straight up pick, where as the red +/- indicates the pick when including the Vegas line.

I’ll provide a brief sentence or two of nonsense or logic (depending on the outcome), for what led me to that choice.

I’ll be competing against Catch-22’s NFL Senior Editor (Mark Staniusz) throughout the playoffs, and I will list his picks below.

Week 17 Results:

Phil 13-3 SU / 11-5 ATS

Mark 9-7 SU / 6-10 ATS



Oakland @ Houston (-3.5)

In a series of most unfortunate events, the Oakland Raiders enter the playoffs with their 3rd string QB starting and playing his first ever NFL game on the road, against the best statistical defense in the league that boasts the best home record in the AFC at 7-1. Are we making this game out to be more complicated that it seems? Brock Osweiler is facing a Raiders defense that isn’t anywhere close to a playoff caliber unit. All he has to do is manage the game properly, limit his mistakes, and occasionally hit DeAndre Hopkins on a few 3rd down plays. The Texans defense, and a couple of Nick Novak field goals, will take care of the rest as Houston wins (and covers) from the site of Super Bowl 51.



Detroit (+8) @ Seattle

The Seahawks have won 9-straight home playoff games and were 7-1 at CenturyLink Field this season. The Lions haven’t won a road playoff game since 1957. History and conventional wisdom strongly urges you to bet on Seattle in this game. Upon further evaluation, the Seahawks have pulled some dark magic out in recent playoff games (Vikings & Packers) and narrowly escaped with wins. They lost a Super Bowl on the last play of the game against the Patriots in a way that defied logic and has helped them lose some serious luster. Having lost 2 out of their past 3 playoff games, and looking very pedestrian at times this season coupled with the loss of Earl Thomas, creates the recipe for an upset in the making. Matt Stafford will rescue the Lions, as he’s done all year long with the season on the line, shocking the Pacific Northwest and the rest of America in the process.

SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 5: Quarterback Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions passes the ball during the second half of a football game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on October 5, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks won the game 13-10. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)


Miami (+10.5) @ Pittsburgh

I really don’t think Matt Moore is that much of a downgrade from Ryan Tannehill to warrant a spread of this magnitude. The Dolphins beat the Steelers earlier this season by 15-points as they began to resurrect their 2016 campaign. Jay Ajayi and Jarvis Landry are talented enough to help Matty Moore and the fish cover this spread. Our old friend Ndamukong Suh will be causing disruptions in the Pittsburgh offence all day long resulting in an insurance policy for the (+10.5). Other signs of a close game have Miami leading the playoff history 2-1, and the all-time series is tied at 13. Despite the Dolphin’s best effort, Ben Roethlisberger will find Antonio Brown in the dying seconds to break Miami’s heart.

Oct 16, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) is tripped by by Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (97) during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports


NY Giants (+5) @ Green Bay

The Packers won the least desirable prize by winning the NFC North. They get to host a playoff game against Eli Manning and the Giants, a team that has beaten them recently in the playoffs at Lambeau on two occasions. Yes, the Packers “ran the table”… but they did so against teams with a combined losing record. New York has a legit defense that will put the clamps on Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay’s Super Bowl aspirations. Odell Cornelious Beckham Jr. will exploit the Packers weakened secondary as the Giants narrowly escape the frozen tundra with a win.

GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 09: Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the New York Giants catches a pass for a touchdown in front of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix #21 of the Green Bay Packers during the second half of a game at Lambeau Field on October 9, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

2016 Season: 129-89-2 (SU) / 98-112-10 (ATS)



Oakland @ Houston (-3.5)

Detroit (+8) @ Seattle

Miami (+10.5) @ Pittsburgh

NY Giants (+5) @ Green Bay

2016 Season: 136-84-2 (SU) / 105-105-10 (ATS)


*All NFL point spreads from www.vegasinsider.com (VI Consensus) as of 7:30 PM EST


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Follow authors: @Phil_Jones2020 and @MarkStaniusz



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