This game features two 3rd string QBs in what may be the worst playoff game in recent memory. Connor Cook will make his first NFL start after McGloin went down with a shoulder injury last week and faces a stout Houston defense on the road without his blind side tackle Donald Penn, which is a recipe for disaster. Watt may be out for the year but the Texans still boast a strong front 7 with Clowney returning to join Mercilus and Cushing to give Cook a tough challenge in his debut. Osweiler has been mostly underwhelming to say the least since signing his big contract with Houston in the offseason but at least has a handful of NFL starts under his belt and should be more comfortable playing at home. Points will definitely come at a premium in this matchup but I like the Texans to shut down Cook in his first ever start and cover at home.
Both teams enter the playoffs limping, with Detroit losing 3 straight to finish the season and lose the division, and Seattle looking unimpressive in the last month of the season, capped by a narrow win against the Niners as double digit favorites. Detroit's playoff struggles on the road have been well documented, losing their last 8 playoff games away from home, and face a hostile environment at CenturyLink. Levy looks to be a game time decision but won't be near 100%, and Detroit has a few other injuries in their line and secondary that won't be easy to replace. Seattle may have a terrible o-line and a weak running game but they've dealt with it all season and they've been able to change their identity than in previous years. Seattle's defense isn't the dominant force they used to be without Thomas but should have enough to keep the Detroit offense in check on their home field.
The Steelers finished off the regular season on a 7 game winning streak and look to keep that streak alive against Matt Moore and the Dolphins today. Miami previously beat Pittsburgh back in Week 7 behind Ajayi's 200+ rushing yards and a late injury to Big Ben, but this Steelers team should be well rested and ready to go after letting the backups play last week. Both teams have a few notable injuries, but Miami's 29th ranked defense will especially miss not having Maxwell/Jones/Abdul-Quddus in their secondary against Antonio Brown and the Steelers' potent offense. The weather should be in the single digits, which the Dolphins are less accustomed to, and a windy forecast favors the team with the better defense and run game. As long as the Steelers' oline can keep Suh in check, Bell should have a solid day with 25+ touches and Pittsburgh should cruise to a dominating 2+ TD win at home.
Aaron Rodgers famously stated that his Packers are going to run the table after their Week 11 loss, which was their 4th straight loss to bring their record down to a disappointing 4-6. Green Bay did just that, rattling off 6 straight wins to finish their season and host the Giants in Lambeau. New York's stout defense took a huge loss to their dline when JPP went down with an injury a month ago, but they're otherwise very healthy and should still be able to keep the Packers in check with their solid secondary. Packers have a few injury concerns notably in their secondary, with Rollins suffering a concussion to join their top corner Shields on the sidelines for today's game. Although we've seen what Eli could do as an underdog in the playoffs, where he boasts a very good SU/ATS record, his play has been erratic in the 2nd half of the season, especially on the road. With Rodgers entering the playoffs with all the momentum in the world, the Packers should hold off Eli and OBJ to cover and head to Dallas for the next round.