The NFL playoffs kick off today with wild card weekend. The first game we’ll see today has the (12-4) Oakland Raiders at the (9-7) Houston Texans.
Both of these teams are dealing with what you could call interesting quarterback situations. The Raiders where 12-3 with Derek Carr as there starting quarterback, but in Week 16 Carr went down with a broken leg and is done for the season. Oakland turned to back up Matt McGloin for the final game of the season and then hopefully into the playoffs. Then in what has to be looked at as just bad luck McGloin got hurt in the Week 17 game against the Denver Broncos. McGloin has been limited in practice all week and is listed as “Questionable” on the injury report. While most reports are saying McGloin won’t play we won’t actually know until inactive list for the game is released. So the Raiders are down to there 3rd string quarterback. That is Connor Cook who was the Raiders 2016 4th round draft pick. Cook will actually ne the first quarterback in NFL history to make his first career start in a playoff game. Cook did go 14 of 21 for 150 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception in relief of McGloin against the Broncos. The Raiders did sign Garrett Gilbert to the practice squad to serve as a back up quarterback.
The Texans quarterback situation was affected by injury in Week 17 as well. Tom Savage had taken over as the Texans starting quarterback when he replaced Brock Osweiler in Week 15’s game against the Jacksonville Jaquars. Savage made starts in Week 16 and Week 17, but Savage suffered a concussion in Week 17 against the Tennessee Titans and has not cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol. That means Osweiler gets the job back as Houston’s starting quarterback for today’s playoff game. Osweiler was 8-6 as the Texans starter this season. He completed 59% of his passes and threw 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. After taking over for Savage against the Titans Osweiler went 21 for 40 for 253 yards and a touchdown. It was the most passing yards Osweiler had thrown for sine Week 6. The other injury the Texans are dealing with is to leading rusher Lamar Miller. Miller has been inactive the last two weeks, but wasn’t on the Texans final injury report for the playoff game. Miller ran for 104 yards in the Texans 27-20 loss to the Raiders in Week 11.
Here’s how we’re picking this game. Schaumburg Stu, Mr. Fantasy and I are all going with the Houston Texans. That means Dan the Man is the only one picking the Raiders.
The second playoff game today has the (9-7) Detroit Lions at the (10-5-1) Seattle Seahawks. The injury situation isn’t as bad for either of these teams entering the playoffs, but there is some concern with the way they both played down the stretch. The Lions come into this game on a 3-game losing streak that dropped into a wild card spot. Now the Seahawks did win there final regular season game of the season, but it was just a 2-point (25-23) win over the 2-14 San Francisco 49ers. Luckily for the Seahawks they are the home team and they’ve never lost a playoff game at CenturyLink Field. The Lions have also never won a game in Seattle. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford will still be wearing a glove on his throwing hand to protect his injured finger. Detroit has made only two playoff appearances since 1999 and has not won a postseason game since 1991. The Lions have also trailed in the fourth quarter of every game during the regular season, and they overcame nine fourth quarter deficits while getting out to a 9-4 record before falling back to earth in December and early January. The Seahawks ate just 2-2 since Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas was injured and some sideline squabbles only added to the idea that Seattle is a team in turmoil. The Seahawks are also missing wide receiver/return man Tyler Lockett who broke his leg in the game against the Arizona Cardinals on December 24th. To fill the void Lockett leaves in the return game Seattle signed veteran return man Devin Hester. Hester has an NFL record 20 returns for touchdowns, including a record 14 on punts, 5 on kickoffs and 1 on a missed field goal attempt return. Hester played in 12 games for the Baltimore Ravens this season. Hester returned 25 punts averaging 7.2 yards per return. He also returned 19 kickoffs averaging 24.5 yards per return.
We’re all in agreement with our pick for this game as we all have the Seahawks getting the win.
You can kind of add this to the list of it happens to everybody. Last night the Golden State Warriors blew a 24 point lead and ended up losing to the Memphis Grizzlies 128-119 in overtime. The loss took place at Oracle Arena where Golden State was 16-2 coming into last nights game. Golden State entered the 4th quarter up by 19 points which normally leads to victory. The Warriors came out “lethargically” at the start of the 4th quarter and Memphis went on a 23-6 run. It took the Warriors offense 7 minutes to score those 6 points. Down the stretch the Warriors used there “Super Death Line Up” of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala and it looked as though they would hang on for a win. Then, the end of regulation was ugliest of all for Golden State. Tony Allen muscled home a follow-up to a key offensive rebound. With the Warriors up two, the Warriors delivered what might have been their most awkward sequence of the season. As Curry dribbled it appeared that Durant did not know where to be, as Green gesticulated. The play led to a Curry miss, salvaged by a Thompson rebound. From there Durant and Curry deliberated over what was supposed to happen, until Curry finally gave up the rock. Then Curry set a less than forceful screen and Durant, facing Zach Randolph’s closeout, missed an off the dribble 3. Green sauntered to the bench looking less than pleased, before exchanging heated words with Durant. The Warriors continued their struggles into overtime and after Troy Daniels hit a 3-pointer the Grizzlies where up 6 points. It looked as though Durant had a chance to pull the Warriors within three as it appeared he scored and was fouled, but after a review of the play the called was changed and a foul was called on Durant. It seemed as though the Warriors couldn’t get back on track and after Mike Conley hit a step back jumper Memphis had the game in hand. After the game Draymond Green had some pointed comments, but pretty much blamed everyone for the loss. This is the kind of loss that doesn’t happen to a team like Golden State. In the end it won’t affect much as they’re still looked at as the best team in the Western Conference and any issue they might be having; they’ll have 45 regular season games to work out.
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