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NFL Playoffs 2017: Wild Card Matchups, Analysis, and Predictions

Dec 18, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) throws the ball during the third quarter against the Lions at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 18, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) throws the ball during the third quarter against the Lions at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports /
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nfl playoffs 2017
nfl playoffs 2017 /

Dec 18, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) throws the ball during the third quarter against the Lions at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

What will the start of the NFL Playoffs 2017 bring us? Wild Card weekend promises to bring a ton of action and even a few surprises to kick off the postseason.

Now that we can say goodbye to the regular season, all football fans can get excited for the start of the NFL Playoffs 2017 this upcoming weekend. There are some great matchups to look forward to in both the AFC conference as well as the NFC conference. This weekend in the AFC conference, we have the sixth seed Miami Dolphins at third seed Pittsburgh Steelers and the fifth seed Oakland Raiders at fourth seed Houston Texans. In the NFC conference, we have the sixth seed Detroit Lions at the third seed Seattle Seahawks and the fifth seed New York Giants at fourth seed Green Bay Packers.

All four of these teams are either playing some real good football or have been going through hot and cold streaks. It will be a fun-filled weekend that many of us can not wait to see which teams will continue their season. The top seeds will get to rest up and see their potential opponents play it out this weekend. Many of these six teams have strengths and opportunities and only time will tell if it plays into their advantage.

There has to be at least one team to compete with the top seeds and create an upset and head possibly to the Super Bowl. These four games also have a lot of questions to answer in who is healthy and who isn’t.

Let’s take a look at what the outcome of the games could be and who will be heading to the divisional round next weekend.

Next: #5 Oakland Raiders vs #4 Houston Texans

nfl playoffs 2017
nfl playoffs 2017 /

Jan 1, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Connor Cook (8) passes in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 24-6. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

#5 Oakland Raiders vs #4 Houston Texans

This matchup has me very intrigued for what the story line of this game is looking like between both of these teams. Both teams finished off the year with losing their final games and are coming in with a lot of questions to answer. The Raiders are coming in with a key leader being out for the rest of the season in Derek Carr. Carr broke his left fibula in a game against the Indianapolis Colts that has left them resorting to quarterback Connor Cook.

The Houston Texans will also look for a quarterback after they have been back and forth with who will start. Texans were hoping that Tom Savage would be starting but after suffering a concussion, Brock Osweiler will taking his starting role back and lead this team on Saturday afternoon. Osweiler was one of the biggest free agent signings this offseason and has not lived up to the hype whatsoever.

While the Raiders, on the other hand, are hoping their defense can save the day. Lucky for the Raiders, they have a very good defense that should make quick work of the Texans. If the offense of the Raiders is going to be successful, wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper will need to step up. Also, the Raiders will need the running game to establish itself because the Texans have a very good run stop defense.

Unlike the Raiders, the Texans have a very struggling offense that has had trouble in scoring points this year. They will need DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller to have big games. If the Raiders defense keeps them in check, it’s going to be a very long game for the Texans.

The final score is going to be close but it will be a very tight game. The first team to get a turnover will be the winner as it’ll come down to which team commits the first big mistake that will determine the final outcome.

Prediction: Raiders 24, Texans 14

Next: #6 Miami Dolphins vs #3 Pittsburgh Steelers

#6 Miami Dolphins vs #3 Pittsburgh Steelers

This time around will be a different outcome for the Steelers who have been one of the hottest teams in the game. The Steelers are coming in healthy and ready to play to extend their winning streak. The Dolphins, on the other hand, have struggled which is going to be interesting to see if they can do what they did back in Week 6 of the regular season.

The Dolphins will be with Matt Moore under center who has been with the team and now is getting his opportunity. They were a struggling offense this year as they were ranked 24th which is something to worry about. The wide receivers will need to step up in order to help the offense to be productive because the Steelers defense could potentially shut them down all game long. The running game is going to be a big question mark to see how it does because last time they ran for 200 plus yards.

The Steelers have had a big production from their offense and they will need to continue their success. With Antonio Brown being the game changer that he is, they will need everyone to start and finish big. Expect to see the Steelers give the Dolphins a hard time since they’ve built some great momentum towards the end of the season straight through to where it matters most.

The Steelers will be out for revenge and Big Ben will have a much better game and be very productive. I think it will be hard for the Dolphins to be successful and will not be able to hold up.

Prediction: Steelers 27, Dolphins 10

Next: #6 Detroit Lions at #3 Seattle Seahawks

nfl playoffs 2017
nfl playoffs 2017 /

January 1, 2017; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll (left) and quarterback Russell Wilson (3) talk against the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter at Levi

#6 Detroit Lions at #3 Seattle Seahawks

This game can either be a very good game or either it could get ugly real quick which will be the big question. The Lions will need to bring their A-game in order to win and play flawlessly in order to win. It is going to be difficult for the Lions to be very successful because of how good the Seahawks defense has been all season long.

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The Lions will need to establish the running game because of how good they can be. The 12th man will have a big play in this game because of how hard it is for the away team to play at CenturyLink Field. Not many away teams have been successful in obtaining wins due to how loud it can get.

The Seahawks will need quarterback Russell Wilson to be very efficient because he has a tendency of throwing the football recklessly. It’s important he doesn’t try to force throws in that could cost the Seahawks dearly if he starts to commit turnovers.

This game will get ugly real quick and it won’t be a close one because of how efficient the Seahawks are in all aspects of the team. The Seahawks defense will have a big game and Wilson will wear out the Lions defense due to being laser-focused.

Prediction: Seahawks 27, Lions 7

Next: #5 New York Giants vs #4 Green Bay Packers

nfl playoffs 2017
nfl playoffs 2017 /

Dec 4, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) runs the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

#5 New York Giants vs #4 Green Bay Packers

This is the match up everyone will be looking at this Wild Card weekend and we will see a slug fest. This is a rematch from earlier this year when the Packers defeated the Giants by seven points. It will be a classic case of which offense can outscore the other as both defenses will be in the spotlight.

The Giants will need to have Eli Manning to go back to his championship self in the playoffs that made him an elite quarterback. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers guaranteed that the Packers would go the distance and have been playing consistent football.

The Packers have been a machine on offense and they will look to see if they can continue their success. Their running game leaves much to the imagination but Rodgers makes everyone around him better so expect to see them go all out in front of their home crowd at Lambeau Field.

Next: Woody Johnson handling Todd Bowles correctly with Jets

The outcome of the game will be decided on turnovers and who can score at least 20 to 25 points for the win. This game can go either way which makes this game the best one to look forward to over the weekend.

Prediction: Packers 24, Giants 14

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