If you want to watch Pete's beautiful face while talking about the Wild Card Weekend, where he actually calls it the Divisional Round Weekend, here is the weekly edition of The Report.
Lines Accurate as of Thursday 9:00 PM EST*
Oakland Raiders (+3.5) @ Houston Texans
Niko: Yikes. This one is not exactly primetime TV. With uncertainty (at best) at QB for both teams, I certainly wouldn’t expect a shoot out. Vegas isn’t either, with a laughably low game total over/under of 36.5… All things considered, I’m going to go with Billy O and the Texans at home. As retirement looms for old friend Big Vince Wilfork, it’s a real possibility his career ends at Gillette stadium next weekend.
Pete: The Oakland Raiders were poised to compete with the Patriots for the best team in the AFC. While they had a great regular season and will be good for years to come, Connor Cook is not going to go into another team's stadium and beat them. It simply won't happen. I see the Texans winning this game and playing next week at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.
Jordan: The injury bug couldn't have hit the Raiders at a worse time. They seemed to be on top of the world when Derek Carr went down with that fractured fibula. They say there is a shot he could return for the Super Bowl, but unfortunately, Connor Cook just isn't ready for primetime. The Texans aren't the better team, but the Raiders have to be crushed. I see Brock Osweiler doing just enough to not throw the game away. Texans head to Foxboro.
Detroit Lions (+8) @ Seattle Seahawks
Niko: Seattle just hasn’t looked sharp of late, just barely squeezing out a win at home against the ‘Niners to end the regular season, with the week before dropping one to the Cardinals. They’re limping into the postseason. Given their championship pedigree, I see them taking this one against an unproven Lions team, but not by more than a touchdown. Give me Detroit with the points.
Pete: Offense vs. Defense. While I would usually take the defense, something is telling me Detroit is going to win this game. The Seahawks have not been the same team since losing Earl Thomas, and I simply don't think they can put up enough puts to keep up with the Lions.
Jordan: I honestly don't know what to expect in this one. The Seahawks did just sign Devin Hester to return kicks for them, so that should sure up their special teams a bit. But they still haven't been able to fill the void left by the injured Earl Thomas. Now, they have the benefit of being the home team in this one, after the Lions completely choked away the NFC North to Green Bay. Lions should cover, but the Seahawks should be able to sneak out of the Legion of Boom with a WC victory.
Miami Dolphins (+10) @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Niko: On October 16th, Miami destroyed the Steelers 30-15. They picked off Roethlisberger twice, held Bell to 53 yards, and ran for 222 as a team. Unfortunately for the ‘Phins, this matchup has very little in common with the one a few months back. Starting QB Tannehill is unlikely to suit up, the defense is banged up and struggling, and the Steelers seem to be peaking at the right time. Plus, this one is at Heinz Stadium. That being said, this is a lot of points to cover. I predict a Pitt win, but I’ll take the Dolphins with the points.
Pete: I would LOVE to pick the Dolphins here, but I just don't think they have enough at quarterback to get past Pittsburgh at Heinz Field. The Dolphins were blown out by the Patriots in the final week of the regular season, but they have quite a few good options offensively. I want to, I need to, but I just can't do it. Steelers.
Jordan: Once again, I definitely see the Dolphins covering here. It's the playoffs, and unless it's Pats/Colts or Hawks/Broncos, games are relatively close for the most part. The Dolphins are really going to miss Ryan Tannehill this week, like they did last week vs. the Pats. Having him could've been a difference maker. However, without him, and against a really good Steelers team at Heinz, have to roll with the Steelers taking the W.
New York Giants (+4.5) @ Green Bay Packers
Niko: Best matchup of the weekend, and it’s really not close. Both these clubs have Super Bowl aspirations, and neither would be too big a surprise as the NFC representative in Houston. As well as New York is playing right now (primarily defensively), I’m not going to be the guy that bets against Aaron Rodgers, who has strung together an extremely impressive stretch of games. Packers win and cover at Lambeau.
Pete: I truly believe whichever one of these teams wins this week will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. I am praying to God the Giants win, and I can't believe I am saying that. The Packers have one of the only quarterbacks in the entire National Football League that can be put in the same conversation as Tom Brady, and I believe he could light up this Patriots secondary if they meet in the Super Bowl. Eli Manning seems to always turn it on in the playoffs and I expect him to take this game in Lambeau.
Jordan: Playoff Eli is definitely something you have to worry about. He has the best winning percentage of any QB in the playoffs since he came into the league. I also think the Packers benefited from a really easy schedule down the stretch, so I don't think they're good enough to beat this really talented Giants team, even at Lambeau. Giants take this one.