6. Colts 27 @ 3. Texans 30
Mathieu, Clowney, Watt, Watson, and Hopkins were a big reason why I thought this Texans team could find themselves in the Super Bowl this season. Add in Demaryius Thomas to a low-key elite receiving core( Hopkins, Fuller, Coutee) and it’s no surprise the Texans are in the position that they are- hosting a playoff game. Lamar Miller has played good football as of late, despite inconsistency across the offensive line that had led to unpredictable rushing performances throughout most of the season. The Colts are the hotter team, and won in Houston on December 9th, but as Colin Cowherd said their just a “good story”. Maybe next year for the Colts, but it’ll still come down to 2018’s most sensational kicker Kai’imi Fairbairn to seal a spot in the divisional round. If the Colts win it’ll likely have to start fast on offense and defense behind great starts by top notch rookies Darius Leonard and Quenton Nelson which allows for excellent performances by Marlon Mack and Andrew Luck. Other than those already mentioned Eric Ebron is an X-factor for the Colts. Additionally, T. Y. Hilton will need to play better than his injury designation (ankle) would indicate.
5. Seahawks 23 @ 4. Cowboys 24
Super hard to predict this game, and if the seeds were swapped the home-field would likely decide the contest. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is undoubtedly a better version of Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, but there are obviously other factors. For one, underrated Chris Carson is the best RB for the Seahawks and NFL-elite Ezekiel Elliot is the best for the Cowboys. When in doubt bet on the Cowboys O-line and the surprisingly exciting Dallas defense.
5. Chargers 20 @ 4. Ravens 17
Many may not know this, but the Ravens defense is neck and neck with the Bears for the top defense in the NFL. That said, one would have to think the Chargers have the motivation to beat a team that cost them the #1 seed in the AFC just two weeks ago. Even with all the motivation in the world, if the Chargers defense can’t slow down Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, the Ravens will likely see themselves through to a matchup with either the Chiefs(If Texans Win) or Patriots ( if Colts win). I’m willing to bet the Chargers defense will up their play on the road against a big-time opponent in the Baltimore Ravens. It wasn’t long ago that the Chargers appeared destined for greatness (After win @ Chiefs), and the Ravens looked destined to be sitting on the couch watching football after a 4-5 start to the 2018 season. We’ll see who’s hot, and who’s not Saturday night.
6. Eagles 21 @ 3. Bears 23
Coming into the season it appeared that the Bears would pale in comparison to the Philadelphia Eagles, even after acquiring Khalil Mack from the Raiders. The Eagles still have most of the players from the talented super bowl squad, and shouldn’t be overly fearful of cold weather Chicago. I believe the Bears have a lot more to lose, but will also be ready for the Eagles. There isn’t a single easy pick for Wildcard weekend, but I’ll predict Cody Parkey to come up clutch against his former team with 3 field goals to extend the Bears first postseason since the 2010-11 season. The Bears received great news with the return to practice yesterday by Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, and Taylor Gabriel this week. They’ll need all three to play well against the defending champs. Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard will still be essential against the the front line of the Eagles D, because the Bears won’t want to rely on Mitch Trubisky’s deep ball in the fourth quarter of the Bears most important game since the NFC championship game vs the Packers in 2010-11.
6. Colts 27 @ 3. Texans 30