It was a really disappointing first round of the playoffs; all home teams won with comfortable leads, and not a single 4th quarter was really worth watching. I expect that to change next weekend, which is highlighted by three great matchups and one Patriots blowout. Nonetheless, here are my thoughts from each game this past weekend.
Texans 27, Raiders 14
The Raiders certainly had their chances in this game, but a costly turnover and failing to execute on offense kept them back. It was clear that it was Connor Cook’s first ever NFL start, and the rookie struggled to connect with his wideouts all afternoon. As for Brock Osweiler, he didn’t turn the ball over and that’s pretty much all he had to do. This game was basically meaningless, because the winner has the privilege of traveling to Foxboro to get smoked by Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Seahawks 26, Lions 6
The Lions really stood no shot of going into Seattle and handing them their 2nd home loss of the season. Russell Wilson and company took care of business, and Thomas Rawls gave them a nice boost in the run game (161 yards on 27 carries). Seattle now travels to Atlanta to play one of the best offenses we’ve seen in some time, and I think they are going to struggle to stop Matt Ryan. You can’t count them out because of their experience and coaching staff, but I think they’re in for a long day against the Falcons unless they can score 30+.
Steelers 30, Dolphins 12
The Steelers came out red hot, with Antonio Brown scoring two long touchdowns in the first quarter. The Fins had no chance to win a shootout with the Steelers, but it was still a good season for them in my opinion, and I would be excited about the future with Adam Gase at head coach. As for the Steelers, they had to Arrowhead to play the Chiefs, who are very hard to beat at home. It should be fun to see how Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell and Big Ben do against one of the better defenses in the league.
Packers 38, Giants 13
This game had a ton of promise early on, when the Giants had a 6-0 lead that really seemed like a 14-0 lead. But the reality was that the Giants couldn’t execute in the red zone and take advantage of Aaron Rodgers’ slow start. They were dominating this game early, but once Rodgers got going and DRC went out, it was basically a wrap. Rodgers exposed them in the slot and couldn’t be stopped, and the Giants had no interest in competing in a shootout. The Gmen receivers dropped too many passes and Odell Beckham had a nightmare first playoff game. Ultimately, Rodgers proved to be the best QB on the planet by ripping up the NFC’s best defense. He was unstoppable for three quarters, and the Giants just had no answer offensively.