Front 4: NFL Wildcard Round

As the regular season came to a close, the members of the Front 4 team decided to make things interesting in the final week to give us a nail-biter heading into the playoffs. With just four weeks of predictions remaining, Ryan holds a one-point lead over Kyle, Daisy and Carlos who are all tied for second place.

With four games on the schedule this weekend, the Front 4 team will take a look at each match up and debate who will move one step closer to a trip to the Super Bowl. Let us know if you agree with their predictions for the NFL Wildcard Round.

Raiders@Texans

Kyle: Texans

If Derek Carr were playing this game would be one of the easier ones to predict, however, with rookie Connor Cook making his first career start that also happens to be a playoff game on the road, it’s a little tougher. The Raiders are still the better team, but Houston did win their division(miraculously) and I think this game could come down head-coaching decisions.

Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio is entering the playoffs for just the 3rd time in his 11 seasons as a head coach and only has one win which came back in 2007 with the Jaguars. The Raiders have been known to take chances under Del Rio and I think that backfires this week under Cook as the Raiders’ once promising season comes to a crushing halt thanks to a late stop by the Texans as Brock Osweiler walks away with his first playoff victory putting him ahead of Andy Dalton. 

Daisy: Raiders

Let’s go Raiders! Despite losing their MVP-caliber quarterback and then losing their 2nd string quarterback, the Raiders are a solid squad. I think the Texans defense will definitely be a challenge for Connor Cook, but I believe the Raiders will score enough points to get the job done.

Carlos: Texans

Regardless of the result of this game, the Raiders should be proud of their season. Going from 7 to 12 wins and making the playoffs for the first time since 2002 is a huge accomplishment. If Carr was healthy, the Raiders  could have been a serious threat to reach the Super Bowl. Teams have only been able to score 20 points per game against the Texans and without a QB like Carr, points will be tough to come by for the Raiders. The Texans aren’t the best team, but they were able to win enough games to get to the playoffs so don’t take them for granted.

Ryan: Texans

This is easily the toughest game to pick this weekend. How do you pick between a QB who was cheered by the crowd he’ll be playing in front of when he was benched or a QB who has never played in an NFL game and will be starting on the road? Both teams have strong defenses but my god how do you choose between these offenses? If Carr starts this game, you could put down a game-winning drive for the Raiders in stone. Osweiler will have a bad game, but Cook might have a worse one. Poor guy.

Dolphins@Steelers

Kyle: Steelers

Big Ben is 11-6 in the playoffs while Matt Moore has never thrown a pass in the postseason. Jay Ajayi and Jarvis Landry have never touched the ball in the postseason and Adam Gase is in his first year of coaching with Miami. I’ll take the experience from Big Ben, Bell, AB, and Mike Tomlin at home in this one.

Daisy: Steelers

The Steelers are a more complete team. In order for the Dolphins to win, they’ll need to stop Pittsburgh’s explosive offense and hope for another stellar game from Jay Ajayi. I don’t see all of that happening. 

ben_roethlisberger_2016Carlos: Steelers

Miami has one of the worst defenses against the pass so I expect the experienced Big Ben to capitalize. The Dolphins are in the same boat as the Raiders in that they should be proud of making the playoffs, but losing their starting QB late in the season is going to make it tough for them to go much further.

The Steelers have the experience and they look like a team that is able to make a deep run. Big Ben, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown make this team scary and they should not be taken lightly.

Ryan: Steelers

Okay, this might be the toughest game to pick. The Steelers defense is bad and Matt Moore is probably better than Ryan Fitzpatrick so just because he’s a backup doesn’t mean he’s automatically trash (though being better than Fitz isn’t a huge compliment). Jay Ajayi has already rushed for 204 yards against this team earlier in the year. Also, may I remind you that Big Ben lost a playoff game to Tim Tebow. But while I would bet on the Dolphins covering the 10-point spread, despite all the evidence, I just can’t bring myself to take them straight up.

Giants@Packers

Kyle: Packers

This one is sure to come down to a late possession. It could mean the Giants defense will have to stop Aaron Rodgers one last time late in the 4th quarter, but we’ve seen time and time again that Rodgers doesn’t need much time on the clock to make something happen. There’s plenty of questions heading into the playoffs, but two things everyone can agree with is the Giants can play defense and Rodgers can play quarterback; both at a very high level. I look forward to seeing if the Giants’ stellar defense can stop this hot Packers offense. By a hair, I’ll take the Packers to win thanks to a late kick from the foot of Mason Crosby. 

Daisy: Packers

Despite the Giants’ defense being great lately, Aaron Rodgers has been better. It will be an exciting game and the one I’m most looking forward to.

2012_packers_vs_giants_-_eli_manningCarlos: Giants

I’m using past playoff runs for this one. In both of their recent Super Bowl runs, the Giants beat the Packers. The Giants offense has not been great, but they have one of the best playoff quarterbacks in  Eli Manning. They also have this OBJ guy that surely wants to prove he’s the best weapon in the NFL. The Giants defense looks to be Super Bowl worthy and what better test than the red hot Aaron Rodgers. Ultimately, I think we get an ELIte performance from Manning and the Giants’ defense. 

Ryan: Giants

Okay, all these games are hard to pick. Wow, get ready for some good football this weekend. In this match up, we have the New York “does it feel like 2007 in here or is it just me?” Giants against the Green Bay “Aaron Rodgers at home” Packers. The Pack are on a six-game roll, but haven’t faced a team like the Giants in that span. This game will be as cold as your ex’s heart and I’ll always lean defense in those games. But what do I know.

Lions@Seahawks

russell_wilson_vs_vikings_november_4_2012
via wikimedia

Kyle: Seahawks

Both of these clubs limped into the playoffs, but this still could turn into one of the more exciting games of the weekend because of the two stand-out QB’s. That being said, I think the Seahawks will win because the Lions have not proved they can beat a playoff team this season. They’re 0-5 against this year’s playoff  squads(Packers x2, Texans, Cowboys, Giants). That doesn’t give me much confidence they’ll be able to pull of any kind of upset.

Daisy: Seahawks

I am not feeling an upset in this game. The last time the Seahawks lost a Wild Card game at home was in 2004 against the Rams. Seahawks should get the win. 

Carlos: Seahawks

The Seahawks will win this game behind a great game from Russell Wilson. The Seahawks have dealt with plenty of injuries this season, but their defense is still one of the scarier groups in the league.  The Lions are evenly matched with the Seahawks so the deciding factors could be that the game is being played in Seattle and the Seahawks have plenty of playoff experience. 

Ryan: Seahawks

Matthew Stafford has not been the same since injuring his finger and now he has to take on the Seahawks in Seattle. The Seahawks have a lot of issues themselves, but not enough to make up for the Lions’ struggles.

Which AFC QB Not Named Big Ben Will Throw for the Most Yards?

Kyle: Brock

Brock Osweiler has to know what he’ll be facing if he loses at home against a rookie quarterback, right? He can almost wipe away his awful first season with a solid performance to carry his team into the second round. He obviously hasn’t lived up to his huge contract, but he gets a chance to get a playoff win under his belt and give the organization and the fans some hope.

The Raiders defense isn’t good and was overlooked because Carr and co were pulling out comeback wins and helping people look past their flaws. Without Carr, the Texans should be able to put some points on the board and grab a comfortable lead. C’mon BrockStar.

Daisy: Matt Moore

This one is tough because many of these teams aren’t going with their number 1 QB. I am going to say Matt Moore will throw for the most yards, but unfortunately for Miami fans, that’s all he’ll be winning. 

Carlos: Brock

Brock Osweiler is going against a defense that is ranked 24th in the NFL against the pass. He hasn’t had a great season, but he should be able to get some yards. Conner Cook is facing a great defense against the pass that is ranked 2nd in the NFL. Matt Moore gets the average Steelers’ defense that has been much better of late so I’ll take Brock. 

Ryan: Matt Moore

Matt Moore is a semi-competent NFL quarterback. The other two are not. Also, the Steelers have a bad defense and could be in for a shootout.

Will Jay Ajayi or Le’Veon Bell Rush for More Yards?

Kyle: Ajayi

If the Dolphins are going to have any chance against Pittsburgh, they’re going to need a huge game from Jay Ajayi. Not just a 100-yard game, but probably a performance like the ones he put up against the Bills. He’ll be the focal point of the offense with Tannehill out so I’ll take Ajayi in this one.

leveon_bell_26_practicing_2013Daisy: Bell

Bell is arguably the best back in the league. I’ll trust him when it matters most.

Carlos: Bell

Jay Ajayi and Le’veon Bell both had around 1200 yards this season so this could go either way, but I think Bell will rush for more yards because Miami has one of the worst defenses against the run in the league. They allowed about 140 rushing yards per game which is ranked 30th in the league so I expect a big game from Bell.

Ryan: Ajayi

I’m all in on the Dolphins this week I guess (aside from, you know, picking them to win). Ajayi ripped off over 200 yards against the Steelers earlier this year and the Dolphins will do everything they can to help him replicate that again.

Which NFC Game Will Be Decided By Fewer Points?

Kyle: Giants/Packers

The Giants/Packers game is the best match-up of the weekend and it should be the closest game as well.

Daisy: Giants/Packers

The Packers’ offense and the Giants’ defense make this such an intriguing battle that should result in a close game.

Carlos: Giants/Packers

The Giants have a great defense as they’ve only allowed  17 points per game which is ranked 2nd in the league. Even though their offense has not been elite, it does match up well against an iffy Packers secondary. It will be interesting to see what gives in this one, but all of this should lead to an exciting chess match between both teams.

Ryan: Giants/Packers

This game will be a 17-16 thriller or something along those lines. I don’t expect the Lions to keep up with the Seahawks in Seattle and it will be the exact opposite in Green Bay.

Which NFC QB Will Throw for the Most Yards?

Kyle: Eli

I’m going with Eli because this man shows up in the playoffs. Another reason is only the Saints were worse than the Packers defense when it came to passing yards per game. If the Giants want to win, Eli will have to take advantage of the Packers’ flaws.

Daisy: Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers has been on a role these past few weeks and the experienced Green Bay quarterback will continue to do that this Sunday.

Carlos: Wilson

Russell Wilson was ranked 10th in yards thrown this year with about 4200 yards. He isn’t lights out with his arm, but he can get it done. The obvious choice is Aaron Rodgers, but he is facing a pretty good defense in the Giants as is Matthew Stafford who is facing the tough defense in the Seahawks. Eli Manning has thrown for the least amount of yards this season out of the bunch so I’m going with Wilson.

Ryan: Wilson

With Eli and Rodgers stuck in the snow, expect Wilson to outduel a hobbled Stafford to take the passing crown this week.

Who Will Have the Most Receiving Yards? Odell, Jordy or AB

noigf0x0
via @OBJ_3

Kyle: Odell

I’m taking Odell for the same reasons I took Eli. These two will connect early and often and I expect OBJ to catch and run all over Green Bay.

Daisy: Odell

Odell will definitely be targeted a ton throughout this game and I expect him to rack up plenty of yards in the process.

Carlos: Antonio Brown

Brown will be able to put up good numbers in the game because his quarterback is Big Ben who averaged 273 yards per game. Odell will be close as well because Green Bay’s secondary isn’t great, but I see Brown pulling it out. 

Ryan: OBJ

Never bet against Odell.

Will Russell Wilson or Matthew Stafford Have More Total Yards?

Kyle: Stafford

Russel Wilson is one of the most dynamic players in the NFL, but he hasn’t been able to showcase that much this season because of his offensive line and the injuries he’s endured. The Seahawks line has been terrible and maybe its because their front office hasn’t put much effort into the position. Of their available cap, the team only spends 4.18% of its money on their line which is dead last in the league. The Giants are second to last, but spend double what Seattle does. Even though he’s going against Seattle’s defense, Stafford should have more time to make things happen. 

Daisy: Wilson

Normally, I would go with Matt Stafford on this, but since the Seahawks are playing at home – I have to give the advantage to Russell Wilson here.

Carlos: Wilson

The Lions defense was ranked 18th in yards per game with about 354. Stafford did throw for about 4300 yards and 24 touchdowns, but even though the Seahawks defense is hurt they can still hold Detroit’s offense which was ranked 21st in total yards. This will come down to Wilson’s experience and the home crowd that will be in his favor.

Ryan: Wilson

Doubling down on Wilson as you can’t go wrong with Russ at home against a defense that has been struggling. And again, Stafford has a finger injury that clearly has had an effect on his game.

Tiebreaker: Which Receiver Will Have the Most Receptions?

Kyle: Jarvis Landry

Daisy: Jordy Nelson

Carlos: Antonio Brown

Ryan: Doug Baldwin

Do you agree with the Front 4 team’s predictions? Let us know in the comments and be sure to follow all the action all weekend!

 

Author: Daisy Rivadeneira

MLB stadium traveler.

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